Introduction to the Special Issue on Tropical Forests: Management and Ecology in the Anthropocene
This Special Issue of Forests is based on papers presented at the 75th anniversary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry as well as other papers relevant to the topic of the Special Issue. The Institute is but one leg of a conservation relay among cultures and institutions that began in Puerto Rico a millennium ago. The Institute began operations in 1939 and celebrated its 75th anniversary on May, 2014. Over its 75 years of operation, the Institute has focused its research on tropical forests, with the scope of the research expanding over the years. An analysis of the lines of research of the Institute showed that over its history about 69 lines of research have been established and that of the original 17 lines of research between 1939 and 1949, all but one remained active in 2014. This history and continuity of the research program has allowed the Institute to observe ecological phenomena over decades, including the evolving forest structure and functioning on degraded land restoration experiments that began before the formal establishment of the Institute and are now over 80 years old.