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Individual Highlight

Managing Tropical Montane Cloud Forests

Photo of Tropical Montane Cloud forest from the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. van Vicens, Forest ServiceTropical Montane Cloud forest from the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. van Vicens, Forest ServiceSnapshot : Over the course of a decade, USFS researchers have collaborated with international researchers to complete research needed to better manage and conserve tropical montane cloud forests. These forests are frequently hotspots of biodiversity and sources of clean water.

Research Location : Puerto Rico
Research Station : International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 310


In the late 1980's it was realized that Tropical Montane Cloud Forests were both important sources of water and unique biodiversity hotspots. It was also recognized that they were being deforested faster than any tropical forest and that the scientific basis for managing them was lacking. At that time the International Institute of Tropical Forestry undertook a special effort to develop the scientific understanding needed to manage these unique forests. The recent publication of 72 papers in an IITF sponsored publication demonstrates that we now have a basic understanding needed to manage and conserve these forests. Among the outcomes of this research is that the United Nations and many international organizations have formally recognized the importance of these forests. Consequently, deforestation rates have declined and numerous tropical montane cloud forest reserves have been established and begun to be managed in a sustainable manner. The effort represents an excellent example of how the research process can effectively develop the information needed to sustainably manage forests.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • University of Pennsylvania