Carolina is a D.Phil. student in the Long Term Ecology Laboratory, based in the Department of Zoology. She currently holds a Clarendon Fund scholarship and a UK Government Overseas Research Students scholarship. She received an MSc degree in Conservation of Forestry Resources from the National Agrarian University, Lima, Peru (UNALM) in 2008. Her dissertation involved the analysis of deforestation patterns in natural protected areas of Peruvian rainforest. She also holds a second MSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), funded by an AMS scholarship from the UvA. She obtained her degree in 2010 with distinction. Her Masters thesis involved the analysis of the impact of fragmentation on a tropical alpine ecosystem. Prior to this, she obtained the professional title of Biologist from UNALM in 2003, where her dissertation was focused on the analysis of herb community resilience after El Niño perturbation in a natural protected area of Peru.
Carolina has been a Research Fellow of the Conservation Data Centre of the National Agrarian University of Lima, Peru since 2002. Her research is mainly related to landscape ecology, species distribution modelling, biodiversity monitoring, land use/cover change, and recently to the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. She has been involved in conservation planning for the last ten years, collaborating with local actors and national and international research centres related to the tropical Andes and Amazonia. She is currently interested on the integration of long-term ecological analysis in conservation issues.
Carolina is currently working on the analysis of vegetation dynamics of Congo’s lowland forest over the last 4000 years. The aim of her project is to examine past vegetation dynamics of the Central African rainforest in response to fires and climate change in order to attempt to determine their spatial extent, their impact, and the resilience of the rainforest to such disturbances. Information obtained for this project will provide insights on possible threats from current fire dynamics and climate change processes.
Previous efforts to understand the dynamics of Central African forest led to the conclusion that this forest has been subject to large pressures from both climatic disturbances and fires in the past, and that forest composition in some regions may reflect the successional stage that the forest is in following recovery from previous disturbance. Pollen records show that a major decrease in primary forest trees occurred during the late Holocene (3000 to 2500 yr BP), and that some areas converted to savannas (Maley 2002). There is also evidence for past fires, especially in the last thousand years (Brncic et al. 2007; Brncic et al. 2009). Nevertheless, in this approach, only single cores have been analyzed which does not take into account spatial variability.
This project is based on palaeoecological records such as fossil pollen, charcoal and phytoliths. The strength of this work is its combination of spatial and temporal scale, which is rarely achieved in most palaeoecological studies in tropical forest regions where long-term research sites are very limited.
In this context, Carolina is focusing on the analysis of:
(1) The spatial extent of forest-savanna mosaic and its changes trough time,
(2) Fire history and its effects on forest types
(3) Forest responses to disturbances: History of Marantaceae forest
(4) History of monodominant Gilbertiodendron forest: What triggers monodominance?
Tel: 01865 281319
2013. Willis, K.J., K.D. Bennett, S.L. Burrough, M. Macias-Fauria, C. Tovar (Accepted) Determining the response of African biota to climate change: using the past to model the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
2013. Tovar, C., C.A.Arnillas, F. Cuesta C., W. Buytaert Diverging responses of Tropical Andean biomes under future climate conditions. PLoS ONE 8(5): e63634.
2013. Tovar, C., A. H. Seijmonsbergen, J. F. Duivenvoorden. Monitoring land use and land cover change in mountain regions: An example in the Jalca grasslands of the Peruvian Andes. Landscape and Urban planning 112:40-49.
2012. Tovar, C., J. F. Duivenvoorden, I. Sánchez-Vega, A. H. Seijmonsbergen. Recent Changes in Patch Characteristics and Plant Communities in the Jalca grasslands of the Peruvian Andes. Biotropica 44(3):321-330
2012. Swenson, J.J., B.E. Young, S. Beck, P. Comer, J. H. Córdova, J. Dyson, D. Ember, F. Encarnación, W. Ferreira, I. Franke, D. Grossman, P Hernandez, S. K. Herzog, C. Josse, G. Navarro, V. Pacheco, B. A. Stein, M. Timaná, A. Tovar, C. Tovar, J. Vargas, C. M. Zambrana-Torrelio. Plant and animal endemism in the eastern Andean slope: Challenges to conservation. BMC Ecology 12(1): 1-18
2012. Willis, K.J., E.S. Jeffers, C. Tovar, P. Long, N. Caithness, M.G.D. Smith, R. Hagemann, C. Collin-Hansen, J. Weissenberger. Determining the ecological value of landscapes beyond protected areas. Biological Conservation 147(1): 3-12
2009. Young, B., I. Franke, S. Herzog, L. Paniagua, C. Tovar. T. Valqui. Using spatial models to predict areas of endemism and gaps in the protection of Andean slope birds. The Auk 126(3):554−565
2008. Veliz, C., A. Tovar, C. Tovar, F. Regal, P. Vasquez. Conservation in arid ecosystems: Selecting priority sites in the Sechura Desert Ecoregion, Peru. Zonas Áridas 12(1): 36-59. (Publication in Spanish with English abstract)
2008. Hernandez, P. A., I. Franke, S. K. Herzog, V. Pacheco, L. Paniagua, H. L. Quintana, A. Soto, J. J. Swenson, C. Tovar, T. H. Valqui, M. J. Vargas, B. E. Young. Predicting species distribution in poorly studied landscapes. Biodiversity and Conservation 17(6): 1353-.1366.
Books and book chapters
2011. Tovar, C., C.A. Arnillas, M. Peralvo, G. Galindo. Regional Scenarios of Biodiversity State in the Tropical Andes. In Land Use, Climate Change and Biodiversity Modeling: Perspectives and Applications. Pp 265-285. IGI Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-619-0
2010. Tovar, Antonio.; Tovar, Carolina., Saito, José; Soto, Aldo; Regal, Fernando; Cruz, Zoila; Véliz, Claudia; Vásquez, Pedro; Rivera, Gaby. Peruvian Yungas – Montane forest on the eastern slope of the Andes: An ecoregional perspective for conservation. CDC-UNALM. Lima, 139 p. (Publication in Spanish). ISBN: 978-612-00-0290-2
2007. Vásquez, P. y C. Tovar. The fauna of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. A guide for community management. CDC-UNALM/ ProNaturaleza / The Nature Conservancy / USAID. Lima, 120 p. (Publication in Spanish) ISBN: 978-9972-9312-6-0. Online access: http://cdc.lamolina.edu.pe/
2013. Tovar, C., E. Breman, T. Brncic, D. Harris, R. Bailey, K. Willis. Influence of Prehistoric human burning on Central African Rainforest (Oral presentation). International Biogeography Society. 6th biennial Conference, Jan 9-12. Miami, USA.
2013 Arnillas, C.A., C. Tovar, F. Cuesta C., W. Buytaert. Diverging responses of Tropical Andean biomes under future climate conditions (Poster presentation). International Biogeography Society. 6th biennial Conference, Jan 9-12. Miami, USA
2012. Tovar, C., E. Breman, K. Willis. Climate change, fire dynamics and forest types in Central Africa during the last 2500 cal yr BP (Poster presentation). Conference “Climate change, deforestation and the future of African Rainforests”. Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, Environmental Change Institute. Jan 4-6, 2012. Oxford, UK.
2011. Willis, K.J., E.S. Jeffers, C. Tovar, M.G.D. Smit, C. Collin-Hansen and J. Weissenberger. Assessing the physical impact (footprint) of industrial development on landscapes beyond protected areas (Oral presentation). Society of Petroleum Engineers Health, Safety and Environment Meeting, Austria, Vienna.
2007. Tovar, C., A. Soto, T. Valqui, S. Herzog, P. Hernandez, L. Paniagua, B. Young, I.Franke. Modelling endemic bird distribution of the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon Basin (Poster presentation). II Latinamerican Conference of Nacional Parks and other protected areas: “Conservation, integration and welfare for latinamerican people”. IUCN. Oct 1-6, 2007, Bariloche, Argentina.
2006. Hernandez, P., L. Paniagua, A. Soto, J. Swenson, C. Tovar, B. Young. Novel spatial methods for predicting centers of endemism of Andean birds (Oral presentatioin). Society for Conservation Biology 20th Annual Meeting. Jun 24-26. San Jose California, USA.
2006. Arnillas, C.A., P. Vasquez, C. Tovar, J.A. Saito, F. Hajek. Deforestation in Peruvian Yungas and related socioeconomical process: Comparative analysis in seven watersheds (Poster presentation). Ecology in an Era of Globalization: Challenges and opportunities for environmental scientists in the Americas. Ecological Society of America. Jan 8-12, Merida, Mexico.