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Conservation Research Institute



The Harapan Rainforest (Hutan Harapan) represents more than 20 per cent of the remaining lowland forest in Sumatra but is in a degraded condition due to historic exploitative timber extraction and under threat from illegal oil palm expansion. This is a significant land management problem. The silvicultural techniques necessary to restore the forest, while realising the commercial and natural capital of the land are not well understood. My work is focused on finding cost-effective, research-driven solutions to direct management. Primarily this involves the establishment of large scale silvicultural experiments, optimising survey techniques (both traditional and remote sensing) and modelling species distributions. I support the research at Harapan, through coordination with the department manager Elva Gemita and her staff. In addition, I work closely with a wide group of visiting researchers, collaborators and government officials. I am an experienced tropical forest researcher with a strong statistical and data management background. A large part of my work involves training Harapan staff in these skills and ensuring the use of optimised sampling/experimental designs.



Tom is investigating how human activity alters the functioning and restoration potential of tropical landscapes.


Key publications: 

Testing the Janzen‐Connell mechanism: pathogens cause overcompensating density dependence in a tropical tree,” R Bagchi, T Swinfield, RE Gallery, OT Lewis, S Gripenberg, L Narayan, Ecology letters 13 (10), 1262-1269

The need for long‐term remedies for Indonesia's forest fires,” RA Chisholm, LS Wijedasa, T Swinfield, Conservation Biology 30 (1), 5-6

Consequences of changing rainfall for fungal pathogen‐induced mortality in tropical tree seedlings,” T Swinfield, OT Lewis, R Bagchi, RP Freckleton, Ecology and Evolution 2 (7), 1408-1413

Restoration of logged humid tropical forests: An experimental programme at Harapan Rainforest, Indonesia,” RD Harrison, T Swinfield, Tropical Conservation Science 8 (1), 4-16

Accelerating tropical forest restoration through the selective removal of pioneer species,” T Swinfield, R Afriandi, F Antoni, RD Harrison, Forest ecology and management 381, 209-216

Canopy structure and topography jointly constrain the microclimate of human‐modified tropical landscapes,” T Jucker, SR Hardwick, S Both, DMO Elias, RM Ewers, DT Milodowski, Global change biology 24 (11), 5243-5258

Accurate Measurement of Tropical Forest Canopy Heights and Aboveground Carbon Using Structure From Motion,” T Swinfield, JA Lindsell, JV Williams, RD Harrison, E Gemita, Remote Sensing 11 (8), 928

Occurrence of blood‐feeding terrestrial leeches (Haemadipsidae) in a degraded forest ecosystem and their potential as ecological indicators,” R Drinkwater, J Williamson, T Swinfield, NJ Deere, MJ Struebig, EL Clare, Biotropica

Reconciling the contribution of environmental and stochastic structuring of tropical forest diversity through the lens of imaging spectroscopy,” B Bongalov, DFRP Burslem, T Jucker, SED Thompson, J Rosindell, Ecology letters

Three-dimensional Segmentation of Trees Through a Flexible Multi-Class Graph Cut Algorithm (MCGC),” J Williams, CB Schönlieb, T Swinfield, J Lee, X Cai, L Qie, DA Coomes, arXiv preprint arXiv:1903.08481

Restoration of tropical rain forest success improved by selecting species for specific microhabitats,” R Kardiman, R Afriandi, LH Schmidt, A Ræbild, T Swinfield, Forest ecology and management 434, 235-243

Post Doctoral Research Associate

Contact Details

RSPB, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street


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