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Event Global Change and the Future of Tropical Biodiversity - Oratie William Laurance, UU

On Monday May 23 at 16.15h Prof. William F. Laurance

Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation

Will give his inaugural lecture in the Academiegebouw, Domplein, Utrecht, titled:

Global Change and the Future of Tropical Biodiversity: What Do We Know and Not Know?

I will highlight key perils posed by climate change to tropical biodiversity while also emphasizing areas where our knowledge is alarmingly tenuous.  As global temperatures continue to rise in the coming decades, many cool-adapted, high-elevation specialists in tropical forests could be among the most imperiled species on earth.  However, many other possible changes are poorly understood.  Projections of future climates vary greatly, particularly at local and regional scales.  Our capacity to predict future rainfall is especially poor—a crucial weakness because rainfall greatly influences the vulnerability of tropical forests to destructive fires.  In addition, a heated debate is raging between those who believe undisturbed tropical forests are functioning as a net carbon sink, because forest productivity is increasing in response to rising CO2 levels; versus those who assert that forests are becoming carbon sources because higher temperatures are increasing plant respiration rates and thereby slowing plant growth.  This debate has profound implications for future climates and for understanding the global carbon cycle. In short, there is a great deal about future climate change that we do not yet know.

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Period 23/05/2011
Event location Academiegebouw, Universiteit Utrecht, Domplein 1, Utrecht Academiegebouw, Universiteit Utrecht, Domplein 1, Utrecht
Host Universiteit Utrecht
Contact person M. Rijkhoek
Email address:
Theme(s) Ecosystems
Target group(s) Adults
Type Meeting (seminar / conference / symposium / festival) Meeting (seminar / conference / symposium / festival)

Prof. dr. William Laurance is Distinguished Research Professor & Australian Laureate, James Cook University, Australia & University of Utrecht, Netherlands.Email:

Please register by sending an e-mail to before May 17.