Associate Professor

Contact Information:

Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543

6516 4184
6779 2486

Academic Qualifications

PhD University of Miami
AB Occidental College

Research Interests

I am interested in applied plant ecology as it pertains to the conservation and management of plants in tropical and subtropical forests. This includes basic quantitative descriptions of habitat composition and structure. Examples of applied ecological questions of interest include the diversity of plant communities in managed forests, and recovery of tropical forest after disturbances such as cyclones. Additionally, I study the human-biodiversity interface, specifically how rural people are or are not successful in protecting biodiversity in managed forests. My geographical area of interest is broad and ranges from the Himalayas through Polynesia.

Selected Publications


  1. Webb, E.L., and Shivakoti, G.P. (Eds.). 2008. Decentralization, forests and rural communities: policy outcomes in South and Southeast Asia. Sage Press, India.

  2. Webb, E.L. 2010. A guide to the native ornamental trees of American Samoa. Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, Government of American Samoa.

Articles 2010-present

  1. Wee, A.K.S. and 20 others. 2015.  Discerning two peas in a pod: Genetic differentiation and phylogeography of partially sympatric species complex Rhizophora mucronata Lam. and R. stylosa Griff. using SSR markers. BMC Evolutionary Biology. In press.

  2. Wee, A.K.S., Low, S.Y., and Webb, E.L. 2015. Pollen limitation affects reproductive outcome in the bird-pollinated pangrove Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (Lam.) in a highly urbanized environment. Aquatic Botany 120: 240-243.

  3. Phelps, J., Shepherd, C.R., Reeve, R., Niissalo, M.A. and Webb, E.L. 2014. No easy alternatives to conservation enforcement: response to Challender and MacMillan. Conserv. Lett. doi: 10.1111/conl.12094 (correspondence)

  4. Blackham, G.V., Webb, E.L., and Corlett. R. 2014. Natural regeneration in a degraded tropical peatland, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia: implications for forest restoration. Forest Ecology and Management 324: 8-15.

  5. Wee, A.K.S., Takayama, K., Asakawa, T., Thompson, B., Onrizal, Sungkaew, S., Tung, N.X., Saleh, M.N., Soe, K.K., Tan, H.T.W., Watano, Y., Baba, S., Kajita, T., and Webb, E.L. 2014. Ocean currents, not land masses, maintain the genetic structure of the mangrove Rhizophora mucronata in Southeast Asia. Journal of Biogeography 41: 954-964.

  6. Friess, D.A. and Webb, E.L. 2014. Variability in rates of mangrove loss: implications for the assessment of global ecology and function. Global Ecology and Biogeography, doi:10.1111/geb.12140.

  7. Webb, E.L., Jachowski, N.R.A., Phelps, J., Friess, D.A., Than, M.M., and Ziegler, A.D. 2014. Deforestation in the Ayeyarwady Delta and the conservation implications of an internationally-engaged Myanmar. Global Environmental Change 24: 321-333.

  8. Webb, E.L., van de Bult, M., Fa’aumu, S., Webb, R.C., Tualaulelei, A., and Carrasco, L. R. 2014. Factors affecting tropical tree damage and survival after catastrophic wind damage. Biotropica46: 32-41.

  9. Noreen, A. and Webb, E.L. 2013. High Genetic Diversity in a Potentially Vulnerable Tropical Tree Species Despite Extreme Habitat Loss. PLOS ONE, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082632.

  10. Phelps J., Carrasco, L.R., and Webb, E.L. 2013. A framework to assess supply-side wildlife conservation. Conservation Biology 28: 244-257.
  11. Yuen, J., Ziegler, A.D., Webb, E.L., and Ryan, C. 2013. Uncertainty in below-ground Carbon biomass for major land covers in Southeast Asia. Forest Ecology and Management 310: 915–926.

  12. Jachowski, N., Quak, M.S., Friess, D.A., Duangnamon, D., Webb, E.L., and Ziegler, A.D. 2013. Mangrove biomass estimation using machine learning. Applied Geography 45: 311-321.

  13. Chen, S., Yi, Zhuang-Fang, Campos-Arceiz, A., Chen, M.Y., and Webb, E.L.  2013. Developing a spatially-explicit, sustainable and risk-based insurance scheme to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Biological Conservation 168: 31-39.

  14. Blackham, G., Thomas, A., Webb, E.L., and Corlett, R.T.  2013. Seed rain into a degraded tropical peatland in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Biological Conservation 167: 215-223.

  15. Webb, E.L., Steinmetz, R., van de Bult, M., Chutipong, W., and Seuaturian, N. 2013. Composition, structure and spatial patterns of the tree community in a fire-influenced deciduous dipterocarp-oak forest, western Thailand. Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 59: 15-37.B

  16. Balke, T., Bouma, T.J., Herman, P.M.J., Horstman, E.M., Sudtongkong, C., and Webb, E.L. 2013. Cross-shore gradients of physical disturbance in mangroves: implications for seedling establishment. Biogeosciences, 10: 5411-5419.

  17. Takayama, K.,  Tamura, M., Tateshi, Y., Webb, E.L. and Kajita, T. 2013. Strong genetic structure over the American continents and transoceanic dispersal in the mangrove genus Rhizophora (Rhizophoraceae), revealed by broad-scale nuclear and chloroplast DNA analysis. American Journal of Botany, 100:1191-201.

  18. Webb, E.L., Friess, D.A., Krauss, K.W., Cahoon, D.R., Guntenspergen, G.R., and Phelps, J. 2013. A global standard for monitoring coastal wetland vulnerability to accelerated sea level rise. Nature Climate Change 3: 458-465.

  19. Phelps, J., Carrasco, L.R., Webb, E.L., Koh, L.P., and Pascual, U. 2013. Agricultural intensification escalates future conservation costs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1220070110.

  20. Balke, T., Webb, E.L., van den Elzen, E., Galli, D., Herman, P. and Bouma, T. 2013. Seedling establishment in a dynamic sedimentary environment: a conceptual framework using mangroves. Journal of Applied Ecology 50: 740-747.

  21. Franklin, J., Keppel, G., Webb, E.L., Seamon, J.O., Rey, S.J., Steadman, D.W., Wiser, S.K. and Drake, D.R. 2013. Dispersal limitation, speciation, environmental filtering and niche differentiation influence forest tree communities in West Polynesia. Journal of Biogeography 40: 988-999.

  22. Wee, A.K.S., Takayama, K., Kajita, T., and Webb, E.L. 2013. Microsatellite loci for Avicennia alba (Avicenniaceae), Sonneratia alba (Lythraceae) and Rhizophora mucronata (Rhizophoraceae). Journal of Tropical Forest Science 25: 131–136.

  23. Nghiem, L.T.P., Webb, E.L. and Carrasco, L.R. 2012. Saving Vietnam’s wildlife through social media. Science 338: 192-193.

  24. Ziegler, A.D., Phelps, J., Yuen, J.Q., Webb, E.L., Lawrence, D., Fox, J.M., Bruun, T.B., Leisz, S.J., Ryan, C., Dressler, W., Mertz, O., Pascual, U., Padoch, C. and Koh, L.P. 2012. Carbon outcomes of major land-cover transitions in SE Asia: great uncertainties and REDD+ policy implications. Global Change Biology 18: 3087-3099.

  25. Friess, D.A., Phelps, J., Leong, R.C., Lee, W.K., Wee, A.K.S., Sivasothi, N., Oh, R.R.Y., and Webb, E.L. 2012. Mandai mangrove, Singapore: lessons for the conservation of Southeast Asia’s mangroves. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 25: 55-65.

  26. Webb, E.L., Phelps, J., Friess, D.A., Rao, M., and Ziegler, A.D. 2012. Environment-friendly reform in Myanmar. Science336: 295.

  27. Shinmura, Y., Wee, A.K.S., Takayama, K., Meenakshisundaram, S.H., Asakawa, T., Onrizal, Adjie, B., Ardli, E.R., Sungkaew, S., Malekal, N.B., Tung, N.X., Salmo, S.G. III, Yllano, O.B., Saleh, M.N.B., Soe, M.K.K., Oguri, E., Murakami, N., Watano, Y., Baba, S. Webb, E.L., Kajita, T. 2012. Isolation and characterization of 14 microsatellite markers for Rhizophora mucronata (Rhizophoraceae) and their potential use in range-wide population studies. Conservation Genetics Resources 4: 951-954.

  28. Shinmura, Y., Wee, A.K.S., Takayama, K., Asakawa, T., Yllano, O.B., Salmo, S.G. III, Ardli, E.R., Tung, N.X., Malekal, N.B., Onrizal, Meenakshisundaram, S.H., Sungkaew, S., Saleh, M.N.B., Adjie, B., Soe, M.K.K., Oguri, E., Murakami, N., Watano, Y., Baba, S. Webb, E.L., Kajita, T. 2012. Development and characterization of 15 polymorphic microsatellite loci in Sonneratia alba (Lythraceae) using next-generation sequencing. Conservation Genetics Resources 4: 811-814.

  29. Phelps, J., Adams, W.M., and Webb, E.L. 2012. Biodiversity Co-benefits in Forest Carbon Emissions Reduction Policy. Nature Climate Change2: 497-503.

  30. Phelps, J., Friess, D.A., and Webb, E.L. 2012. Win-win REDD+ approaches belie carbon-biodiversity trade-offs. Biological Conservation 154: 53-60.

  31. Friess, D.A., Kudavidanage, E., and Webb, E.L. 2011. The digital globe is our oyster. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 542, doi: 10.1890/11.WB.029.

  32. Balke, T., Bouma, T.J., Horstman, E.M., Webb, E.L., Erftemeijer, P.L.A., and Herman, P.M.J. 2011. Windows of opportunity: thresholds to mangrove seedling establishment on tidal flats. Marine Ecology Progress Series 440: 1-9, doi: 10.3354/meps09364

  33. Friess, D.A., Krauss, K.W., Balke, T., Horstman, E., Bouma, T.J., Galli, D., and Webb, E.L. 2011. Are all intertidal wetlands naturally created equal? Thresholds, bottlenecks and physical characteristics of mangrove and saltmarsh ecosystems. Biological Reviews, doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00198.x

  34. Webb, E.L., Steinmetz, R., Seuaturian, N., Chutipong, W., and van de Bult, M. 2011. Structure and diversity of seasonal mixed evergreen-deciduous tropical forest, western Thailand. Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 57: 19-34.

  35. Webb, E.L., Seamon, J.O., and Fa’aumu, S. 2011. Frequent, low-amplitude disturbances drive high tree turnover rates on a remote, cyclone-prone Polynesian island. Journal of Biogeography 38:1240-1252.

  36. Friess, D.A., and Webb, E.L. 2011. Bad data equals bad policy: how to trust estimates of ecosystem loss when there is so much uncertainty? Environmental Conservation 38: 1-5.

  37. Ziegler, A.D., Fox, J.M., Webb, E.L., Padoch, C., Leisz, S., Cramb, R.A., Mertz, O., Bruun, T.B., and Vien, T.D. 2011. Recognizing contemporary roles of swidden agriculture in transforming landscapes of Southeast Asia. Conservation Biology 25(4): 846-848.

  38. Webb, E.L., and Dhakal, A. 2011. Patterns and drivers of fuelwood collection in a middle hill watershed of Nepal. Biomass and Bioenergy 35: 121-132.

  39. Phelps, J., Webb, E.L. and Koh, L.P. 2010. Risky business: an uncertain future for biodiversity conservation finance through REDD+. Conservation Letters. 4(2): 88-94.

  40. Phelps, J., Webb, E.L. Bickford, D.P., Nijman, V. and Sodhi, N.S. 2010. Boosting CITES. Science 330: 1752-1753.

  41. Karna, B.K., Shivakoti, G.P. and Webb E.L. 2010. Resilience of community forestry under conditions of armed conflict in Nepal. Environmental Conservation 37: 201-209.

  42. Phelps, J., Guerrero, M.C., Dalabajan, D.A., Young, B. and Webb, E.L. What makes a REDD country? Global Environmental Change 20: 322-332.

  43. Phelps, J., Webb, E.L. and Agrawal, A. 2010. Does REDD plus threaten to recentralize forest governance? Science 328: 312-313.

  44. Sodhi, N.S., Lee, T.M., Sekercioglu, C.H., Webb, E.L., Prawiradilagam D.M., Lohman, D.J., Pierce, N.E., Diesmos, A.C. and Ehrlich, P.R. 2010. Local people value environmental services provided by forested parks. Biodiversity and Conservation 19: 1175-1188.