Community Assembly and Landscape Ecology

Edicson Parra Sánchez

I did my PhD at CALE’s lab studying the magnitude and extend of human modification of the landscape on biodiversity taking canopy plant communities as model group.

My research found the striking reduction of up to 90% of individuals and 83% of forest inhabitant species and the extirpation of juveniles individuals in human-modified forests when compared to continuous forests in the Brazilian Atlantic forests. Also, that the extend of these human-induced changes might reach up to 500 m into forest fragments across the entire realm.

Despite these worrying findings, I felt relief that people and the government are aligned to find sustainable solutions. I lead the outreach part of the project and was very happy to visit each farmer’s houses to deliver the results of the project and talk about practical solutions. I also set up a “scientific+art fair” in the municipality of Sao Luiz do Paraitinga to talk to lots of people about the importance of conservation and the science backing-up our findings.

With ups and downs I had a great time during my PhD. I am grateful to all Colombian citizens that through their taxes funded my PhD through COLCIENCIAS.

I am currently looking at the effects of human-modification of the landscape on plant epiphytes in my homeland, Colombia.