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Dr. Richard Corlett Bio:

For the last 30 years, Richard Corlett has researched the ecology of deforested tropics. The focus of his research has been on understanding which wild species survive in these human-dominated landscapes and what factors determine the potential for landscape recovery when human impacts are reduced.

For the last dozen years, Dr. Corlett has concentrated on the process of seed dispersal, since it is both a rate-limiting step in forest development and one that is particularly vulnerable to local extinctions of bird and mammal species.

He and his research group have also made significant contributions to two additional, related, research areas. One is the ecology of alien invasive species of plants and animals in the tropics. Another is the global biogeography of rainforest biotas.

A new research focus is on understanding the likely impacts of climate change in the wet tropics. This project applies to the urgent problem of predicting responses to the 3-4 degree warming projected for tropical East Asia by 2080.

Dr. Corlett plans to devote more attention to the ecology of tropical Asia’s growing area of ‘empty forests’: forests that still have a more-or-less intact structure and flora, but have lost the large vertebrates that are responsible for much of the seed dispersal, seed predation, browsing, and many other processes in pristine forest communities.

Full bio at the National University of Singapore website.

Research Interests: Terrestrial Ecology, Climate Change, Conservation Biology, Biogeography

Current Position: Professor, Department of Biological Science, National University of Singapore

Other Positions:

  • Lead Author for Chapter 24, ‘Asia’, in the Working Group 2 (WGII) contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due in 2014.
  • Honorary Professor, University of Hong Kong, China
  • Visiting Professor, South China Agricultural University, China
  • Editor, Biological Conservation
  • Editorial Board, Gardens’ Bulletin, Singapore, Acta Botanica Yunnanica

The Ecology of Tropical East Asia
Tropical Rain Forests: an Ecological and Biogeographical Comparison


  • PhD, Australian National University
  • MA, University of Cambridge
  • BA, University of Cambridge

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