Forest Ecology

Tropical forests contain an unknown number of species of animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Presently about 1 million species have been described and named by taxonomists, the scientists who identify, name and describe new species. Although some estimates go as high as more than 30 million species, there is a consensus that a more realistic estimate is that presently earth has about 5 to 10 million species. Individuals of these species form an astonishingly complex web of behavioral and ecological interactions, and STRI researchers are trying to unravel this web.

STRI pioneered the use of construction cranes to study the upper forest canopy, and formed a pantropical network of forest plots to investigate basic forest biology at different tropical sites. We are intensively studying the forest and its constituent parts to analyze the physiological, morphological, behavioral and life history mechanisms with which populations respond to environmental changes over short and long time-scales. Long-term, intensive data also are needed for understanding how tropical forests respond to, or are impacted by, major climatic perturbations such as El Niño, and they are also key in the development of rational reforestation programs.


More Forest Ecology Information


Staff scientists researching Forest Ecology