Targeting conservation to safeguard tropical biodiversity: insights from Borneo

The future of tropical biodiversity depends on how human-modified landscapes are managed. This includes balancing social, economic and environmental goals. In this talk Matt will explore attempts to do this in the logged and converted landscapes of Borneo. Island scale spatial prioritization analyses identify relatively small additions of mid-elevation forestry land that could provide substantial benefits to biodiversity facing changes to land cover and climate. Landscape scale implementation is difficult, however, and attempts to alleviate biodiversity declines via environmental policies and certification payments involves inevitable trade-offs and unintended outcomes. Throughout, Matt will emphasise the importance of collaboration, not only among researchers, but also with those responsible for the deforestation: the government planners, businesses, and rural people of the tropics.

Dr Matthew Struebig is a Lecturer in Biological Conservation at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent. He is a tropical ecologist interested in the impacts of environmental change on biodiversity and the implications this has for landscape management and conservation planning. Much of his work is based in Southeast Asia’s modified habitats, primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia, and he has 15 years experience working with conservation organisations and industry partners in the logging, oil palm, and mining sectors. His research group works on various tropical conservation issues – including the biodiversity value of degraded habitats, landscape design, conservation planning tools, and hunting. He is also part of NERC’s Human Modified Tropical Forests research programme, working at the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems project in Sabah, Borneo.