|■ Though a forest may appear to you as merely one landscape unit, it consists
of many living plants, animals and microorganisms that comprise an ecosystem.
Moreover, the number of species and individuals you might expect to find
there is dependent upon your focal range of eyesight, be it a bird’s eye,
a monkey’s eye, or an insect’s eye. If you come to appreciate just how
rich these ecosystems are, you may be immediately driven to ask more questions,
such as: how do individuals and species interact with each other? What
are some of the ecological and historical consequences for the co-existence
of these forest species? What will their future be, because the present
co-existence of different taxa, as visible to human eyes, is never static,
but continues to evolve through time?.
■ Global climate change is scarcely recognizable in our daily lives, yet
it has massive impacts upon ecosystems and living organisms (including
humans) through alteration of biological interactions and diversity patterns.
Recent scientific analysis reports that global warming has been accelerating
much faster than previously estimated, and is now proceeding on a yearly
basis. What consequences will these changes have on our daily lives? It
can be anticipated that large-scale changes in ecosystem services, biodiversity,
and evolutionary process of living organisms will eventually produce a
radically new paradigm for resource use and accessibility to nature.
■ In our forest ecology laboratory, we have been studying biodiversity and
ecosystem services in the context of conservation biology, evolutionary
processes of plants and animals, and socio-ecosystem interactions. Our
main focal area has been on tropical forests, a melting pot of human–biological
interactions, where deforestation and degradation of ecosystems have taken
place at rapid rates over the last few decades. Nevertheless, in order
to extrapolate our findings to biological rules, we are also working on
many other ecosystems in temperate forests and grasslands at a global scale.
■ We welcome anybody who is interested in these fields of biology, ecology
and environmental sciences to knock on the door of our office, where we
can begin to think and act together. Hereafter, we introduce our ongoing
project related to biodiversity and its local benefits.