Lead researchers and project managers:
Ed Turner, University of Cambridge
Ed is group leader on the BEFTA Programme from the University of Cambridge. He is a conservation scientist, who researches management strategies that can be employed to conserve species diversity and healthy ecosystem functioning. Over the last 10 years he has worked in the UK and SE Asia on a variety of ecological studies, including helping to coordinate the set-up and initial data collection on the BEFTA Understory Vegetation Project.
Mohammad Naim, Smart Research Institute
Naim is Head of the Crop Protection Department at SMARTRI and lead counterpart on the BEFTA Programme. He studies the dynamics of small carnivores and rat populations using camera traps, Capture-Mark-Recapture, and line-transect methods. His expertise is in small mammals, small mammal pests in oil palm plantations and their natural enemies and control.
Jake L Snaddon, University of Southampton
Jake is group leader from the University of Southampton. His research investigates the links between biodiversity and ecosystem functions in tropical landscapes. He has worked extensively in Southeast Asia on projects, including experiments investigating links between decomposition and invertebrate communities and the role of epiphytes and canopy fungi in forest nutrient cycling.
Jean-Pierre Caliman, Smart Research Institute
Jean-Pierre is lead researcher at SMARTRI. His research interest is mainly in agronomy with a special focus on soil fertility and oil palm mineral nutrition. His career has focused on research about oil palm cultivation in Africa and South East Asia, where he is now leading the multidisciplinary R&D program of SMARTRI (Golden Agri Resources).
Anak Agung Ketut Aryawan, Smart Research Institute
Agung coordinates the project set-up and data collection for the RERTA Project for SMARTRI. He also carries out research on rodents, small-mammal carnivores, birds, and aquatic invertebrates. He is particularly interested in understanding how rats can be controlled by predators in plantations. He joined SMARTRI Crop Protection Department in December 2012.
Andreas Dwi Advento, Smart Research Institute
Advento coordinates the data collection at the BEFTA Understory Vegetation Project for SMARTRI and is a member of the SMARTRI Crop Protection Department. His career in SMARTRI started in 2009 and he has a background is biology and an interest in insects. He is now in charge of a research program related to the control of insect damage in oil palm plantations.
Sarah Luke, University of Nottingham
Sarah coordinates the project set-up and data collection for the RERTA project for Cambridge. Her recent research has focussed on stream macroinvertebrate assemblages in tropical forest and oil palm ecosystems. She is interested in the effects of habitat change on biodiversity, and development of possible strategies for conservation, including river margin restoration.
Eleanor Slade, Nanyang Technological University
Eleanor is a researcher at Nanyang Technological University. Her research interests are in the ecology and conservation of tropical and temperate forest and agro-ecosystems, and the impact of human activities on the diversity and functioning of these ecosystems. She has worked on a range of taxa from dung beetles, moths and woodlice to hornbills and small mammals in both tropical (Malaysia, Philippines, Belize) and temperate (UK, Finland) environments. Her current research aims to quantify the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in modified landscapes. In particular she is exploring the relationship between dung beetle diversity and ecosystem functioning in agricultural landscapes.
Amy Eycott, University of Cambridge
Amy was the NERC El Niño Research Associate in the Cambridge group from 2017 to 2018 and is now Associate Professor of Terrestrial Ecology at Nord University. Her research interests are biodiversity dynamics and ecological function. Amy continues to work on datasets related to vegetation management and climate in the BEFTA Understory Vegetation plots.
Dedi Purnomo, Smart Research Institute
Dedi Purnomo is in charge on the evaluation of the flora diversity within the BEFTA plots. His interest is in ecological functions of biodiversity in oil palm plantation. His background is in ecology in forestry.
Julia Drewer, CEH.
Julia is a biogeochemist and coordinates the research on greenhouse gas fluxes within the BEFTA programme. This includes ecosystem respiration (carbon dioxide), nitrous oxide and methane. She is investigating how different management options impact the magnitude of the measured fluxes to provide evidence for modified agricultural practices that have the potential to reduce emissions.
Michael Pashkevich, University of Cambridge.
Michael is a research fellow in the Cambridge group. He has worked on both the BEFTA-UVP and RERTA Project, studying how these experiments affect invertebrate communities. He is interested in how oil palm expansion in West Africa affects ecosystems and society, and how management of existing oil palm plantations affects biodiversity and functioning.
Pujianto, Smart Research Institute
Pujianto is in charge of monitoring the impact of BEFTA various treatment on the mineral nutrition of the palms. His interest is in agronomy with specialization on soil management in relation with nutrient bioavailability for oil palm. He has spent his whole career in research about oil palm cultivation in Smart Research Institute.
Resti Wahyuningsih, Smart Research Institute
Resti specialises in investigating soil management practices. She collects data on soil arthropod activity and biodiversity at the RERTA Project.
Rudi Harto Widodo, Smart Research Institute
Rudi coordinates all operational activities in relation to the management of palms in the BEFTA Programme and coordinates activities with estate management, including maintenance of the BEFTA plots, harvesting and recording yield of the palms.
Ribka Sionita Tarigan, Smart Research Institute
Ribka coordinates data collection to measure erosion and nutrient concentration levels at the RERTA Project.
Soeprapto, Smart Research Institute
Soeprapto coordinates climatic recording for SMARTRI and runs recording stations in both the BEFTA Understory Vegetation and RERTA Project areas.
Suhardi, Smart Research Institute
Suhardi is in charge of the soil fertility studies at SMARTRI. His interest is in the relationship between soil characteristics (physical, chemical, and biological) and plant growth. He spent 14 years as a lecturer in Bengkulu University teaching soil science, before joining SMARTRI in 2007.
T. Dzulfikar S. Rambe, Smart Research Institute
Dzulfikar is in charge of the management of the diverse ground vegetation cover levels in the BEFTA plots. His expertise is in weed control in oil palm plantations.
William Foster, University of Cambridge
William was the lead researcher on the BEFTA Project until his retirement in 2016. His research interests have ranged from the evolution of eusociality in insects to the role of epiphytic ferns in supporting rainforest diversity. His recent career has focussed on establishing an evidence base for more biofriendly oil palm cultivation. He retains an interest in the BEFTA Project and in the study of social behaviour in solitary wasps.
Current graduate students:
Amelia Hood, University of Cambridge.
Amelia (Millie) investigated the role of ants and termites in the plantations for her PhD thesis. As part of this, she ran ant exclusion experiments in the BEFTA vegetation plots and replanted sites.
Julie Hinsch, University of Cambridge.
Julie’s research investigates the value of introduced plants (Turnera ulmifolia and Antigonon leptopus) in attracting beneficial insects within plantations.
Jake Stone, University of Cambridge.
Jake’s project will investigate the functional importance of ant communities within the RERTA Project sites.
Aaron Prairie, Imperial College London.
Aaron is currently using data collected from the BEFTA Understory Vegetation Project sites to investigate the impact of caging and ant exclusions on herbivory in palms.
Previous group members:
Sudharto Ps, Smart Research Institute
Sudharto Ps was head of the Crop Protection Department and lead counterpart on the BEFTA Project until his retirement in 2017. He has extensive knowledge of insect pest control and other aspects of entomology within oil palm and a particular interest in integrated Pest Management. He worked at the Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute (IOPRI) for 23 years, before joining SmartRI in 2005.
Candra Kurniawan, Smart Research Institute
Candra is a Geographic Information System (GIS) specialist, who contributed to the initial site selection and plot layout of the BEFTA Understory Vegetation Project.
Martina Harianja, University of Cambridge.
Martina studied pollinating insects and the impacts of management on their numbers within the BEFTA Programme.
Hsiao-Hang Tao, University of Oxford.
Hsiao-Hang investigated the impact of soil management practices, such as EFB application, on ecosystem processes in oil palm.
David Kurz, University of Cambridge
Using data from the BEFTA Understory Management Project, Dave investigated the resilience of food webs throughout the oil palm life-cycle.
Dakota Marie Spear, University of Cambridge
Using data from the BEFTA Understory Management Project, Dakota investigated the impact of understory management strategies on spiders.
Kirsty Matthews Nicholass, University of Essex.
Kirsty worked with the SMARTRI team to train them in the use of metagenomic approaches to identify soil microbial communities.
Christopher Woodham, University of Oxford.
Using data from the wider SMARTRI team, Chris investigated the effects of riparian buffers on ecosystem processes.
Adham Ashton-Butt, University of Southampton.
Using data from the BEFTA Project, Adham investigated the effects of understory management on below-ground biodiversity and processes.
Darren Mann, University of Oxford.
Darren is the Head of Life Collections at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where he manages the University’s vertebrate and invertebrate collection of over 7 million specimens. His research interests are in the taxonomy and ecology of dung beetles, specialising in the Asian – Oriental faunas. He advised the SMARTRI team on monitoring and identification of dung beetles from across the BEFTA Programme.
Holly Barclay, Monash University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.
Holly is an aquatic ecologist who studies the ecology and conservation of freshwater invertebrates in SE Asia. Her current research focuses on the impacts of oil palm management on water quality and freshwater invertebrate communities in Malaysia and Indonesia. She advised the BEFTA Project on freshwater monitoring methods within the BEFTA Programme.