Yes, yes, I know I’ve posted only a little under two weeks ago that the venerable William (Bill) Laurance is coming to Adelaide, and anyone even remotely interested in biodiversity conservation would be a fool to miss his talks, and ra, ra, ra…
Well, you would be.
However, I don’t want anyone to miss this opportunity simply because of non-recognition. So I thought it prudent to remind people just how special this visit is, and what a researcher extraordinaire Bill really is. For those not necessarily following the trends in tropical conservation biology (probably not many in Adelaide, at least), you might not necessarily recognise his name.
So, I thought I’d give a little broadsheet of his achievements, and cite some of his scientific qualifications. Bill was essentially the bloke who tested, using blocks of Amazonian forest the size of a small country, the idea that habitat fragmentation causes extinctions. It’s a conservation classic and as close to a law in the field as we get. Agreed, it wasn’t Bill’s original idea (we can attribute that to Wilcox and Murphy’s 1985 paper). However, Bill was the one that showed us all just how really bad it is.
His following papers have received an impressive number of citations:
- Laurance, WF. 1991. Edge effects in tropical forest fragments: application of a model for the design of nature reserves. Biological Conservation 57:205-219 (219 Google Scholar and 143 ISI citations)
- Laurance, WF et al. 1991. Predicting the impacts of edge effects in fragmented habitats. Biological Conservation 55:77-92 (326 Google Scholar and 226 ISI citations)
- Laurance, WF. 1996. Tropical forest remnants: ecology, management and conservation of fragmented communities. Environmental Conservation 23:90-91 (523 Google Scholar citations)
- Laurance, WF et al. 1997. Biomass collapse in Amazonian forest fragments. Science 278:1117-1118 (309 Google Scholar and 225 ISI citations)
- Laurance WF et al. 2002. Ecosystem decay of Amazonian forest fragments: A 22-year investigation. Conservation Biology 16:605-618 (520 Google Scholar and 346 ISI citations)
Of course, there are many, many more (see his full profile here). All summed up, Bill’s h-index is 40 (i.e., he has published 40 peer-reviewed papers each having at least 40 citations) which is bloody high (my h-index is only 21), has in excess of 5600 citations (ISI-isted only), and averages about 38 citations per paper. Wow.
So, despite his tropical leanings, Bill is a household name in conservation biology and one of the progenitor’s of the modern field. If you were a physicist and Einstein were coming to town to speak (yes, I do realise he’s karked it), you probably would sell your children to see him. Bill’s about that for conservation biology.
See you next week at either or both of his two (free) talks (Tue and/or Wed):
- Amplify Your Voice: Keys to Having a Prolific Scientific Career
- Diagnosis Critical | The lungs of our Planet
which you can book to attend by clicking the relevant links above.
Laurance, WF (1991). Edge effects in tropical forest fragments: Application of a model for the design of nature reserves Biological Conservation, 57 (2), 205-219 DOI: 10.1016/0006-3207(91)90139-Z
Laurance, WF (1991). Predicting the impacts of edge effects in fragmented habitats Biological Conservation, 55 (1), 77-92 DOI: 10.1016/0006-3207(91)90006-U
Laurance, WF (1996). Tropical Forest Remnants: Ecology, Management and Conservation of Fragmented Communities Environmental Conservation, 23 (01) DOI: 10.1017/S0376892900038315
Laurance, WF (1997). Biomass Collapse in Amazonian Forest Fragments Science, 278 (5340), 1117-1118 DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5340.1117
Laurance, W.F., Lovejoy, T., Vasconcelos, H., Bruna, E., Didham, R., Stouffer, P., Gascon, C., Bierregaard, R., Laurance, S., & Sampaio, E. (2002). Ecosystem Decay of Amazonian Forest Fragments: a 22-Year Investigation Conservation Biology, 16 (3), 605-618 DOI: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.01025.x