Dr Félix Forest

Senior Research Leader


Ecosystem Stewardship


Spatial Phylogenetics


Plant evolutionary biology, biodiversity, conservation, and pollination, particularly in the Cape of South Africa

I am a plant evolutionary biologist with a wide range of interests. I have worked on the molecular systematics of numerous plant families such as Leguminosae, Polygalaceae, Betulaceae, Myrtaceae, Santalaceae and Sapindaceae, but my main current interest is the Iridaceae family, more specifically the species found in the Cape of South Africa and the evolution of pollination syndromes in this group. I am also interested in biogeographical patterns and processes and the factors promoting diversification and speciation. More recently, I have focused mainly on the application of phylogenetics to conservation planning and the integration of evolutionary approaches in conservation. In particular, I have worked on the use of phylogenetic diversity to explore plant biodiversity patterns in the Cape of South Africa and the application of the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) approach to plants. Following the publication of the EDGE list for gymnosperms (see below), I am now leading the development of a similar list for the whole of angiosperms with colleagues at Kew and elsewhere.

Forest, F., Moat, J., Baloch, E., Brummitt, N.A., Bachman, S.P., Ickert-Bond, S., Hollingsworth, P.M., Liston, A., Little, D.P., Mathews, S., Rai, H., Rydin, C., Stevenson, D.W., Thomas, P. & Buerki, S. (2018).

Gymnosperms on the EDGE. 

Scientific Reports 8: 6053. 

Forest, F., Crandall, K. A., Chase, M. W. & Faith, D. P. (2015).

Phylogeny, extinction and conservation: embracing uncertainties in a time of urgency.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 20140002. 

Forest, F., Goldblatt, P., Manning, J. C., Baker, D., Colville, J. F., Devey, D. S., Jose, S., Kaye, M. & Buerki, S. (2014).

Pollinator shifts as triggers of speciation in painted petal irises (Lapeirousia: Iridaceae).

Annals of Botany 113: 357-371. 

Colville, J. F., Beale, C. M., Forest, F., Altwegg, R., Huntley, B., Cowling, R. M. (2020).

Plant richness, turnover, and evolutionary diversity track gradients of stability and ecological opportunity in a megadiversity center.

PNAS 117: 20027-20037.

Forest, F., Grenyer, R., Rouget, M., Davies, T. J., Cowling, R. M., Balmford, A., Faith, D. P., Manning, J. C., Procheş, Ş., van der Bank, M., Reeves, G., Hedderson, T. A. J. & Savolainen, V. (2007)

Preserving the evolutionary potential of floras in biodiversity hotspots.   

Nature 445: 757-760.  

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