Center for Tropical Forest Science

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The Center for Tropical Forest Science, or CTFS, is a consortium of forest researchers who pursue long-term research on tree populations using comparable census method. The work developed out of a study of 50 hectares of forest on Barro Colorado Island in Panama begun in 1981. All individual trees larger than 1 centimeter in stem diameter were measured, mapped, and identified, which included 300 different species. This census has been repeated every five years since, most recently in 2010.

A total of 30 research institutions have now carried out parallel censuses of large forest plots. There are four such large-scale census projects in Africa, nine in Latin America, and 25 in Asia. Moreover, the census program has been expanded to include temperate and subtropical forests in China. Approximately 4.5 million individual trees of 8500 species are being monitored.[1] Numerous scientific research reports on tree species diversity, distribution, life span, and growth rates have been published based on these plots.

CTFS is directed out of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, Panama. Researchers and institutions in 14 other countries participate in the network.

The forest plots include the following:[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Plots Summary". Center for Tropical Forest Science. Retrieved 19 June 2012.

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