John Poulsen

john.poulsen@duke.edu
NSOE; EOS

 

Location 1

Research Location
Country of Gabon and Republic of Congo

Research Objective

Gabon: (i) quantify forest biomass and carbon stocks and test the ability of LiDAR to estimate forest degradation; (ii) estimate elephant populations and evaluate the ecological impact of elephants on forest biomass and diversity; (iii) study the impact of different land uses, including defaunation, on ecological processes and forest species composition, and diversity; (iv) evaluate the efficacy of incorporating para-biologists into conservation research as a means of reducing levels of commercial bushmeat.

Congo: (i) study long-term forest dynamics

Collaborating Institution
Gabon: Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN), Conseil Climat, Institut de Recherches sur l’Ecologie Tropicale (IRET)

Funding Source/Sponsor
Gabon: USAID SilvaCarbon, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Duke University, NASA, FAO, OLAM

Congo: Duke University

Students Involved
Gabon: Cooper Rosin, Ian Markham, Mark Sowers, Sarah Moore, Olivia Tempest, Sarah Stockton-Tekeste

 

Location 2

Research Location
Ivindo National Park, Gabon

Research Objective
Human disturbance influences tropical forests worldwide, altering their form and composition, and in some cases, threatening their very existence. The reach of industrial scale logging, palm and rubber agriculture, and mining now extends to the most isolated areas. These activities and the hunting and poaching that follow threaten to transform the remaining primary tropical forests into a degraded mosaic, emptied of wildlife.  The reduction in animal abundance is expected to interrupt plant-animal interactions, such as seed dispersal, seed and seedling predation, and herbivory.  We study how changes in the animal community cascade to affect forest structure, composition and services through the modification or loss of ecological processes. In particular, we assess whether there are tipping points at which the composition or structure of the plant community might shift from one state to another or at which ecosystem services are diminished or lost.

Collaborating Institution
Gabon Parks Agency (ANPN), Gabon National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CENAREST)

Funding Source/Sponsor
Duke University

Students Involved
Cooper Rosin, PhD student; Jennifer Moore (graduated MEM)

 

Location 3

Research Location
Mouila Palm Oil Concession, Gabon

Research Objective
With the Gabon Parks Agency and OLAM-Gabon, we are measuring the loss of biomass and carbon that comes with deforestation for palm oil agriculture in Gabon.  This project involves quantifying forest biomass in the agricultural area and in the high conservation value forest area within an active palm oil concession. We will also evaluate the best field methods for estimating forest carbon in agriculture concessions.

Collaborating Institution
Gabon Parks Agency, OLAM-Gabon

Funding Source/Sponsor
OLAM-Gabon

Students Involved
Mark Burton

 

Location 4

Research Location
Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, Republic of Gabon

Research Objective
Project 1:  To assess forest carbon stocks, sequestration and dynamics.  To evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance (including defaunation) on community composition of animal species and ecological processes (seed dispersal, herbivory, etc.).  To determine the drives of forest diversity and composition.

Project 2:  Among other things, we are studying the impact of selective logging on the structure and composition of Central African forests. To answer this question, Connie Clark and I set up the Sangha Plot Network — a system of 30 1-ha plots that straddle a gradient of selective logging and hunting. Since 2005, we have followed the survival and growth of more than 11,000 individual trees. Our preliminary results suggest that even 30 years after timber harvest, logged forest still contain significantly lower biomass than undisturbed forest.  We are currently conducting our third census of the plots to evaluate forest dynamics and regeneration and to measure the impact of a second timber harvest.

Collaborating Institution
Project 1:  Wildlife Conservation Society

Project 2:  Edinburgh Botanical Garden

Funding Source/Sponsor
Project 1:  Duke University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Government of Gabon

Project 2:  Duke University

Students Involved
No.

 

Location 5

Research Location
Republic of Gabon

Research Objective
Project 1:  To assess forest carbon stocks, sequestration and dynamics. To evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance (including defaunation) on community composition of animal species and ecological processes (seed dispersal, herbivory, etc.). To determine the drives of forest diversity and composition.

Project 2:  Gabon is a beautiful, diverse, and remarkably forested nation (~85% forest cover). To inform its land-use plan and its low emissions development strategy, the government of Gabon has embarked on a nationwide assessment of its terrestrial carbon. Working with the Gabon Parks Agency (ANPN), the Gabon Climate Council (NCCC), the US Forest Service, UCLA and Leeds universities, I coordinate the development of a national terrestrial carbon monitoring system. The monitoring system consists of a countrywide network of 1-ha forest plots located in a stratified, random design across Gabon.  By combining field data with remote sensing data, particularly LiDAR, we are quantifying the country’s carbon stocks.

Collaborating Institution
Project 1:  Gabon Parks Agency, Gabonese Institute of Tropical Research

Project 2:  Gabon Parks Agency, OLAM-Gabon, US SilvaCarbon, UCLA, Leeds University

Funding Source/Sponsor
Project 1:  Duke University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Government of Gabon

Project 2:  OLAM-Gabon, US SilvaCarbon program, Gabon government

Students Involved
Ben Carlson (graduated MEM)

 

 

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