Research Agenda

Tropi-Dry is a collaborative research network sponsored by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) under their Collaborative Research Network programs (CRN-2, CRA and CRN-3).

Tropi-Dry’s goal is to bring together researchers in conservation biology, ecology, remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and environmental conservation policy analysis interested on tropical dry forests. We work towards developing a comprehensive “state-of-the-art” understanding of the status of primary and secondary tropical dry forests in Latin America.

We focus our research on developing a common multi-disciplinary approach with the goal of supporting local, national, and international policy-making organizations.

We conduct our research in the nexus between Natural and Social Sciences. Specifically:

From the natural sciences perspective, Tropi-Dry has developed a comprehensive and standardized protocol for studying and comparing tropical dry forest successional stages using both ecological and remote sensing approaches.  These approaches are increasingly important to characterize the secondary successional stages, which are likely to be the most frequent stage of this ecosystem’s development in the future decades. This protocol has already been widely implemented in Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Within this natural science sphere, we are also interested in the response of tropical dry forests to extreme events such as droughts and hurricanes. Our research agenda, therefore, involves the use of advanced sensing technologies (e.g. eddy covariance instrumentation and wireless sensor networks) as well as analytics to integrate ground, near ground, airborne, and satellite observations. Our Environmental Monitoring Super Site, at Santa Rosa National Park (Guanacaste, Costa Rica), is an example of this component of our research agenda.

From the social sciences perspective, Tropi-Dry’s work seeks to understand the effectiveness of conservation policies in Latin America using advanced econometric approaches. We do this in collaboration with governments, scientists, and communities in our study areas.