The Temperate Program (TP) of CTFS-ForestGEO consists of an ever-expanding network of forest plots in five countries on three continents. These plots were established through public and private funding sources, the involvement of many institutions, numerous scientists, and the labor of technicians, students, interns, and volunteers. Although each plot has its own origin story, unique biological and physical features, and focal research programs, as a network these sites promote synthetic research in forest ecology across a wide range of biomes, biodiversity levels, climates, stand ages and land-use histories. Overarching research themes across this network include forest demography (the growth, survival , and recruitment of trees), canopy and vegetative structure and patterning, biogeochemistry, forest response to climate change, invasions biology, floristic phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity, plant-animal interactions, and the role of human and natural disturbances in forest development and dynamics. Most of the plots carry a strong legacy of research programs that directly add to their value and potential in the broader CTFS-ForestGEO network. This network is well positioned in the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON [http://www.neoninc.org]), with three NEON regional core sites and one satellite site. This report details the range of plot characteristics, ongoing research, broader impacts and outreach, and future directions of this network.
TP goals and direction. The primary goal of the TPN is to foster synthetic research of temperate and boreal forest systems. The standardized protocol of CTFS-ForestGEO forms the basis for these comparisons, but the research partners constitute the critical engine to this research. Goals of the TPN for pre-existing plots include the common communication of research interests across site scientists, the submission of proposals for funding research across sites and for recensus of current sites, and the publication of papers that involve data (both CTFS-ForestGEO data as well as other data gathered on-site in the past or through different programs) that involve multiple TPN sites.
Primary Scientific Aims:
1) The detailed study of forest growth, mortality, and recruitment in a changing climate.
2) Carbon movement through forest ecosystems and the interface between terrestrial systems and the atmosphere.
3) The use of forest research to inform earth systems models of climate and terrestrial biomes.
4) The dynamics of stand history and assembly in creating past, current, and future patterns of forest biodiversity, phenology, and biogeochemical cycling.
5) Fostering a network ‘laboratory’ through which these aims and others can be pursued through collaborative research funded through national and international funding programs.