Matthew Luskin

  ABOUT THE CI/PI & lab goals

I am a broadly trained ecologist working at the nexus of land use change, wildlife ecology, and plant-animal interactions. My work focuses on investigating the secondary cascading impacts from hunting, deforestation, and palm oil agriculture on forest ecosystems. My current projects in Southeast Asia dig into the long-term unintended consequences of these disturbances in otherwise pristine forests.


My research program developed out of my long commitment to Southeast Asia and its people. This immersion has fostered my investigations of complex, situated, and indirect pathways in which land use change shapes the ecology of remaining forests. I am strongly question-driven and my approaches often draw on my earlier studies of economics and

geography. I employ an interdisciplinary set of methods including biophysical and ecological measurements, social science methods such as interviews and monitoring wildlife trade, as well as direct and indirect wildlife monitoring, such as remotely triggered camera traps and live trapping. I now work on long-term tree demography using the 'big data' tree censuses curated by the Smithsonian's ForestGEO program.


A new focus in my lab will be on investigating the processes regulating wildlife and plant populations. This project aims to quantify the relative importance of top-down (predation, herbivory) and bottom-up (food resources) mechanisms in controlling SE Asian food webs. My approach is to use large-scale experiments to manipulate wildlife (e.g. exclosures or predator reintroductions) and resources communities (e.g. fruit additions).

Feel free to contact me at or follow my work via Google Scholar

Sumatra headshot.jpg

Mapping newly deforested areas in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra

Matthew Luskin