The awardees are recognized for their contributions to understanding the effects of land use change on biodiversity and ecosystem processes. They have developed and maintained a seminal, long-term landscape experiment in Amazonian Brazil, designed to measure and forecast the manifold consequences of habitat fragmentation – a major consequence of land use change – for the integrity of tropical forests.
Their work has revealed many unexpected features of habitat fragmentation, such as dramatically increased mortality in forest trees, with far-reaching consequences for the preservation of forest biodiversity and carbon pool dynamics. lnsights from this study have significantly influenced conservation science and practice.
The awardees are also applauded for their analyses of the impact of global change phenomena on tropical forests, and for developing the crucial conservation policy mechanism for protecting natural landscapes known as “debt-for-nature swaps.”