|How is diversity generated and sustained in a tropical forest?
"In view of the genuine possibility of a global collapse of biodiversity in the near future, it is unconscionable that we still have no serviceable general theory of biodiversity," STRI staff scientist, Stephen Hubbell wrote in the preface to his book, The Unified Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, published in 2001.
In his quest to develop such a theory, Hubbell developed a methodology to understand the dynamics of large areas of forest over long periods of time. "Steve Hubbell’s brilliant idea was to map thousands of individuals of each tree species in a forest because ecology is ultimately about space," said Stuart Davies, director of the ForestGEO network, 51 forest dynamics study sites around the world inspired by Hubbell’s original site on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Conceived as a tool to study the dynamics of diversity, these forest-dynamics plots now comprise one of the best tools available to understand the impacts of large-scale global change on forests worldwide.
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