The International Network of Forest Inventory Plots (BIOTREE-NET) in Mesoamerica: Advances, challenges and future perspectives

Authors: Cayuela, L., Golicher, D.J. et al.

Journal: Ecosistemas

Volume: 21

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 126-135

eISSN: 1697-2473


Conservation efforts in Neotropical regions are often hindered by lack of data, since for many species there is a vacuum of information, and many species have not even been described yet. The International Network of Forest Inventory Plots (BIOTREE-NET) gathers and facilitates access to tree data from forest inventory plots in Mesoamerica, while encouraging data exchange between researchers, managers and conservationists. The information is organised and standardised into a single database that includes spatially explicit data. This article describes the scope and objectives of the network, its progress, and the challenges and future perspectives. The database includes above 50 000 tree records of over 5000 species from more than 2000 plots distributed from southern Mexico through to Panama. Information is heterogeneous, both in nature and shape, as well as in the geographical coverage of inventory plots. The database has a relational structure, with 12 inter-connected tables that include information about plots, species names, dbh, and functional attributes of trees. A new system that corrects typographical errors and achieves taxonomic and nomenclatural standardization was developed using The Plant List ( as reference. Species distribution models have been computed for around 1700 species using different methods, and they will be publicly accessible through the web site in the future ( Although BIOTREE-NET has contributed to the development of improved species distribution models, its main potential lies, in our opinion, in studies at the community level. Finally, we emphasise the need to expand the network and encourage researchers willing to share data and to join the network and contribute to the generation of further knowledge about forest biodiversity in Neotropical regions.

Source: Scopus