U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



BioScience, September 2015 / Vol. 65 No. 9, pp. 839


U.S. Government Work


Although artificial by nature, experiments are a necessary part of ecology if we are to understand key mechanisms driving ecosystem structure and function. Experiments range in scale from microscopic to landscape; large-scale experiments are typically more logistically challenging than are small-scale experiments or observational studies. Recently, researchers have been interested in utilizing large-scale experiments to determine how forests respond to environmental change. Large-scale experiments have been more common in temperate than in tropical forests, yet tropical forests contain over half of the world’s species in just 7 percent of the world’s land area. Key threats to tropical biodiversity, such as habitat loss, overharvest, and climate change, are topics included in the Special Section in this issue, entitled Tropical Forest Responses to Large-Scale Experiments.

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