Global Network Transforming Tropical Forest Research

A vast global network of researchers are working together to take the pulse of our global tropical forests.

ForestPlots.net, coordinated by the University of Leeds, brings together more than 2,500 scientists who have examined millions of trees to explore the effect of climate change on forests and biodiversity.

A new research paper Posted in Biological conservation explains the origins of the network and how the power of collaboration is transforming forestry research in Africa, South America and Asia.

The article includes 551 researchers and describes 25 years of discoveries in carbon, biodiversity and the dynamics of tropical forests.

Professor Oliver Phillips, Leeds School of Geography, said: “Our new article shows how we are connecting students, botanists, foresters and policy makers with ForestPlots.net technology developed in Leeds.

This leads to a new model of collective research. This is helping to transform scientific understanding of how tropical forests work and how they help slow climate change.

In this new synthesis, we describe how this collaboration was built and trace the exciting potential of collaborative science reaching the world’s tropical forests to welcome colleagues from all countries and backgrounds. “

ForestPlots.net provides a unique place to measure, monitor, and understand the world’s forests, especially tropical forests.

Created in 2009, it has grown rapidly to monitor 5,138 plots in 59 countries, with a network of 2,512 people.

The collaboration, funded by the UK National Environment Research Council and the Royal Society, aims to promote cooperation between countries and continents and enable partners to access, analyze and manage information from their plots over the long term. .

Phillips said, “Our core approach connects long-term local researchers to generate solid results at scale. This global and diverse community measures thousands of forests tree by tree in long-lived plots.

By connecting tropical researchers with each other and valuing the key role of the data creator in scientific discovery, our social research network research model seeks to support the key workers who make 21st century big data science possible. “

ForestPlots.net hosts data from many individual researchers and networks, including AfriTRON, ECOFOR, PPBio, RAINFOR, TROBIT, and T-FORCES.

By working together in an equitable manner, the network has shown that long-term monitoring of forests on the ground is irreplaceable, making scientific discoveries around the world.

Through large-scale analysis, ForestPlots.net researchers are discovering where and why forest carbon and biodiversity are responding to climate change, and how they are helping to control it with an annual carbon sink of one billion tonnes (approx. 1.10 billion US tons).

The new research paper, “Taking the Pulse of Earth’s Rainforests Using Networks of Highly Distributed Plots,” offers a vision for more integrated and equitable monitoring of Earth’s most valuable ecosystems.

The collaborative paper is particularly timely as it also highlights the impact Leeds and its research partners had on understanding carbon dynamics in tropical forests ahead of the COP26 World Climate Conference, to be held in Glasgow. in November.

– This press release was originally published on the Leeds University website

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