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How to pack tropical trees

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IMAGE: When a giant tree falls in a tropical forest, the other trees compete to fill the space. Researchers found that trees seek light and grow to fill gaps in predictable…

Credit: STRI

How many cookies fit on a baking sheet? How many oranges fit in a bag? In order to calculate how much carbon a tropical forest can store, scientists working with data from the Smithsonian's ForestGEO network came up with biologically sound explanations behind the simple mathematical rules of thumb that can be used to determine how many trees fit in a tropical forest and how big they get, essential information for calculating the ability of forests to store carbon.

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