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Department of Zoology


Rainforests are vanishing worldwide and their protection is of pressing concern. This special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society outlines how human beings are shaping the future of rainforests. The focus lies on the Danum Valley Conservation Area, one of the last remaining primary forests of Malaysian Borneo and on its surrounding forest.


The issue includes the work of William Foster and members of the Insect Ecology Group in the Department of Zoology. They examine what happens to biodiversity on conversion of forest to oil palm, discuss ways of making plantations more wildlife-friendly, and plead for more detailed work on the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity within oil palm plantations. Two members of the Department of Zoology are involved in what are arguably the largest ecological field experiments ever attempted. Edgar Turner has been managing The Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project (, which is a long-term experimental study of the effects of landscape design on the function of ecosystems that include both forest and oil palm plantations. Jake Snaddon has contributed both to this project and to The Sabah Biodiversity Experiment (, which is investigating the effects of tree diversity on the rainforest ecosystem.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366: 3163 – 3358