My research and teaching focus on tropical forest and savanna ecology, with an emphasis on understanding the drivers of vegetation dynamics and structure, the effect of changing climate on carbon and nutrient cycling and storage, and how disturbance and forest degradation, including natural processes and anthropogenic conversion, affect long-term vegetation function. I trained in plant biology and environmental sciences at Michigan State University and then worked for a number of years in research with the US Forest Service and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. I obtained an MSc and PhD in forest ecology and soil science at Cornell University studying secondary forests and logging while living for several years in central and southern Amazonia. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell using stable isotopes to study changes in plant and soil carbon dynamics due to invasive species, I moved to a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Leeds studying the drivers of change in pantropical tropical forests and savannas. I am currently an Associate Professor in Physical Geography – Terrestrial Ecosystem Science and Director of Internationalisation and Development in Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences and part of the Landscape and Ecosystem Dynamics group. Externally, I am an affiliated professor at the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA) and UNEMAT, Brazil. My University of Exeter web page can be found here.

Broad research specialisms:

Tropical forest ecology; Amazonia and Africa; Land-cover, land-use change; Forest disturbance, degradation, and recovery; Logging; Forest-climate interactions; Drought; Fire; Pyrogenic carbon; Terrestrial carbon and nutrient cycling


PhD, Forest Ecology/Soil Science, Cornell University
MSc, Soil Science/Conservation and Sustainable Land-use, Cornell University
BSc, Environmental Plant Biology, Michigan State University


Affiliated professor at the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), Brazil, Tropical Forest Science post-graduate program

Affiliated professor at the University of Mato Grosso State (UNEMAT), Brazil, Ecology and Conservation post-graduate program

AMAZONICA, TROBIT, and RAINFOR projects, University of Leeds, UK. Funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

US National Science Foundation project, Cornell University, NY USA

NASA-sponsored Large- Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA-ECO)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, WA USA

US Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, MI, USA

Media Coverage

Small trees are among the oldest in African rainforests (2019) Univ. ExeterNaturePhys.orgDaily ScienceSummary

Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities (2018) EurekAlert!

Compositional response of Amazon forests to climate change (2018) IndependentBrazil G1HollandGermanyChina

Brazil’s actual forest-related CO2 emissions could blow by Paris pledge (2018) Mongabay

Record Amazon fires and degraded forests (2017) Mongabay

Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition (2017) BBCThe AtlanticScience DailyUniv. ExeterNYT

Tropical rainstorms and a wobbly rope bridge in the cloudy treetops (2017) Eden Project

Record heat and drought seen in Amazon during 2015-16 El Niño (2017) Mongabay

Amazon forest response to repeated droughts (2016) BBCUniv. ExeterMongabayEl Colombiano (Spanish), Trouw (Dutch)

Most accurate picture yet of how the Amazon will respond to climate change (2016) Washington PostUniv. Exeter

The Climate Post: Climate Pledges May Not Be Enough (2015) Huffington Post

Amazon’s carbon uptake declines as trees die faster (2015) The GuardianNYT,  Univ. ExeterO Globo

Half of tree species in the Amazon at risk of extinction (2015) The GuardianBBC NewsUniv. Exeter

One percent of tree species in the Amazon forest account for half of its carbon (2015) BBC NewsUniv. Exeter

Just 227 species dominate Amazon landscape (2013) The GuardianBBC News

Pruning back carbon estimates (2012) Nature

West Africa forest biomass on rise despite drought (2012) BBC News

Research grants

2019-2020, NERC Radiocarbon Facility, charcoal 14C AMS dates to support NERC Amazon Past Fire Project, 400 dates, £200,800, PI: T. Feldpausch, coIs: L. Aragão, C. Belcher, O. Phillips

2018 – 2021, ‘BioResilience: Biodiversity resilience and ecosystem services in post-conflict socio-ecological systems in Colombia’, NERC/AHRC, £1.4M, PI: T. Feldpausch, co-Is: D. Urrego, T. Pennington, N. Millner, L. Mercado, project partners: E. Alvarez-Davila, C.R. Montes-Pulido, J. Richardson, D. Armenteras, C. Velasquez-Ruiz, O.L. Hernandez-Manrique

2018 – 2021, ColombiaBio Programme Project Integration, NERC/AHRC, £300k, grant divided equally among five funded ColombiaBio projects, including T. Feldpausch as PI, co-Is: D. Urrego, T. Pennington, N. Millner, L. Mercado, project partners: E. Alvarez-Davila, C.R. Montes-Pulido, J. Richardson, D. Armenteras, C. Velasquez-Ruiz, O.L. Hernandez-Manrique

2018, NERC Radiocarbon Facility, charcoal 14C AMS dates to support a pilot study evaluating variation in past fire across Amazonia, £13,554, PI Feldpausch

2018, QUEX Initiator grant, Amazon pyrogenic carbon: soil, peat, and Aeolian transport, £10k, PI Feldpausch, co-I Gallego-Sala

2017, ‘Historical fire effects on old-growth Amazon forest, soil fertility and carbon storage’ Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), NERC, £20k, T. Feldpausch (PI) and L. Aragao (co-I).

2017, ‘Effects of El Niño and fire on Colombian forests’, Ayudar Colombia and Santander Universities, £1680, T. Feldpausch (PI), L.C.S Carvalho (co-I), E. Alvarez-Dávila (project partner, Colombia)

2016 – 2020, ‘Cerrado-Amazonia Transition: ecological and socio-environmental basis for conservation’ – Long-Term Ecological Research Network, CNPq-Brazil, £147k, B.S. Marimon (PI), Project partners: B.H. Marimon, O. Phillips, R. Brienen, T.R. Feldpausch

2016 – 2019, “Forest Network (ReFlor): biodiversity, climate change, and biotechnology in the ‘Arc of Deforestation’, Brazil”, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Mato Grosso (FAPEMAT), £58k, PI B.H. Marimon,  Rafael Soares de Arruda (co-I), Project partners: B.S. Marimon, O. Phillips, E. Gloor, T.R. Feldpausch

2016 – 2021 ‘Lightning: An invisible driver of tree mortality in the tropics?’ NERC (NE/P001564/1), £800k, Hill, T. (PI); Co-I: T.R. Feldpausch, E. Mitchard, M. Haddad; Project Partners: G. Chuyong, H. Chapman, J. Elworthy, L. Rowland, D. Mitchard

2016 – 2020, ‘Do past fires explain current carbon dynamics of “old-growth” Amazonian forests?’, NERC (NE/N011570/1), £575,107, Feldpausch, T.R. (PI); Co-I:  L. Aragão, C. Belcher, O. Phillips; Project Partners: M. Bird, C. Quesada, K. Macario, Ben Hur Marimon, Beatriz Marimon.

2016 – 2017, ‘The Weather Maker Live: Research projects piloted and communicated’, Eden Project and University of Exeter Research Collaboration Fund, £7500, J. Elworthy (PI), R. Betts (co-I), Project partners: T. Hill, L. Rowland, I. Hartley, L. Mercado, T.R. Feldpausch

2014 – 2016, ‘Biomass and fire in degraded forests in Peru and Brazil: Evaluation using airborne LIDAR remote sensing’, SilvaCarbon Fund, £133k, Keller, M. (PI); Feldpausch, T.R. (Co-I)

2014 – 2016, ‘Phytogeography and paleovegetation of the Amazon/Cerrado transition in Mato Grosso, Brazil’, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Mato Grosso (FAPEMAT), £6400, Marimon, B.H. (PI); Feldpausch, T.R. (Project Partner)

2013 – 2016, ‘Phytogeographic characterization, species distribution, and woody vegetation determinants in the Cerrado / Amazonia transition’, Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), £55,300, Marimon, B.H. (PI); Feldpausch, T.R. (Project Partner)

2012 – 2015, ‘Fire, pyrogenic carbon, and Amazonian forest’, Brazilian National Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), £137k, Feldpausch, T.R. (PI); Project partners: B.H. Marimon, B. Marimon, C. Quesada, M. Bird, K. Macario

2011 – 2012, ‘Assessing the impacts of the 2010 drought at the Amazon forest-savanna zone of tension’, NERC (NE/I02982X/1), £65k, Phillips, O. (PI), Feldpausch, T.R. (Co-I), Project partners: J. Lloyd, Y. Malhi, L. Arroyo, B.H. Marimon, B. Marimon

2008 Royal Society Networking grant: ‘Development of a Ghanaian-led long-term forest monitoring initiative to evaluate climate change effects on West African forests’ (PI Feldpausch, £10k)

2008-2010 Royal Society International Joint Projects grant, ‘Liana impacts on the structure and carbon balance of African forests’ (PI Feldpausch, £12k)

Research Networks