We study avian behavior and ecology and the roles of birds in ecological functions and ecosystem services. Particularly, we’re interested in how to better manage landscapes for species that contribute significant ecosystem services. In South America, we investigate bird interactions in tropical forest restoration systems. Birds are important mediators of various tropical ecosystem processes that facilitate restoration, including seed dispersal, pollination, and consumption of herbivorous insects. Thus, understanding why some restoration strategies attract more birds than others, and the mechanisms underlying these patterns, will help guide future restoration efforts..
Challenges: Restoring tropical forest stands and healthy ecosystems.
Promising Research: Biological controls, birds as facilitators for tropical forest restoration.
Food Security and Land Use in the Amazon
Our overall goal is to understand the direct and collateral effects of feedback between food security and land use over long distances—in this case, the Brazilian Amazon and soybean production. The team applies an innovative framework of telecoupling—socioeconomic and environmental interactions among coupled human and natural systems at different scales over great distances—that can transform how the world thinks about collateral effects from international trade on food security and land use dynamics
Challenges: Land use, food security, sustainability, global trade.
Promising Research: Telecoupling, Agent-based model (ABM), capacity to predict effects from shifts in food flow and land use, community stakeholder engagement.