The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Agua Salud Field station lies at 9 12’ N, 79 49’ W, and is neighboring Soberania National Park in central Panama. The research site at STRI is designed to assess a suite of ecosystem services across a gradient of land-use typical of rural Panama. The site has a mixture of landscapes with varying land-use histories, including: primary forest, secondary forest, managed forest, native species plantation, Teak plantation, pasture, and agriculture land. The primary research focus of STRI at Agua Salud is to understand the long-term effects of land-use change on ecosystem service provision, and it has been designed as a model system to study ecosystem services in tropical forests.
I will be conducting a tropical biomass study at Agua Salud this summer. My remote sensing project focuses on quantifying land cover classifications of the Panama Canal Watershed. My hope is that after assessing biomass in ground plots this summer in Panama, I can use the techniques I learned developing this project to extrapolate my estimates out to the scale of the whole watershed.