Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab

Long-Term Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship Technologies

Academic profile

Carolina is an Early Career Research Fellow at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. She is an ecologist with a primary interest in the biogeography of tropical regions.
She gained her undergraduate degree in Biology at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (Peru), an MSc degree in Conservation of Forestry Resources from the same university and a second MSc degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. She recently completed her PhD studies at the University of Oxford in the Oxford Long-term Ecology Lab. Her thesis focused on understanding the persistence of the tropical African rainforest in the last 6000 years under climate change and fire impact using palaeoecological records.
Carolina has also been teaching assistant at the Department of Biology in the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (Peru) in 2001 and a Research Fellow at the Conservation Data Centre from the same University between 2002 and 2008, prior to her MSc studies at the University of Amsterdam.


Current research

Carolina’s research aims to understand spatial biodiversity patterns, the ecological processes behind them and the impact of disturbances (e.g. land use change, fires and climate change) on those patterns in both the short (years to decades) and long term (centuries to thousands of years).

Her current project at Kew analyses the role of dispersal processes for plant biodiversity in the Tropical Andes under different climate change scenarios. Dispersal is a key process for species persistence especially in fragmented environments such as mountain regions due to both natural and anthropogenic causes. She is addressing this important topic by using a combination of dispersal traits, palaeoecological data and species distribution models.

Selected Publications

2014. Tovar, C., E. Breman, T. Brncic, D. Harris, R. Bailey, K. Willis. Influence of 1100 years of burning on the central African rainforest. Ecography 37(11): 1139-1148.

2013Willis, K.J., K.D. Bennett, S.L. Burrough, M. Macias-Fauria, C. TovarDetermining the response of African biota to climate change: using the past to model the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 368(1625):20120491.

2013. Tovar, C., C.A.Arnillas, F. Cuesta C., W. Buytaert Diverging responses of Tropical Andean biomes under future climate conditionsPLoS 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 AndesBiotropica 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 conservationBMC 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 birdsThe 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 landscapesBiodiversity and Conservation 17(6): 1353-.1366.

Books and chapters

2012. Arnillas, C.A., C. Tovar, F. Cuesta C., W. Buytaert. 2012. Potential climate change impacts on the Tropical Andes biodiversity. Series Panorama Andino sobre Cambio Climático. CONDESAN, SGCAN. Lima-Quito. 66 p. (Publication in spanish).

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, A., C. Tovar, J. Saito, A. Soto, F. Regal, Z. Cruz, C. Véliz, P. Vásquez, G. Rivera. 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. Arnillas C, C. Tovar, W. Buytaert, M.W. Cadotte.  From patches to richness: assessing the potential impact of landscape transformation on biodiversity (Oral presentation). Ecological Society of America. 98th Annual ESA Meeting. Aug 4-9. Minneapolis, USA.

2013. Tovar, C., E. Breman, T. Brncic, D. Harris, R. Bailey, K.J. 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.