USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

 
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

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Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
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News Releases 2018

Institute to celebrate Palau’s acceptance into global monitoring network March 22
New tree species, Osmoxylon ngardokense, discovered within Pacific island's research plot

For Immediate Release: March 15, 2018

Contact: PSW Research Station Public Affairs, SM.FS.psw-comms@usda.gov

A young Osmoxylon ngardokense grows in the forest understory.
Osmoxylon ngardokense is a new tree species discovered as a result of the work in the Melekeok Conservation Network Forest Dynamics Monitoring, a partnership of the Ngardok Nature Reserve, Palau Forestry, and the USDA Forest Service – Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, located within Ngardok Nature Reserve, Palau. (U.S. Forest Service/Amanda Uowolo)

HILO, Hawaii — The Republic of Palau may only be roughly twice the size of Washington D.C., but it's become the latest member of a global network monitoring forest health and growth. The U.S. Forest Service's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry and partners will be celebrating the induction of the Pacific island into the Smithsonian Institution's Forest Global Earth Observatory Network (ForestGEO) during a ceremony Thursday, March 22, at the Melekeok State Office in Palau.

The 10-acre plot within the Ngarkok Nature Reserve will become the 64th monitoring site for the network which spans 25 countries and five continents. These monitoring sites provide detailed Information on the growth, survivorship and mortality of more than 6 million individual trees across the globe.

"The data pulled from these sites provide invaluable insights into the health, growth and threats facing our forests across a global scale," said Amanda Uowolo, a Forest Service ecologist who helped perform the inventory work necessary for the site to join the network. More than 13,000 trees within the Palau monitoring site were identified, tagged and measured and will be followed over time.

During the research team's inventory work, they also discovered a new tree species, Osmoxylon ngardokense. This member of the ginseng family has only been found within the Ngarkok Nature Reserve.

"The discovery of this new species highlights the value of partnerships, forest inventories and the basic research in forest dynamics," Uowolo said.

The initial round of data collected from the site will provide baseline information on forest dynamics that will allow for the detection of forest change from climate stressors, such as drought or severe weather events. The information also will serve as a necessary platform to understand how the ecological properties of Palauan forest compare with tropical and temperate forests around the world.

The Forest Service partnered with Ngardok Nature Reserve and Palau Department of Forestry to gather the data and gain the site's acceptance into ForestGEO. The Forest Service's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry has been involved in two other ForestGEO monitoring sites on Hawai'i Island, one in Laupāhoehoe and the other in Palamanui, collectively known as HIPPNET.


Headquartered in Albany, California, the Pacific Southwest Research Station is part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Research and Development branch developing and communicating science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to nature and society. Pacific Southwest Research Station scientists are engaged in research across a network of 14 experimental watersheds, ranges and forests and eight research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.–affiliated Pacific Islands. Research is organized into five research units: conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem function and health, fire and fuels, urban ecosystems and social dynamics, as well as Pacific Islands forestry. For more information, visit fs.fed.us/psw.

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Pacific Southwest Research Station/USDA Forest Service
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