John R. Poulsen

John R. Poulsen

Assistant Professor of Tropical Ecology

ESC Program Co-chair

John Poulsen is an ecologist with broad interests in the maintenance and regeneration of tropical forests and conservation of biodiversity. His research has focused on the effects of anthropogenic disturbance, such as logging and hunting, on forest structure and diversity, abundance of tropical animals, and ecological processes. He has conducted most of his research in Central Africa, where he has also worked as a conservation manager, directing projects to sustainably manage natural resources in and around parks and reserves, and as the coordinator of government programs to develop low emissions strategies and quantify and monitor forest carbon.

In The News


Beirne, C., A. C. Meier, A. E. Mbele, G. Menie Menie, G. Froese, J. Okouyi, and J. R. Poulsen. “Participatory monitoring reveals village-centered gradients of mammalian defaunation in central Africa.” Biological Conservation 233 (May 1, 2019): 228–38.
Wade, A. M., D. D. Richter, V. P. Medjibe, A. R. Bacon, P. R. Heine, L. J. T. White, and J. R. Poulsen. “Estimates and determinants of stocks of deep soil carbon in Gabon, Central Africa.” Geoderma 341 (May 1, 2019): 236–48.
Hubau, Wannes, Tom De Mil, Jan Van den Bulcke, Oliver L. Phillips, Bhély Angoboy Ilondea, Joris Van Acker, Martin J. P. Sullivan, et al. “The persistence of carbon in the African forest understory..” Nature Plants 5, no. 2 (February 2019): 133–40.
Ngama, Steeve, Jerome Bindelle, John R. Poulsen, Jean-Luck Hornick, Annick Linden, Lisa Korte, Jean-Louis Doucet, and Cédric Vermeulen. “Do topography and fruit presence influence occurrence and intensity of crop-raiding by forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis)?.” Plos One 14, no. 3 (January 2019).
Rosin, C., and J. R. Poulsen. “Seed traits, not density or distance from parent, determine seed predation and establishment in an Afrotropical forest.” Biotropica 50, no. 6 (November 1, 2018): 881–88.

Recent Grants


ENERGY 795: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects (ENERGY 795: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects)
ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects (ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects)
BIOLOGY 561: Tropical Ecology (BIOLOGY 561: Tropical Ecology)
ENVIRON 590: Special Topics (ENVIRON 590: Special Topics)
ENVIRON 517: Tropical Ecology (ENVIRON 517: Tropical Ecology)

Video: Poaching drives decline in forest elephants in Africa

Contact Information

PO Box 90328, Lscr A317
Durham, NC 27708


Ph.D., University of Florida (2009)