The African Tropical Rainforest Observation Network (AfriTRON) is an international network of researchers engaged in on-the-ground long-term monitoring of tropical forests.
The network pools expertise and data to help answer larger-scale and longer-term questions relating to the ecology and biogeochemistry of African tropical forests. In particular AfriTRON aims to address questions of contemporary importance such as the possible impacts of regional and global environmental changes on tropical forests, and the impacts of changes in the forests themselves on the regional and global environment. This is done through partnerships between scientists across the world, students and local villages who host our field-trips.
There is widespread evidence that the global environment has changed, for example, air temperatures have increased, as have atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Thus forests may be expected to be changing, with potentially important implications. Firstly, as tropical forests support between half and two-thirds of the world’s biodiversity, any changes could have serious implications for biodiversity conservation. Secondly, the trees in tropical forests process large quantities of carbon, via photosynthesis and respiration, and are major stores of carbon.
Any changes in forests’ processing or storage of carbon would have serious implications for the rate and magnitude of future climate change. The primary aim of AfriTRON is to provide robust conclusions on these important questions based on large on-the-ground datasets.
Find out more about the AfriTRON project here.