TmFO Network (The Tropical managed Forests Observatory)


Coordination: Cirad, UPR Forêts et Sociétés, Campus International de Baillarguet, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5 France. Sites in the Amazon (Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname), Africa (Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Central African Republic) and South-East Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia).

Sist et al.  2014. The Tropical managed Forests Observatory: a research network addressing the future of tropical logged forests. Applied Vegetation Science, 18, 171-174. doi: 10.1111/avsc.12125

The Tropical managed Forest Observatory (TmFO) network focuses on the resilience of managed tropical forests. TmFO includes 18 institutions linked by a collaborative agreement signed in November 2017.

The observatory brings together 24 experimental sites set up either by the CIRAD or by its partners in 10 countries in the humid tropics of the Amazon (Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru), Africa (Ivory Coast, Gabon, Central African Republic) and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia).

The data from these sites make it possible to regularly monitor the dynamics of forest stands after logging. Some sites, e.g. Paracou in French Guiana, Tapajos in the Brazilian Amazon or Mbaïki in the Central African Republic, have been in existence for more than 30 years and provide data of exceptional quality for (i) analysing the dynamics of forest recovery after logging and (ii) estimating how ongoing global changes are altering these dynamics. The 24 sites include a total of 536 permanent plots representing a total inventoried area of 1193 hectares where each tree, from 10 or 20 cm dbh and above, is monitored, on average, every 2-5 years.

Services offer

TmFO is the only pantropical network focusing on the resilience of logged tropical forests; other existing networks such as Leeds Rainfor or the Smithsonian’s CTFS focus on undisturbed tropical forests. TmFO is therefore a unique network whose importance is becoming increasingly recognized since, today, most forested areas under exploitation are now in tropical regions. TmFO also offers the opportunity for research institutions and forest agencies with monitoring systems in disturbed forests to join an international network, to benefit from the expertise and tools developed within the network and to valorize their data through regional and pantropical analyses. The TmFO network aims to provide information and data concerning the sustainable management of tomorrow's tropical production forests in order to find sustainable trade-offs between wood production, carbon storage and biodiversity.


Members include CELOS (the Center for Agricultural Research) in Suriname, CIFOR (the Center for International Forestry Research),  CIRAD (the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development); Embrapa (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), ESALQ Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ) University of Sao Paulo, FOERDIA (Forestry and Environment Research Development and Innovation Agency), FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia), Hiroshima University, IBIF (Instituto Boliviano de Investigaciones Forestales), IIAP (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana), IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), IIC(the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development), LIPI (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, the  Indonesian Institute of Sciences), ONF (Office National des Forêts, Département RDI, Guyane), SLU (the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), the University of Aberdeen, theUniversity of Florida and Wageningen University.


The network is coordinated by Plinio Sist and Bruno Hérault of the CIRAD Forests and Societies Research Unit. Each experimental site is managed by at least two coordinators from the institutions in charge of each site. TmFO thus brings together some fifty forestry researchers and engineers.

Operations and data access

The Network’s operating guidelines are governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The raw data as well as the databases for each site remain under the responsibility and are the property of the institutions responsible for the site. Each site manager is responsible for processing his or her own data according to a commonly defined methodology related to a particular research question. Raw data are therefore not shared within the network; only consolidated data from common analyses are shared and published.

Access to experimental sites is highly variable and depends closelyon site location. As operating plots, most are located close to road networks and are therefore easily accessible. Experimental sites are generally accessible through partnership agreements, mainly for research activities.

Data access  and cost

The cost of maintaining the different sites varies greatly depending on the size and number of plots and the location and country. The averagecost of maintaining a site is around 50K€/year.

Available measurements

Some sites have a micrometeorological station, equipment to monitor soil water content or a flux tower.

Modification date: 16 August 2023 | Publication date: 11 May 2018 | By: Plinio Sist (Cirad), 26-avril-2018