Why does biodiversity grade from exuberance at the equator through moderation at mid-latitudes toward monotony at higher ones? Data from an international network of long-term forest dynamics research sites is finally providing an answer.
A 60-acre plot in Washington University in St. Louis’ Tyson Research Center has been named a Forest Global Earth Observatory, or ForestGEO. The oak-hickory forest in the rolling foothills of the Ozarks joins a network of 51 long-term forest study sites in 23 countries, including eight others in the United States. Together, the forests, containing roughly 8,500 species and 4.5 million individual trees, comprise the largest, systematically studied network of forest-ecology plots in the world.