The Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (IBER), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), will be holding the IBER Seminar Series on August 26 at 2.30pm. It will be held at Lecture Room 1, Level 2, Block D, Integrated Science Building, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

According to a press release from IBER, the lecture is entitled ‘Large trees in tropical forests: Distribution and function’ and will be delivered by Dr. Shengbin Chen from Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China.

The press release said that, “Large trees (diameter exceeding 50cm) have recently started to attract attention of biologists and conservationists because they are becoming increasingly rare due to their association with globally declining areas of pristine habitat.

“Large, ‘old’ trees are keystone components of forest ecosystems, providing nesting and sheltering cavities, creating distinct micro-environments, playing crucial roles in hydrological regimes and providing food for many animal species. Large trees also store large quantities of carbon due to their large wood volumes.

“Changes in large tree dynamics, for example due to climate change, may therefore have large consequences for forest ecosystems and forest carbon storage.

“At present our understanding of how large trees are distributed within tropical forests is limited because of the relatively small size of the plots used. Small plots (1-ha) work well for small diameter trees because sample sizes are generally sufficiently large for statistical analyses; however, these plots contain too few large trees to be able to reliably establish their distributions and dynamics.

“Larger plots exist, like the CTFS forest plot network, but these are monitored at five-year intervals and thus miss the impacts of annual climate variability on large tree dynamics. For this, alternative sample methods with yearly measurements and specifically aimed at including enough large trees for reliable analyses are needed.

“This project aims to establish a long term research infrastructure (a large forest plot in Andulau Forest Reserve and a work system) for the studies on tropical trees. Plot survey and research topics for this project will focus on large tree distribution. Distribution of large trees at spatial and taxonomic scales and underlying mechanisms will be explored and related to environment, traits and phylogeny.

“This plot will provide an excellent platform for additional studies on both the fauna and flora by UBD and international researchers and students, and will function as a clear landmark project for IBER and UBD, and will increase the universities’ international standing and visibility. The research will increase our understanding of how large trees are distributed within tropical forests, which will be of considerable importance for understanding and predicting the spatial distribution of forest biomass in Brunei Darussalam.

“This project is led by the staff in Universiti Brunei Darussalam, including Dr. Shengbin Chen, Research Fellow in IBER, Associate Professor Johan Willem Frederik Slik (PI) and Dr Rahayu Sukmaria binti Haji Sukri (co-PI) in Environmental and Life Sciences Programme,” the press release said.

Dr. Shengbin Chen is the Research Fellow for the Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research for 2014-2015. He was an Associate Professor in Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China.

His research interest are in Biodiversity of forest communities and macroecology of plants and animals. He received his PhD in Ecology at the Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China in 2009.

He is a member of the editorial board of Biodiversity Science; a peer reviewer for Ecography, Biodiversity and Conservation, Plant Ecology and Diversity, Journal of Systematics and Evolution, Flora, Chinese Geographical Science, Research of Environmental Sciences, Biodiversity Science, and Acta Ecologica Sinica.

For further information, members of the public can contact IBER through email at office.iber@ubd.edu.bn.