The data contained in are based on the shared vision and hard work of hundreds of people across the globe. We all want to see this collaborative effort continue and grow, and so we have a code of conduct that we ask those interested in joining us to first read and sign.

CODE OF CONDUCT aims to promote sustainable and equitable collaborations among tropical forest researchers across the world. Our code of conduct therefore aims to ensure co-operation and trust among participants and support the long-term future of to ensure the full potential of this collaborative endeavour is released.


We expect all users of the data to contribute to (see ‘Contribute’ below). We therefore ask that:

  • All data users discuss with other current participants, such as the principal researcher, project grant holder and field lead, the research question they wish to address, and involve them in the analysis, writing, and co-authorship of results.
  • All users of obtain the explicit consent of the relevant principal researcher, project grant holder and field lead before submitting any work for publication that uses data that are not publicly available: the transfer of any data between project participants does not imply the transfer of rights to publication of the data.
  • The lead author of any publication using data ensures that all co-author contributions are clearly defined: who was responsible for conceiving the idea, designing the study, collecting the field data, performing the analysis, contributing materials or analysis tools, analysing the data, and writing the paper.
  • is fully cited (see ‘How to cite’) in all publications that use any data or information obtained through


Contribute relies on contributions of high quality forest plot data and funding to manage and develop the resource. To (i) protect the rights of partners who have worked for years for their hard-won data, (ii) ensure that these data become part of the scientific process, and (iii) develop a sustainable Pan-Tropical Forest Observatory:

  • We request that leaders of multi-site proposals and analyses reinvest in network development, by: (1) funding recensuses and expansion of the plot networks into under-sampled regions, and/or contributing to the costs of database management and functionality; and whenever possible also (2) uploading their own data into,
  • We ask that commercial or institutional users and large research consortia contribute towards the costs of maintaining the database resource and of reinvesting in forest measurement and technical training. Decisions on whether or not to enter into such agreements are decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • We encourage contributors to agree that their data can be downloaded and used five years after the data are first published in an analysis utilising data downloaded from We will only make data publicly available with the data owner’s permission.
  • Data quality control on measurements and nomenclature is strictly applied in the field, at the data entry stage, and at the final database checking stage, under the responsibility of the principal investigator(s) of each site.


Make an impact

We all have a responsibility to train the next generation of tropical forest scientists and ensure that informs land-use policy in the tropics. We therefore expect and encourage users to:

  • Support analyses led by scientists from tropical forest countries.
  • Mentor junior participants to develop Masters and PhD theses.
  • Promote recognition of project findings in the international policy process in such policy-related fora as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Contribute data and results to protected areas management plans.



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