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Review: CTFS-ForestGEO: a worldwide network monitoring forests in an era of global change

CTFS-ForestGEO Scientists, along with 78 global collaborating institutions and global partners published "CTFS-ForestGEO: a worldwide network monitoring forests in an era of global change" in Journal Global Change Biology. The publication highlights the impacts of global climate change on the worlds forests, and the monitoring methods used to collect climate change data. The CTFS-ForestGEO network now monitors 60 plots in 24 countries, monitoring approx. 4.5 million trees. “We look forward to using the CTFS-ForestGEO network to continue to understand how and why forests respond to change, and what this means for the climate, biodiversity conservation and human well-being,” said Stuart Davies, CTFS-ForestGEO network director. 

Below is the abstract of the review: 

Global change is impacting forests worldwide, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem services including climate regulation. 

Understanding how forests respond is critical to forest conservation and climate protection. This review describes an international network of 59 long-term forest dynamics research sites (CTFS-ForestGEO) useful for characterizing forest responses to global change. 

Within very large plots (median size 25 ha), all stems >1 cm diameter are identified to species, mapped, and regularly recensused according to standardized protocols. 

CTFS-ForestGEO spans 25°S–61°N latitude, is generally representative of the range of bioclimatic, edaphic, and topographic conditions experienced by forests worldwide, and is the only forest monitoring network that applies a standardized protocol to each of the world’s major forest biomes.

Supplementary standardized measurements at subsets of the sites provide additional information on plants, animals, and ecosystem and environmental variables.

CTFS-ForestGEO sites are experiencing multifaceted anthropogenic global change pressures including warming (average 0.61 °C), changes in precipitation (up to !30% change), atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur compounds (up to 3.8 g N m"2 yr"1 and 3.1 g S m"2 yr"1), and forest fragmentation in the surrounding landscape (up to 88% reduced tree cover within 5 km). 

The broad suite of measurements made at CTFS-ForestGEO sites makes it possible to investigate the complex ways in which global change is impacting forest dynamics. 

Ongoing research across the CTFSForestGEO network is yielding insights into how and why the forests are changing, and continued monitoring will provide vital contributions to understanding worldwide forest diversity and dynamics in an era of global change.

View the full review.

Email CTFS-ForestGEO program assistant, Delaney Rakosnik at if you would like the supplemental information.