Dr Ferry Slik


Professor, Faculty of Science


My research focuses on trying to understand spatial and temporal patterns in plant distributions. I do this with the help of remote sensing (GIS), molecular techniques and spatial and temporal modeling. One of my main research themes is how global change will affect plant communities and vegetation patterns. Based on this I try to design optimum conservation strategies that integrate economic and social development with environmental sustainability.

Most of the research is focused on tropical Asia, one of the fastest developing and changing tropical regions in the world. Its once continuous tropical forests are now fragmented and mostly degraded. These changes have put enormous pressures on tropical Asia’s natural ecosystems. My aim is to study these changes and try to find ways to maintain or restore the functions of tropical Asia’s natural ecosystems.


MSc - Leiden University, Netherlands
PhD - Leiden University, Netherlands


tropical forest ecology, tropical trees, forest carbon storage, forest diversity, biogeography, forest disturbance and succession, functional traits


Pan-tropical Forest Tree Project

This work is a cooperative project joined by more than 200 researchers worldwide. It currently contains data from more than 3000 individual plots, about 800,000 trees, including approximately 12,000 tree species. This data will be used for mapping and understanding tropical tree species distributions worldwide. Please contact me if you like to join by contributing your tree inventory data.

Applications Invited

Brunei Forest Observatory

This project will establish a large network of permanent plots in the many undisturbed forest types of Brunei Darussalam. This network will function as a research infrastructure for the study of tropical forests under climate change. Data will be collected on tree species composition, tree growth, recruitment and mortality, soil parameters, climate and any other relevant environmental parameters. The idea is that researchers from around the world will come to Brunei to use this research infrastructure. We hope to have this project ready and running by 2016.

Applications Invited

Forest Fragmentation Project Southwest China

In 2012 we established 50 permanent plots in forest fragments ranging in size from one to several 1000 hectares in Xishuangbanna, southern China. These forest fragments are surrounded by rubber plantations that have sprung up in the region since the 1990s. Again, the idea is that researchers from around the world will come and use this permanent research infrastructure to study the effects of forest fragmentation on both animals and plants. If you are interested to work in this plot network, please contact me.

Applications Invited


Chen, S., J.W.F. Slik, L. Mao, J. Zhang, R. Sa, K. Zhou, J. Gao, 2015. Spatial patterns and environmental correlates of bryophyte richness: sampling effort matters. Biodiversity and Conservation 24: 593-607.

Dexter, K.G., B. Smart, C. Baldauf, T.R. Baker, M.P. Bessike Balinga, R.J.W. Brienen, S. Fauset, T.R. Feldpausch, L. Ferreira-Da Silva, J. Ilunga Muledi, S.L. Lewis, G. Lopez-Gonzalez, B.H. Marimon-Junior, B. S. Marimon, P. Meerts, N. Page, N. Parthasarathy, O.L. Phillips, T.C.H. Sunderland, I. Theilade, J. Weinritt, K. Affum-Baffoe, A. Araujo, L. Arroyo, S.K. Begne, E. Carvalho-Das Neves, M. Collins, A. Cuni-Sanchez, M.N.K. Djuikouo, F. Elias, E.G. Foli, K.J. Jeffery, T.J. Killeen, Y. Malhi, L. Maracahipes, C. Mendoza, A. Monteagudo-Mendoza, P. Morandi, C. Oliveira-Dos Santos, A. G. Parada, G. Pardo, K.S.-H. Peh, R.P. Salomao, M. Silveira, H. Sinatora-Miranda, J.W.F. Slik, B. Sonke, H.E. Taedoumg, M. Toledo, R.K. Umetsu, R.G. Villaroel, V.A. Vos, L.J.T. White, R.T. Pennington, 2015. Floristics and biogeography of vegetation in seasonally dry tropical regions. International Forestry Review 17: 10-32.

Roeder, M., M. McLeish, P. Beckschafer, M. de Blecourt, E. Paudel, R.D. Harrison, J.W.F. Slik, in 2015. Phylogenetic clustering increases with succession for lianas in a Chinese tropical montane rain forest. Ecography 38: 832-841.

Slik, J.W.F., V. Arroyo-Rodriguez, S.I. Aiba et al., 2015. An estimate of the number of tropical tree species. PNAS 112: 7472-7477.

Sreekar, R, G. Huang, J.B. Zhao, B.O. Pasion, M. Yasuda, K. Zhang, I. Peabotuwage, X. Wang, R.C. Quan, J.W.F. Slik, R.T. Corlett, E. Goodale, R.D. Harrison, 2015. The use of species-area relationships to partition the effects of hunting and deforestation on bird extirpations in a fragmented landscape. Diversity and Distributions 21: 441-450.


Slik, J.W.F., V. Arroyo-Rodriguez, S.I. Aiba et al., 2015. An estimate of the number of tropical tree species. PNAS 112: 7472-7477.

Raes, N., C.H. Cannon, R.J. Heijmans, T. Piessens, L.G. Saw, P.C. van Welzen, J.W.F. Slik, 2014. Historical distribution of Sundaland’s dipterocarp rainforests at Quaternary glacial maxima. PNAS 111: 16790-16795.

Slik, J.W.F., G. Paoli, K. McGuire, I. Amaral, J. Barroso, M. Bastian, L. Blanc, F. Bongers, P. Boundja, C. Clark, M. Collins, G. Dauby, Y. Ding, J.L. Doucet, E. Eler, L. Ferreira, O. Forshed, G. Frederiksson, J.F. Gillet, D. Harris, M. Leal, Y. Laumonier, Y. Malhi, A. Mansor, E. Martin, K. Miyamoto, A. Araujo-Murakami, H. Nagamasu, R. Nilus, E. Nurtjahya, A. Oliveira, O. Onrizal, A. Parada-Gutierrez, A. Permana, L. Poorter, J. Poulsen, H. Ramirez-Angulo, J. Reitsma, F. Rovero, A. Rozak, D. Sheil, J. Silva-Espejo, M. Silveira, W. Spironelo, H. ter Steege, T. Stevart, G.E. Navarro-Aguilar, T. Sunderland, E. Suzuki, J. Tang, I. Theilade, G. van der Heijden, J. van Valkenburg, T. Van Do, E. Vilanova, V. Vos, S. Wich, H. Woll, T. Yoneda, R. Zang, M.G. Zhang, N. Zweifel, 2013. Large trees drive forest aboveground biomass variation in moist lowland forests across the tropics. Global Ecology and Biogeography 22: 1261-1271.

Slik, J.W.F., S.I. Aiba, M. Bastian, F.Q. Brearley, C.H. Cannon, K.A.O. Eichhorn, G. Frederiksson, K. Kartawinata, Y. Laumonier, A. Mansor, A. Marjokorpi, E. Meijaard, R. Morley, H. Nagamasu, R. Nilus, E. Nurtjahya, J. Payne, A. Permana, A.D. Poulsen, N. Raes, S. Riswan, C. van Schaik, D. Sheil, K. Sidiyasa, E. Suzuki, J.L.C.H. van Valkenburg, C.O. Webb, S. Wich, T. Yoneda, R. Zakaria, N. Zweifel, 2011. Soils on exposed Sunda Shelf shaped biogeographic patterns in Southeast Asia's equatorial forests. PNAS 108: 12343-12347.

Slik J.W.F., S.I. Aiba, F.Q. Brearley, C.H. Cannon, O. Forshed, K. Kitayama, H. Nagamasu, R. Nilus, J. Payne, G. Paoli, A. Poulsen, N. Raes, D. Sheil, K. Sidiyasa, E. Suzuki, J.L.C.H. van Valkenburg, 2010. Environmental correlates for tree biomass, basal area, wood specific gravity and stem density gradients in Borneo's tropical forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 19: 50-60.


Grant type: URG, Grant Number: UBD/PNC2/2/RG/1(303), Project Title: The importance of large trees for carbon storage in tropical forests, Investigators (PI/Co-PI): JWF Slik (PI) Rahayu Sukri (Co-PI), Start Date: 01/10/2014, End Date: 30/04/2017