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Arnold Arboretum

Center for Tropical Forest Science

Aerial view of forest.  Photo by Christian Ziegler.

A Global Program for Long Term, Large-Scale Forest Research

From 2004 to 2012, the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) was headquartered at the Arnold Arboretum. CTFS is global network of forest research plots committed to studying the ecosystem functions and diversity of tropical and temperate forests. The multi-institutional network comprises tropical research plots across Latin America, Africa, and Asia; and temperate plots in North America and China. CTFS monitors the growth and survival of some 4.5 million trees of over 8,500 species.

CTFS coordinates plots in Southeast and South Asia through partnerships with host-country institutions. Peter Ashton (Bullard Professor Emeritus and director of the Arboretum from 1979-1987) was instrumental in developing the Arboretum’s fruitful and active involvement with CTFS plots in Asia. The sites were chosen to represent the major biogeographic areas of the region. They span a gradient of climates, soil types, and natural disturbance regimes and are located in Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan, China, and Papua New Guinea. Plots outside of the Asia region are administered by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and are collectively referred to as CTFS, or as the Smithsonian Institute’s Global Earth Observatories, SIGEO.

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