FASS Staff Profile


+65 6516 1419
+65 6777 3091

Brief Introduction

My research uses the framework of ecosystem services to investigate changes to coastal ecosystems, and how best to protect them. I investigate these questions integrating a range of field-based and remote sensing techniques. Much of this research is conducted with Government agencies, NGOs and academic collaborators in SE Asia. For more information visit my lab website at www.themangrovelab.com.


I am also a Lead PI for the NRF-funded project Assessing Singapore's Natural Capital. In this project, a team of ~30 researchers from academic and government institutions are working together to conduct the first assessment of Singapore's terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems and their services. This project is providing a State of the Environment report and a number of decision-making and policy tools to aid environmental concerns in urban planning. For more information visit www.naturalcapital.sg.



I'm interested in how to quantify ecosystem services (carbon, coastal defence, cultural value, recreation) over sites and landscapes. We use several techniques to answer this question, including field work, soil analysis, remote sensing, interviews, archival sources and social media.



We work in a network of Rod Surface Elevation Tables (RSETs) across Southeast Asia to monitor surface change, in collaboration with the US Geological Survey, CIFOR, Ateneo de Manila University and others. We are looking to train more researchers and expand this network further - contact us for more info.



We conduct remote sensing studies of land use change at multiple scales, from individual sites to the regional scale. Most recently, we have been working on quantifying the regional drivers of mangrove loss, including the emergence of oil palm.



We research various mangrove conservation approaches. Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a potential promising instrument to conserve threatened coastal habitats, though there are a number of issues associated with it. PES needs reliable base line data in order to show conservation success, though huge variability exists in deforestation statistics for most countries. There are potential tradeoffs between conservation sites that are good for carbon, vs sites that are good for biodiversity. Natural and anthropogenic external stressors also threaten to reduce ecosystem service provision and the effectiveness of PES. Recently funded studies are now looking to take these data and model future ecosystem service provision, examining tradeoffs under different land use and sea level rise scenarios.

We also research how to increase mangrove ecosystem services through restoration. We collaborate with various NGOs in Indonesia and Singapore to help with restoration pre-planning and modelling to improve the survival of restored mangroves. Most recently, we are leading a restoration project on Pulau Ubin, Singapore, with the community-led Restore Ubin Mangroves Initiative.



We conduct research all over Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. We also work in Madagascar and New Caledonia.



PhD Geography, University of Cambridge, UK

BSc (Hons), Environmental Biology, Imperial College London, UK

Teaching Areas

I teach the following undergraduate modules every year:

  • SSA2215 Biophysical Environment of Singapore (module coordinator)
  • GE4207 Coastal Management (module coordinator)


In previous years I have also taught these modules:

  • GE2215 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing (module coordinator)
  • GE5211 Dynamics Environments (co-lecturer, graduate module)
  • GE5217 Research Methods in Environmental Sciences (module coordinator, graduate module)
  • GE6770 Graduate Research Seminar (co-lecturer)

Graduate Supervision

For more information on these projects please visit www.themangrovelab.com

Ben Thompson - Payments for Ecosystem Services in mangroves [PhD]

Sasha Soto - Coastal ecosystem services in Singapore [PhD]

Radhika Bhargava - protected area management in the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh [PhD]

Meriadec Sillanpaa - sustainable mangrove forest management in Bintuni, West Papua, Indonesia [PhD]

Jared Moore - Community-based mangrove management in Indonesia [Masters]



Dr. Pierre Taillardat - Carbon and nutrient fluxes in Can Gio mangroves, Vietnam [PhD]

Santhosh Kumar Ramanathan - cultural ecosystem service values of Singapore's coastline [Masters]

Pricilla Seah - mangroves, resilience and disaster risk reduction [Masters]

Lee Wei Kit - Coastal defence value of mangroves in Singapore [Masters]

Rachel Oh - Ecological mangrove rehabilitation in Sulawesi, Indonesia [Masters]

Valerie Phang - Carbon stocks of coastal ecosystems on Pulau Ubin, Singapore [Masters]



  • Curnick, Pettorelli, Amir, Balke, Barbier, Crooks, Dahdouh-Guebas, Duncan, Endsor, Friess, Quarto, Zimmer, Lee. 2019. The value of small mangrove patches. Science 363, 239.


  • Thompson & Friess. 2019. Stakeholder preferences for payments for ecosystem services (PES) versus other environmental management approaches for mangrove forests. Journal of Environmental Management 233, 636-646.


  • Cameron, Hutley, Friess & Brown. 2019. Community structure dynamics and carbon stock change of rehabilitated mangrove forests in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Ecological Applications 29, e01810.


  • Cameron, Hutley, Friess & Munksgaard. 2019. Hydroperiod, soil moisture and bioturbation are critical drivers of greenhouse gas fluxes and vary as a function of landuse change in mangroves of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Science of the Total Environment 654, 365-377.


  • Friess. 2019. Where the tallest mangroves are. Nature Geoscience 12, 4-5.


  • Taillardat, Friess & Lupascu. 2018. Mangrove blue carbon strategies for climate change mitigation are most effective at the national scale. Biology Letters 14, 20180251.


  • Taillardat, Willemsen, Marchand, Friess, Widory, Baudron, Truong, Nguyen & Ziegler. 2018Assessing the contribution of porewater discharge in carbon export and CO2 evasion in a mangrove tidal creek (Can Gio, Vietnam). Journal of Hydrology 563, 303-318.


  • Taillardat, Ziegler, Friess, David, Widory, Truong, Nguyen & Marchand. 2018Carbon dynamics and inconstant porewater input in a mangrove tidal creek over contrasting seasons and tidal amplitudes. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 237, 32-48.


  • Heery, Browne, Hoeksema, Reimer, Ang, Friess, Huang, Chou, Bauman, Loke, Saksena-Taylor, Alsagoff, Yeemin, Sutthacheep, Vo, Bos, Gumanao, Hussein, Waheed, Lane, Johan, Kunsmann, Jompa, Taira & Todd. 2018. Urban coral reefs of East and Southeast Asia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 135, 654-681.


  • Scales, Friess, Glass, Ravaoarinorotsihoarana. 2018. Rural livelihoods and mangrove degradation in southwestern Madagascar: lime production as an emerging threat. Oryx 52, 641-645.


  • Gaw, Linkie & Friess. 2018. Mangrove forest dynamics in Tanintharyi, Myanmar from 1989-2014, and the implications of future economic and political developments. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 39, 224-243.


  • Islam, Sunny, Hossain & Friess. 2018. Drivers of mangrove ecosystem service change in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 39, 244-265.


  • Hamilton & Friess. 2018. Global carbon stocks and potential emissions due to mangrove deforestation from 2000 to 2012. Nature Climate Change 8, 240-244.


  • Thompson, Gillen & Friess. 2018. Challenging the principles of ecotourism: insights from entrepreneurs on environmental and economic sustainability in Langkawi, Malaysia. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 26, 257-276.


  • Leong, Friess, Crase, Lee & Webb. 2018. High-resolution pattern of mangrove species distribution is controlled by surface elevation. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 202, 185-192.


  • Feller, Friess, Krauss & Lewis. 2017. State of the world’s mangrove forests in the 21st century under climate change. Hydrobiologia 803, 1-12.


  • Friess. 2017. Mangrove rehabilitation along urban coastlines: a Singapore case study. Regional Studies in Marine Science 16, 279-289.


  • Richards & Friess. 2017. Characterizing coastal ecosystem service tradeoffs with future urban development in a tropical city. Environmental Management 60, 961-973.


  • Benzeev, Hutchinson & Friess. 2018. Quantifying fisheries ecosystem services of mangroves and tropical artificial urban shorelines. Hydrobiologia 803, 225-237.


  • Friess. 2017J.G. Watson, Inundation Classes, and their influence on paradigms in mangrove forest ecology. Wetlands 37, 603-613.


  • Friess. 2017. Singapore as a long-term case study for tropical urban ecosystem services. Urban Ecosystems 20, 277-291.


  • Sillanpaa, Vantellingen, Friess. 2017Vegetation regeneration in a sustainably harvested mangrove forest in West Papua, Indonesia. Forest Ecology and Management 290, 137-146.


  • Singh, Friess, Vilela, Alban, Monzon, Veridiano & Tumaneng. 2017. Spatial relationships between above-ground biomass and bird biodiversity in Palawan, Philippines. PLoS ONE 12, e0186742.


  • Friess, Jazeel. 2017. Unlearning landscape. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107, 14-21.


  • Sharma, Nadoaka, Nakoaka, Uy, MacKenzie, Friess & Fortes. 2018Growth performance and structure of a mangrove afforestation project on a former seagrass bed, Mindanao Island, Philippines. Hydrobiologia 803, 359-371.


  • Oh, Friess, Brown. 2017. The role of surface elevation in the rehabilitation of abandoned aquaculture ponds to mangrove forest, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Ecological Engineering 100, 325-334.


  • Thompson, Primavera, Friess. 2017. Governance and implementation challenges for mangrove forest Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES): empirical evidence from The Philippines. Ecosystem Services 23, 146-155.


  • Friess, Oliver, Quak, Lau. 2016. Incorporating "virtual" and "Real world" field trips into introductory geography modules. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 40, 546-564.


  • Friess. 2016Ecosystem services and disservices of mangrove forests: insights from historical colonial observations. Forests 7, 183.


  • Friess, Thompson, Brown, Amir, Cameron, Koldewey, Sasmito, Sidik. 2016. Policy challenges and opportunities for the conservation of mangrove forests: a Southeast Asian perspective. Conservation Biology 30, 933-949.


  • Friess. 2016. Mangrove forests. Current Biology 26, R476-R478.


  • Friess, Lee, Primavera. 2016Turning the tide on mangrove loss. Marine Pollution Bulletin 109, 673-675.


  • Friess*, Richards*, Phang. 2016. Mangrove forests store high densities of carbon across the tropical urban landscape of Singapore. Urban Ecosystems 19, 795-810.


  • Terry, Oliver, Friess. 2016. Ancient high-energy storm boulder deposits on Ko Samui, Thailand, and their significance for identifying coastal hazard risk. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 454, 282-293.


  • Willemsen, Horstman, Borsje, Friess, Dohmen-Janssen. 2016Sensitivity of the sediment trapping capacity of an estuarine mangrove forest. Geomorphology 273, 189-201.


  • Balke, Friess. 2016. Geomorphic knowledge for mangrove restoration: a pan-tropical categorization. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 41, 231-239.


  • Sasmito, Murdiyarso, Friess, Kurnianto. 2016Can mangroves keep pace with contemporary sea level rise? : a global data review. Wetlands Ecology and Management 24, 263-278.


  • Ward, Friess, Day, Mackenzie. 2016Impacts of climate change on mangrove ecosystems: a region by region overview. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability 2, e01211.


  • Singh, Evans, Coomes, Friess, Tan, Nin. 2016Incorporating canopy cover for airborne-derived assessments of forest biomass in the tropical forests of Cambodia. PLoS ONE 11, e0154307.


  • Richards, Friess. 2016. Rates and drivers of mangrove deforestation in Southeast Asia, 2000-2012. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113, 344-349.


  • Lovelock, Cahoon, Friess, Guntenspergen, Krauss, Reef, Rogers, Saunders, Sidik, Swales, Saintilan, Thuyen, Triet. 2015. The vulnerability of Indo-Pacific mangrove forests to sea-level rise. Nature 526, 559-563.


  • Phang, Chou, Friess. 2015. Ecosystem carbon stocks across a tropical intertidal habitat mosaic of mangrove forest, seagrass meadow, mudflat and sandbar. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 40, 1387-1400.


  • Gillen, Ziegler, Friess, Wasson. 2015. Geography's role in nurturing postgraduate students. The Geographical Journal 181, 427-431.


  • Thiagarajah*, Wong*, Richards, Friess. 2015. Changing cultural ecosystem service values in the rapidly urbanizing tropical City State of Singapore. Ambio 44, 666-677. [*equal contribution]


  • Friess, Phelps, Garmendia, Gómez-Baggethun. 2015. Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in the face of external biophysical stressors. Global Environmental Change 30, 31-42.


  • Richards, Friess. 2015. Rapid assessment of cultural ecosystem services at fine spatial scales: a novel method using social media photographs. Ecological Indicators 53, 187-195.


  • Singh, Evans, Friess, Tan, Nin. 2015. mapping above-ground biomass in a tropical forest in Cambodia using canopy textures derived from Google Earth. Remote Sensing 7, 5057-5076.


  • Ziegler, Terry, Oliver, Friess, Chuah, Chow, Wasson. 2014. Increasing Singapore's resilience to drought. Hydrological Processes 28, 4543-4548.


  • Friess, Webb. 2014. Variability in mangrove ecosystem loss rates, and implications for assessments of global ecosystem service provision. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23, 715-725.


  • Friess, Möller, Spencer, Smith, Thomson, Hill. 2014. Coastal saltmarsh managed realignment drives rapid breach inlet and external creek evolution, Freiston Shore (UK). Geomorphology 208, 22-33.


  • Webb, Jachowski, Phelps, Friess, Than, Ziegler. 2014. Deforestation in the Ayerwaddy Delta and the environmental implications of an internationally-engaged Myanmar. Global Environmental Change 45, 311-321.


  • Jachowski, Quak, Friess, Duagnamon, Webb, Ziegler. 2013. Remote sensing of mangrove biomass in Southwest Thailand using machine learning. Applied Geography 45, 311-321.


  • Friess. 2013. Tropical wetlands and REDD+: three unique scientific questions for policy. International Journal of Rural Law and Policy 2013, 68-73.


  • Webb, Friess, Krauss, Cahoon, Guntenspergen, Phelps. 2013. A global standard for monitoring coastal wetland vulnerability to accelerated sea level rise. Nature Climate Change 3, 458-465.


  • Friess, Phelps, Leong, Lee, Wee, Sivasothi, Oh, Webb. 2012. Mandai mangrove, Singapore: lessons for the conservation of Southeast Asia's mangroves. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology S25, 47-57.


  • Webb, Phelps, Friess, Rao, Ziegler. 2012. Environmentally-friendly reform in Myanmar. Science 336, 295. [letter]


  • Friess, Krauss, Horstman, Balke, Bouma, Galli, Webb. 2012. Are all intertidal wetlands naturally created equal? Bottlenecks, thresholds and knowledge gaps to mangrove and saltmarsh ecosystems. Biological Reviews 87, 346-366.


  • Friess, Spencer, Smith, Möller, Brooks, Thomson. 2012. Remote sensing of geomorphological and ecological change in response to saltmarsh managed realignment, The Wash, UK. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 18, 57-68.


  • Phelps, Friess, Webb. 2012. Win-win REDD+ approaches belie carbon-biodiversity trade-offs. Biological Conservation 154, 53-60.


  • Spencer, Friess, Möller, Brown, Garbutt, French. 2012. Surface elevation change in natural and re-created habitats, eastern England, UK, with particular reference to Freiston Shore. Wetlands Ecology and Management 20, 9-33.


  • Friess, Kudavidanage, Webb. 2011. The digital globe is our oyster. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13, 542. [letter]


  • Friess. Webb. 2011. Bad data equals bad policy: how to trust rates of ecosystem loss when there is so much uncertainty? Environmental Conservation 38, 1-5.



  • Friess & Thompson. 2016. Mangrove Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES): a viable funding mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction? In: Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation: Linking Science, Policy and Practice. Springer.


  • Friess. 2015. Managing Southeast Asian ecosystems to reduce coastal population vulnerability under sea level rise. In: Koh et al. (eds). Climate Change Adaptation: ASEAN and Comparative Experiences. World Scientific.



  • Friess & Oliver. 2014. Dynamic Environments of Singapore. McGraw Hill, 193p.


  • Chan, Friess, Terry & Mitchell. 2014. Climate impacts: vulnerability and adaptation in coastal East Asia. In: Harris & Lang (eds). Handbook of Environment and Society in East Asia. Routledge.


  • Friess. 2014. Biophysical thresholds to mangrove establishment. In: Lewis & Brown (eds). Ecological Mangrove Restoration: a Field Manual for Practitioners. Oxfam, Canadian International Development Agency.


  • van Bochove et al. 2014. The Importance of Mangroves to People: a call to action. United Nations Environment Programme [contributor to Chapter 5].


  • Friess & Lacambra. 2013. El uso de LiDAR para la elaboración de mapas y modelos de amenazas naturales en zonas costeras [the use of LiDAR to map and model natural hazards in the coastal zone]. In: Alcantara (ed).Métodos en Teledetección Aplicada a la Prevención de Riesgos Naturales en el Litoral. [in Spanish, email me for an English version]


  • Lacambra, Friess, Spencer, Moller. 2013. Bioshields: mangrove ecosystems as resilient natural coastal defences. In: Renaud F., Sudmeier-Rieux, K., Estrella, M. (eds) The Role of Ecosystems in Disaster Risk Reduction: from Science to Practice. UNU Press.


  • Friess & Lee2013. The Sundarban mangroves. In: Biomes and Ecosystems: an Encyclopedia. Golsen Press,


  • Krauss & Friess. 2011. Review of the World Atlas of Mangroves. Wetlands 31, 1003-1005 [book review]


  • Friess, Spencer & Möller. 2008. Managed realignment and the re-establishment of saltmarsh habitat, Freiston Shore, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. In: The role of Environmental Management and Eco-engineering in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.ProAct Network/United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. 124pp.

Editorial Boards

Associate Editor - Journal of Ecology

Associate Editor - Estuaries & Coasts

Associate Editor - Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

Associate Editor - Frontiers in Forests and Global Change

Editorial Board - Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography

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