El Verde Field Station
Puerto Rico is the only location within the United States, other than Hawaii, where tropical rain forest ecosystems are available for scientific inquiry. A rich research tradition on the island extends back to the turn of the early 1900s. Most of this research has been concentrated in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, a Biosphere Reserve that coincides with the boundaries of El Yunque National Forest in the Luquillo Mountains. Within the LEF, El Verde Field Station, situated at 350 m elevation on the northwestern slope of the mountains, has been an important research location for tropical ecology since 1962.
In 1988 the National Science Foundation established the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research (Luquillo-LTER), and El Verde became the principal site for research in the program. Currently, the Environmental Sciences Department, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus (UPR-RP), administers the station and surrounding research area under an agreement with USDA Forest Service. The station is used by numerous faculty, post-docs, and graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Puerto Rico, USDA Forest Service, and other academic institutions in Puerto Rico, mainland United States, and other countries.
The main goal of El Verde Field Station is to support research, training, and education in tropical ecosystems. The station’s unique location facilitates access to different forest types in Puerto Rico. The composition of the vegetation in Puerto Rico represents many neotropical communities. Puerto Rico has six of Holdridge's life zones, five of these occur in the Luquillo Mountains and easily accessed from El Verde.
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