Public Seminar - Forests and water - advances and controversies

Reliable water is essential to our lives and livelihoods, but more than half the world’s population suffer from water scarcity.

While recent research has increased our understanding of how trees and forests influence water availability, nonetheless major controversies remain. For example, new research suggests that forests and trees play a much greater role in maintaining global rainfall patterns than was previously realized. Could this mean a whole new value for forests? Come and decide for yourselves as Douglas Sheil from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences' Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) discusses this new research.

(The talk is aimed at a general audience and will not assume technical knowledge)


About the speaker

Douglas Sheil is an ecologist who focuses broadly on tropical forests. Much of his work involves multidisciplinary approaches. Since the end of 2013, Douglas has been based in the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, Norway. Douglas was born in Northern Ireland and raised in the Republic of Ireland. He trained in Natural Sciences (Cambridge) and Forest Science (Oxford) in the UK. After two years in East Africa (IUCN, based in Nairobi, Kenya), he conducted his doctoral research in Uganda, while employed by the University of Oxford.

His postdoctoral experience includes ten years in Indonesia with the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR, 1998-2008) and four years in Uganda as Director of the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation (2008-2014), located within the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (a World Heritage Site). He has also spent a year in both Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia.

Douglas has authored/coauthored over 200 scientific publications, including the widely used book (Ghazoul & Sheil Tropical Rain Forests: Ecology Diversity and Conservation. Oxford University Press, 2010). He was awarded the Queen’s Award for Forestry in 2015. (A more complete list of publications can be found at Google and ResearchGate)

A portion of his recent work has focused on water. Amongst his publications is this open access review for non-specialists.

Other ongoing themes include work on disturbance and species distributions, on stalled succession, on how local people protect forests, on oil palm, on evaluations of tree growth and on better estimates of forest change.