Saint Louis University

Deforestation and Biodiversity

Faculty: Dr. Abuduwasiti Wulamu

Tropical forest habitats have undergone dramatic modifications from increased pressure of land-cover/land-use change (LCLUC). The process has been further exacerbated by contemporary climate change characterized by increased frequency and intensity of heat waves, drought and bushfires, and increasing number of invasive plant species.

This work aims to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of fauna and flora in Madagascar in response to the combined impact of climate and land use changes that are driven by regional policy, conservation efforts, invasive species, and socio-economic factors including population growth, selective logging and bushmeat hunting. Specifically, the research will focus on 1) monitoring the temporal evolution of habitat quality using classification techniques, data fusion, spectral unmixing, and landscape pattern analysis, and 2) developing the capability of predictive modeling of selected animal population distributions based on feeding ecology (e.g., distribution of food plants) using remote sensing and land change modelling.

This research was supported by multiple grants from Saint Louis Zoo's Wildcare Institute, Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation and EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums).


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