Global climate change is significantly altering the large scale distributions of plants and animals. The Earth has warmed by 0.70C  during the last century. The consequences are already apparent in forest ecosystems as species are responding to the changing climate with shifts in their phenology and geographic distributions. The potential for large increases in global mean temperatures (e.g., 4.3 ±0.70C) by 2100 has significant implications for forest species and ecosystems. Under these varying climatic conditions, some species may go extinct either locally or regionally, with climate change acting synergistically with other extinction drivers. Tropical Asian forests contain several biodiversity hotspots and species-rich ecoregions. Our understanding of species’ and forest ecosystems’ vulnerability to global climate change in this region is limited. Addressing this problem is a critical task for current tropical Asian ecological research.  

The overall aim of this thesis is to provide insights into the effects of climate change on different aspects of tropical Asian forests for biodiversity conservation and forest management. To address the identified research gaps and questions, the thesis is divided into four objectives:

1. To examine the available evidence of climate change impacts on tropical forests and identify the most likely risks to Asian forests from projected climate change.

2. To assess climate change impacts on two threatened Dipterocarp trees Sal (Shorea robusta), and Garjan (Dipterocarpus turbinatus) across Asia.

3. To quantify the climate-change driven shifts in the distribution of Teak (Tectona grandis) in tropical Asia for forest management and planning under future climates.

4. To assess the extinction risks of four threatened large Asian mammals’ namely Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) and Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) to global climate change and to inform their conservation planning.

Funding: International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS), University of Queensland Centennial Scholarship (UQCent) 
Advisors: Prof Stuart PhinnProf Clive McAlpineDr Nathalie Butt


Project members

Jiban Chandra Deb

Jiban Chandra DEB

PhD candidate - graduated 2017