The Permanent Plots (PP) for forests monitoring have been consolidated as fundamental tools for the study and understanding of the mechanisms that control the dynamics of ecological processes of ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales (Phillips et al., 2009; Brienen et al., 2015).

The Amazonian Scientific Research Institute SINCHI has undertaken actions to establish a Permanent Plots Network for the monitoring and follow-up of the Colombian Amazon woodlands in order to quantify and evaluate the possible effects derived from climate change.

It is essential to understand and get to know to what extent climate change affects the Amazon forest. Given that the Colombian Amazon has a great variability of ecosystems, with particular conditions of soils, water regimes and species composition, which are being differentially affected by changes in the climate, it is important to advance representative monitoring processes, observing the reactions of the forest from a continuous monitoring of demographic performance in order to understand the balance associated with the mortality and recruitment of individuals and species of the forest.

What is a Permanent Plot?

It corresponds to a delimited area (in most cases 1 hectare) where all trees with a diameter at breast height (DBH) greater than or equal to 10 cm are marked. Each tree has its DBH measured, the total height and the height of the shaft, a botanical sample for its correct identification is also taken and the characteristics of its shaft as well as other characteristics such as tabular roots or any other relevant condition is noted.

What for?

The Permanent Plots seek to generate information on the structure and composition of Amazon forests and to evaluate the dynamics of these forests over time. With the establishment of the plots we have information about the richness, abundance and distribution of the arboreal species of the Amazon forests. At the same time, from the monitoring of the plots, there is information about the mortality and growth of the marked individuals, factors that determine each forest´s carbon storage.

One of the main objectives of the Network is to understand the mechanisms and factors that control the functioning of the forest and that promote the diversity and dynamics of Amazonian forests.

The information generated by the monitoring of the plots contributes to improve biodiversity management and conservation strategies with a view towards the sustainable management of the ecosystem, as well as generates input for a policy of natural resources in line with the sensibility and intrinsic resilience of each forest.


  • Brienen, R. J. W. et al. 2015. Long-term decline of the Amazon carbon sink. Nature 519: 344–348.
  • Phillips, O. L. et al. (2009). Drought Sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest. Science. 323: 1344-1347.

Locality Area studied (Ha) Species >= 1 cm DAP Species >= 10 cm DAP
Yasuni, Ecuador 25 1104 820
Amacayacu, Colombia 10 (>= 10 cm DAP)
2 (1-10 cm DAP)
1040 677
Barro Colorado, Panama 50 301 227
La Planada, Colombia 25 219 172
Luquillo, Puerto Rico 16 140 87