A recording of this online seminar is available to view HERE
Speaker: Dr Nicola Stevens, Trapnell Fellow for African Environments, ECI, University of Oxford
Contrary to the idea that more trees are good, vast expanses of tropical ecosystems are facing extensive land degradation caused by woody encroachment, where the native tree cover is increasing. Whilst encroachment is occurring rapidly, the pace of change is often just slow enough for us to not recognise the change, leaving us at risk of losing “common” landscapes as we watch. In the talk Nikki will discuss the causes and extent of encroachment in tropical ecosystems and will discuss the impacts of this shift vegetation structure for biodiversity and ecosystem services. She argues that woody encroachment is a symptom of global change that threatens the existence of all our grassy ecosystems.
Dr Nicola Stevens is the Trapnell Fellow for African Environments, based at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Nikki completed her PhD at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Before moving to the UK she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Her research is centred on understanding global change impacts on African ecosystems with a focus on savannas. She is interested in understanding more about the consequences of woody encroachment and what shapes species range limits in disturbance driven ecosystems.