TRACE is an in-situ field warming experiment located in the eastern part of Puerto Rico, in the Luquillo Experimental Forest. Our main goal is to study the effects of climate change on tropical forests, particularly effects on carbon and nutrient cycling.
The warming experiment officially started on September 28, 2016 with a full year 4 degrees C warming above ambient temperatures, which was interrupted due to the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Warming was reestablished September 2018 after a year of reconstruction and adaptation.
We have now adapted the experiment to be one of its kind in the study of warmer temperatures effects on tropical forests in combination with hurricane disturbance.
One of the TRACE warming plots in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, PR. Nov 2018. Photo by Maxwell Farrington.
About the project
Tropical forests take in and store more carbon dioxide than any other biome around the world, but climate change may pose a threat to this invaluable service. Scientists from various governmental agencies and universities are working together to measure the potential impacts of climate change- particularly temperature increase on soil structure, carbon cycling, and plant physiology. The TRACE experiment consists of using infrared heat to warm the soil and plants of the understory, as well as individual leaves and branches in the forest canopy.
On this website, you can learn about our project and join us in our efforts to better understand how tropical rainforests will behave in a warmer future. This experiment will help improve conservation strategies for these irreplaceable ecosystems and all the biodiversity and natural resources they sustain.