The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) today received an $8 million grant from HSBC to fund the world's largest field experiment on the long-term effects of global change on forest dynamics. A new Global Earth Observatory system will compare climate change and forest carbon data from 17 countries around the world.
Located in Panama, STRI is the only Smithsonian bureau based outside of the United States; its focus is tropical research including rainforest ecology and other biodiversity issues. The HSBC grant will enable STRI to expand dramatically the research capability of its Center for Tropical Forest Sciencethe largest and longest-running tropical forest research network in the world.
The funding will expand the Center into a new, coordinated Global Earth Observatory system, increasing the quality of scientific data across 20 large-scale research plots (up to 120 acres in size) in the forests of 17 countries. The Smithsonian has studied tropical forests in Panama for nearly 100 years. The new Global Earth Observatories will be based on the longest-running standardized forest monitoring program, covering all the major tropical rainforest areas of the world.
"With this generous grant from HSBC, Smithsonian scientists will put key scientific data in the hands of decision makers responsible for global carbon policy and the water management of the Panama Canal," said Ira Rubinoff, director of STRI.
HSBC Group Chairman, Stephen Green, announced the grantthe largest ever corporate donation to STRIduring his first visit to Panama today. "We know the success of our business in the long term depends on a stable environment. We believe that by supporting this research we will more fully understand the risks and business opportunities presented by climate change, and the Smithsonian Institution is the best-equipped and experienced organization of this kind to help us understand how our global environment is changing."