Protecting PEAT

This is the first of many peat-related posts.  Towards the end of 2013, I was interviewed by Laura Bramley for her post on The Freshwater Blog – a great site that regularly publishes information of relevance to freshwater management, conservation and policy, as part of the European Union-funded MARS project.  Laura managed to eloquently transcribe my mumblings, to an extent that I had a much clearer outlook on my research and career direction after reading it.  I’m posting it here in case it provides a useful insight into why I’m so passionate about peat.  Thanks, Laura!

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Exploring recovery rates in tropical forests

After one near-missed flight (trying to correct the proof in time for the deadline in an airport flying between islands whilst peat spotting in Indonesia), several near sleepless nights (correcting previous drafts) and three attempts to download free-trial software (for last minute figure alterations whilst >1000 miles away from a computer that had the software on)….I was relieved to have my first paper published earlier this year.  And excited to have Cole associated, in print, with tropical forests, at long last.  The paper describes some research I did as part of my PhD, exploring the rates of tropical forest recovery after different disturbance events in the past.  Many a fossil pollen diagram was trawled to collect the data and we found some interesting results of relevance to the debate on tropical forest resilience.

Back in June, I had the privilege of writing a post on this research and our findings for the Kew Science Blog and to make a cameo appearance on Phil Martin’s Ecology for a crowded planet website, so if  you’d like to read more about the work, have a click (one’s enough – bit of a cut-and-paste job!).  Soon after, to my delight, the great Professor Corey Bradshaw wrote a bit about the research on his ConservationBytes blog.

As a first exploration of the vast data stored in published palaeoecological studies of tropical forest ecosystems, I was pleased with the insights I gleaned, but there’s a lot more potential locked up in these fossil pollen datasets.  I’ve got a long list of questions ready to start researching….as soon as a philanthropist with a tropical forest leaning gets word of the opportunity!

Soon has come!

‘Soon’ being approximately nine months, apparently!  Now that the very summery sun we’ve been having in the UK is fading and blackberry season is nearly over, I plan on posting words here much more regularly.

Here’s a slightly outdated one for starters….