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John Poulsen

Associate Professor of Tropical Ecology
Environmental Sciences and Policy
PO Box 90328, LSCR A317, Durham, NC 27708

Outreach & Engaged Scholarship


Data+ Project Leader - Data+ · 2023 Projects & Field Work
Bass Connections Team Leader - Impact of Declining Animal Populations on Tropical Forests · 2021 - 2022 Projects & Field Work flag Gabon Energy & Environment located in Gabon
Bass Connections Faculty Team Leader - Mega-gardeners of Tropical Forests: Modeling Seed Dispersal by Forest Elephants · 2018 - 2019 Projects & Field Work flag Gabon

Primary Theme: Energy & Environment

Poaching is rapidly wiping out African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) from most of their historical range, leaving vast areas of elephant-free tropical forest. Elephants are ecological engineers that create and maintain forest habitat; the reduction of elephant populations will result in dramatic ecological changes in central African forests, including altered species composition, increased stem densities of small trees and lower abundance of large trees. This unintended experiment may help resolve whether differences between central African and neotropical forests are due to the destruction of megafauna in the neotropics thousands of years ago.