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Conservation Research Institute



Conserving the world’s dwindling biological diversity is one of the most pressing issues facing humans. We use high-resolution remote sensing to understand how forests are responding to global change and contribute to international efforts to protect these ecosystems. 


David is interested in understanding how humans are changing the world's forests and how we can reduce impacts.

Our research includes:

  • Assessing the impact of land-use change on carbon and biodiversity using LiDAR and hyperspectral sensing
  • Measuring carbon storage in forests using airborne and space-borne technologies
  • Evaluating the success of carbon projects aimed at reducing deforestation in developing countries 
  • Researching the effects of introduced organisms on forest communities and developing control strategies
  • Species distribution modelling to understand the effects on climate change on biological diversity and trait evolution
  • Developing new biological scaling theories, and confirming their significance by statistical analyses of forest inventory data
  • Simulation modelling to examine the responses of forests to environmental change


Key publications: 

Baeten, L., Verheyen, K., Wirth, C., Bruelheide, H., Bussotti, F., Finér, L., . . . Scherer-Lorenzen, M. (2013). A novel comparative research platform designed to determine the functional significance of tree species diversity in European forests. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics15(5), 281-291.

Coomes, D. A., Allen, R. B., Forsyth, D. M., & Lee, W. G. (2003). Factors preventing the recovery of New Zealand forests following control of invasive deerCONSERV BIOL17(2), 450-459.

Russo, S. E., Wiser, S. K., & Coomes, D. A. (2008). A re-analysis of growth-size scaling relationships of woody plant species (vol 10, pg 889, 2007). ECOL LETT, 11(3), 311-312. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01156.x

Grubb, P. J., Jackson, R. V., Barberis, I. M., Bee, J. N., Coomes, D. A., Dominy, N. J., . . . Vargas, O. (2008). Monocot leaves are eaten less than dicot leaves in tropical lowland rain forests: correlations with toughness and leaf presentation.. Ann Bot,101(9), 1379-1389. doi:10.1093/aob/mcn047

Bee, J. N., Tanentzap, A. J., Lee, W. G., Lavers, R. B., Mark, A. F., Mills, J. A., . . . Coomes, D. A. (2011). Influence of foliar traits on forage selection by introduced red deer in New Zealand. BASIC APPL ECOL, 12(1), 56-63 doi:10.1016/j.baae.2010.09.010

Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute
Head of Forest Ecology and Conservation Group
Professor David A Coomes

Contact Details

The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street
01223 333911