The ecology of central African forests: insights from massive commercial datasets

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Online seminar followed by Q&A – all welcome. NB – all times given in UK time

Central African forests are the second largest continuous tropical forest in the world but vast regions remain poorly explored scientifically. The composition of central African forests and its determinants at regional scale are thus still poorly known, often being studied in limited areas and datasets or at a very coarse grain with heterogeneous occurrence records. In his talk, Maxime will illustrate how the use of massive commercial inventories conducted by logging companies has contributed to a better understanding of the factors that control diversity patterns in central African forests. He will introduce different works conducted during the last decades at different spatial scales and will particularly focus on a recent work aiming at predicting the floristic and functional composition of central African forests and their expected vulnerability to global changes (Réjou-Méchain et al. 2021 Nature).

Maxime is a researcher at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (AMAP lab), in France. His research aims at understanding the spatio-temporal organization of the composition and structure of tropical forests and mostly relies on analyses and models combining extensive field and remote sensing data in central Africa, French Guiana and South-Asia. He is currently leading a project aiming at understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics of the peculiar but widespread central African Marantaceae forests in order to understand the mechanisms that underpin their origin and maintenance. The ultimate goal of his research is to understand the drivers of tropical forest composition and dynamics in a changing world.