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Elsa Ordway and Virginia Zaunbrecher — NASA-funded study brings together researchers from across the world to unravel mysteries of tropical forests 

UCLA Center for Tropical Research and Congo Basin Institute Co-Director Elsa Ordway and Congo Basin Institute Managing Director Virginia Zaunbrecher discuss a NASA-funded project aimed at supporting the research and health of tropical forests for Down to Earth.

Ordway highlighted the significance of tropical forest systems despite covering only 6% of the world’s land surface. “We know that tropical forest systems are some of the most diverse places on the planet — that’s ecologically and biologically,” Ordway said.

Virginia emphasized the importance of studying the Congo Basin Rainforest comprehensively, including community representatives and scientists from the region. “We are committed at this meeting to bring together a broad group of stakeholders, including many community representatives and scientists from the region, to come up with a comprehensive and inclusive approach to studying the Congo basin forests,” Zaunbrecher said.

The long-term commitment of NASA to funding such studies aligns with the need for prolonged research to understand the functioning of tropical ecosystems and make informed policy decisions.