Matthew Scott LUSKIN

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Matthew Scott LUSKIN

Research Fellow
Tropical ecologist; Wildlife Ecologist; Plant-animal interactions
Office Location: 

2016- present: Postdoctoral Researcher: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, CTFS-ForestGEO.
Advisors: Dr. Stuart Davies and Dr. David Wardle

2009-2016: PHD: Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
Thesis: Tropical rainforest food webs in the Anthropocene.
Advisors: Matthew Potts, Justin Brashares, Claire Kremen, Paul Fine

2004-2008: BA: Geography and Economics, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Advisors: Tom Gillespie, Hartmut Walter

Research Interests: 

I study how tropical forest food webs are influenced by hunting and nearby agriculture. This first requires documenting exactly how wildlife communities have changed, such as through apex predator losses (trophic cascades) or through food subsidies to herbivores. The second step is linking changes in wildlife to changes in tree communities, which I do through my collaborations with the ForestGEO-CTFS network of permanent tree plots. My geographical focus is on Southeast Asia's lowland rainforests. More information about my work with ForestGEO-CTFS network is available at

Selected Publications: 
  • Jia, S., Wang, X., Yuan, Z., Lin, F., Ye, J., Hao, Z. & Luskin, M.S. (2018). Global signal of top-down control of terrestrial plant communities by herbivores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201707984.
  • Luskin, M.S., Albert, W.R., & Tobler, M.V. (2017). Sumatran tiger survival threatened by deforestation despite increasing densities in parks. Nature Communications 8: 1783,  DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01656-4/.
  • Luskin, M.S., Brashares, J.S., Ickes, K., Fletcher, C.D., Wright, S.J., Potts, M.D. (2017). Cross-boundary subsidy cascades from oil palm degrade distant tropical forests. Nature Communications 8: 2231, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01920-7/.
  • Luskin, M.S., Lee, J.S.H., Edwards, D., Gibson, L. & Potts, M.D. (2018). A quantitative review of land sparing agricultural production strategies to conserve tropical forest biodiversity. Global Food Security  16, 29-35.
  • Luskin, MS., Ke, A., (2017). The bearded pig. In Melletti, M., & Meijaard, E. (Eds). Ecology, Evolution and Management of Wild Pigs and Peccaries. Implications for Conservation. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ke, A., & Luskin, M. S. (2017). Integrating disparate occurrence reports to map data-poor species ranges and occupancy: a case study of the Vulnerable bearded pig Sus barbatus. Oryx 55:  1-11.
  • Harrison, R.D., Sreekar, R., Brodie, J.F., Brook, S.,  Luskin, M.S., O’Kelley, H., Rao, M., Scheffers, B., & Velho, N. (2016). Impacts of hunting and wildlife trade on Asian tropical forests. Conservation Biology 30(5):972-983.
  • Luskin, M.S., Christina, E.D., Kelley, L.C. & Potts, M.D. (2014). Modern hunting practices and wild meat trade in plantation landscapes of Sumatra, Indonesia. Human Ecology 42(1): 35:45.
  • Luskin, M. S., & Potts, M.D. (2011). Microclimate and habitat heterogeneity through the oil lifecycle. Basic and Applied Ecology, 12, 540–551.
  • Luskin, M.S. (2010). Flying foxes prefer to forage in farmland in a tropical dry forest landscape mosaic in Fiji. Biotropica, 42(2): 246–250.
Curriculum Vitae: