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Investigating Forest Dynamics

Using data from the ForestGEO global network of large-scale forest plots, researchers are answering scientific questions about tropical forests that were impossible to address just a few years ago. These include questions such as: 

  • Why do tropical forests have high species diversity? How can that high diversity be maintained under conditions of human use?
  • What role do tropical forests play in stabilizing our climate and atmosphere? How can we take advantage of and enhance their ability to store carbon?
  • What determines tropical-forest productivity? How can we use forest resources sustainably?

The unique long-term, large-scale nature of ForestGEO data sets enables scientists to answer these questions and explain the mechanisms and processes of tropical forests, knowledge of which is key to their sustainable management and conservation. In addition, data from both temperate and tropical plots allow scientists to make the tropical-temperate comparisons necessary for comprehensively evaluating climate change and advancing ecologically viable responses to it.