Understanding and planning for the drivers of change across tropical savanna environments


Tropical savanna environments are globally significant for biodiversity conservation and for the many ecosystem services they provide humanity. They are often under-regarded, incorrectly defined and, as a consequence, given secondary consideration compared to other ecosystems such as tropical forests. Due to the ever-increasing demand for food and the decreasing amount of arable land globally, tropical savannas are at great risk of development primarily through the agricultural industry. There are many examples across Earth where savanna lands are being increasingly over-exploited and inappropriately managed. This thesis aims to evaluate the drivers of change within tropical savannas, to further understand how these environments are likely to change in the future, the likely consequences on biodiversity and critical ecosystem services, and to use this information to identify areas that are important for conservation. Outputs of this thesis may provide insight to land managers and spatial planners within tropical savanna environments about present and future land management. Using the Orinoquia region of Colombia as a case study, spatial planning techniques will be applied to explore scenarios that balance the interests of multiple stakeholders within a relatively intact tropical savanna that is currently being opened up for development.

Advisory Team

Professor James Watson



Room 518/519, Chamberlain Building (#35)