10 February 2022
Dr Félix Forest
Senior Research Leader
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.
- BSc, Univ of Montréal, Canada, 1995
- MSc, Univ. of Montréal, Canada, 1999
- PhD, Univ. of Reading, UK, 2004
- Editorial Board, Kew Bulletin
- Associate Editor, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
- Member of the IUCN SSC Phylogenetic Diversity Task Force
- Member of Future Earth’s Global Research Network EvolvES
The Tree of Life Initiative
Expanding and populating the tree of life for plants and fungi
Evolution and diversification of the palms and their seed traits
The palm tree-of-life as a key to palm seed conservation. Phylogenomic research in support of the Global Tree Seed Bank project.
Global Tree Seed Bank Programme
Conserving some of the world’s rarest, endangered and useful tree and shrub species as well as conducting vital tree conservation research in order to retain a significant resource for humanity.
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.