Lecturer in Tropical Ecology - University of Stirling
Research Associate - Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
PhD - University of Aberdeen, 2005
BSc - University of Bristol, 1998
Tropical landscapes are rapidly shifting from continuous tracts of undisturbed forest to complex landscape mosaics, and secondary forests comprise increasing proportions of these dynamic landscapes. Tropical landscapes will continue to change over the coming decades and research needs to keep pace with these shifts in land use so that we fully understand the value of emerging tropical landscapes for species conservation and ecosystem processes. I am interested in how tropical forest communities recover after disturbance, the interactions between the regeneration of forest plant communities and the recovery of key ecosystem processes, and how we can maintain viable populations of forest species in human-modified tropical landscapes. My principal research projects and collaborations are listed below:
Barro Colorado Nature Monument chronosequence study, Panama: Exploring long-term trends in species diversity and ecosystem function in secondary forest succession.
2ndFOR Network: A network of >45 secondary forest sites spanning the Neotropics, enabling us to make regional scale estimates about forest recovery.
Conservation potential of selectively-logged forest, Malaysia: Investigating the long-term sustainability of production forests in Danum Valley Conservation Area and surrounding forests, Sabah, Malaysia.
The environmental impacts of mega-dams in Amazonia, Brazil: This UK-Brazil partnership investigates the persistence of multiple taxa on islands in the Balbina dam reservoir in central Amazonia.
Balancing species conservation and agricultural productivity in tropical landscapes, Panama: This project aims identify how tree and bird community composition, seed dispersal and recruitment vary across gradients of forest cover and disturbance.
Mayhew RJ, Tobias JA, Bunnefeld L & Dent DH (2019) Connectivity with primary forest determines the value of secondary tropical forests for bird conservation. Biotropica, 51 (2), pp. 219-233. https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.12629
Jones I, Peres C, Benchimol M, Bunnefeld L & Dent D (2019) Instability of insular tree communities in an Amazonian mega-dam is driven by impaired recruitment and altered species composition. Journal of Applied Ecology, 56 (3), pp. 779-791. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13313
Bradfer-Lawrence T, Gardner N & Dent D (2018) Canopy bird assemblages are less influenced by habitat age and isolation than understory bird assemblages in Neotropical secondary forest. Ecology and Evolution, 8 (11), pp. 5586-5597. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4086
Jones IL, Peres CA, Benchimol M, Bunnefeld L & Dent DH (2017) Woody lianas increase in dominance and maintain compositional integrity across an Amazonian dam-induced fragmented landscape. PLoS ONE, 12 (10), Art. No.: e0185527. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185527
Kirkpatrick L, Maher SJ, Lopez Z, Lintott PR, Bailey S, Dent D & Park K (2017) Bat use of commercial coniferous plantations at multiple spatial scales: Management and conservation implications. Biological Conservation, 206, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.11.018
Dent D & Burslem DFRP (2016) Leaf traits of dipterocarp species with contrasting distributions across a gradient of nutrient and light availability. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 9 (5-6), pp. 521-533. https://doi.org/10.1080/17550874.2016.1265018
Wolfe BT, Dent D, Deago J & Wishnie MH (2015) Forest regeneration under Tectona grandis and Terminalia amazonia plantation stands managed for biodiversity conservation in western Panama. New Forests, 46 (1), pp. 157-165. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-014-9448-2
Philipson CD, Dent D, O'Brien MJ, Chamagne J, Dzulkifli D, Nilus R, Philips S, Reynolds G, Saner P & Hector A (2014) A trait-based trade-off between growth and mortality: Evidence from 15 tropical tree species using size-specific relative growth rates. Ecology and Evolution, 4 (18), pp. 3675-3688. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1186
Dent D, DeWalt SJ & Denslow JS (2013) Secondary forests of central Panama increase in similarity to old-growth forest over time in shade tolerance but not species composition. Journal of Vegetation Science, 24 (3), pp. 530-542. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01482.x
Mascaro J, Asner GP, Dent D, DeWalt SJ & Denslow JS (2012) Scale-dependence of aboveground carbon accumulation in secondary forests of Panama: A test of the intermediate peak hypothesis. Forest Ecology and Management, 276, pp. 62-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2012.03.032
Craven DJ, Dent D, Braden D, Ashton MS, Berlyn GP & Hall JS (2011) Seasonal variability of photosynthetic characteristics influences growth of eight tropical tree species at two sites with contrasting precipitation in Panama. Forest Ecology and Management, 261 (10), pp. 1643-1653. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2010.09.017
van Breugel M, Hall JS, Craven DJ, Gregoire TG, Park A, Dent D, Wishnie MH, Mariscal E, Deago J, Ibarra D, Cedeno N & Ashton MS (2011) Early growth and survival of 49 tropical tree species across sites differing in soil fertility and rainfall in Panama. Forest Ecology and Management, 261 (10), pp. 1580-1589. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2010.08.019
Chazdon RL, Peres CA, Dent D, Sheil D, Lugo AE, Lamb D, Stork NE & Miller SE (2009) The Potential for Species Conservation in Tropical Secondary Forests. Conservation Biology, 23 (6), pp. 1406-1417. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01338.x
Kim TJ, Montagnini F & Dent D (2008) Rehabilitating abandoned pastures in Panama: Control of the invasive exotic grass, saccharum Spontaneum L., using artificial shade treatments. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 26 (3), pp. 192-203. https://doi.org/10.1080/10549810701879719
Eichhorn MP, Fagan KC, Compton SG, Dent D & Hartley SE (2007) Explaining leaf herbivory rates on tree seedlings in a Malaysian rain forest. Biotropica, 39 (3), pp. 416-421. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-7429.2007.00264.x
Wishnie MH, Dent D, Mariscal E, Deago J, Cedeno N, Ibarra D, Condit R & Ashton MS (2007) Initial performance and reforestation potential of 24 tropical tree species planted across a precipitation gradient in the Republic of Panama. Forest Ecology and Management, 243 (1), pp. 39-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2007.02.001
Craven DJ, Braden D, Ashton MS, Berlyn GP, Wishnie MH & Dent D (2007) Between and within-site comparisons of structural and physiological characteristics and foliar nutrient content of 14 tree species at a wet, fertile site and a dry, infertile site in Panama. Forest Ecology and Management, 238 (1-3), pp. 335-346. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2006.10.030
Dent D, Bagchi R, Robinson D, Majalap-Lee N & Burslem DFRP (2006) Nutrient fluxes via litterfall and leaf litter decomposition vary across a gradient of soil nutrient supply in a lowland tropical rain forest. Plant and Soil, 288 (1-2), pp. 197-215. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-006-9108-1
Kim TJ, Montagnini F, Cedeno N, Dent D & Mariscal E (2006) Investigation of shading as a method for controlling wild sugarcane on abandoned lands (Panama) (Notes and Abstracts). Ecological Restoration, 24 (3), pp. 203-204. http://er.uwpress.org/content/24/3.toc