The Tyson Research Center Site (TRCS) is located at Washington University in St. Louis’ 800-ha environmental field station near Saint Louis, Missouri. Positioned in Oak-Hickory Forest at the edge of the Missouri Ozarks, the TRCS represents the central-most ForestGEO site in the United States and encompasses strong edaphic and topographic gradients characteristic of forests in the Ozark region. The first 4-ha section of the TRCS (200 x 200 m) was established in 1981 by a team of researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A key goal of this project was to establish a stem-mapped temperate-forest site that would be comparable to the first tropical ForestGEO site established during the same time on Barro Colorado Island, Panama.
The first census of the original 4-ha section was completed in 1982 and included ~6,500 total stems and 37 species of trees and shrubs greater than 2 cm in diameter at breast height (DBH). The 4-ha section was re-censused in 1989, following the second-most severe drought in Missouri in the last 50 years (1988 drought), and in 2011, prior to the most severe drought in Missouri’s recorded history (2012 drought). From 2011-2013, the plot was expanded to 20 ha (480 x 420 m) and an expansion to 25 ha (500 x 500 m) is planned for 2014. The 20-ha section includes ~39,000 total stems (31,800 main stems) and 42 species of trees and shrubs greater than 1 cm DBH. Additional projects include: (1) monitoring of forest-drought dynamics, environmental variation (e.g. soils, temperature), and seed rain and seedling demography; (2) surveys of coarse-woody debris, decomposition, and plant functional traits; (3) extensive science education, outreach and training through internship programs at the Tyson Research Center.