Connecting a World of Tropical Foresters in a Virtual Age

Connecting a World of Tropical Foresters in a Virtual Age

We decided to revive the International Society of Tropical Foresters in 2016 after a 5-year hiatus because of our belief that there is still an urgent need for global communication and community among the bright minds working in some of the most remote locations on Earth – tropical forests.

Through this new generation of ISTF, we hope to enable the grassroots conservation director, living between a tent as she does field research and her home in a small town, to consult with university professors across the world that have decades of experience to inform her research and outreach. We hope to empower a forestry student at a university with a relatively new program and thus, a lack of resources, to internships and jobs in tropical forest management at organizations and companies at the forefront of innovation worldwide. We hope to connect the worker in one forest who checks his phone as he gets back to camp at night after requesting help with an urgent question with a seasoned forestry director who quickly passes on a tried and true resource as she hops into her truck at the end of a long day to head back home from the field. 

These are the connections that will power a transformational change that is needed now more than ever. Every day we are confronted with more and more news about the dire situation of this world’s tropical forests. In 2019, Amazon fires increased by 84% in one year [1] and during this coronavirus pandemic in 2020, illegal deforestation has brought even more destruction there [2]. The Congo basin rainforests may be gone by 2100 [3]. The lack of adequate protection of Indonesia’s massive peatland forests releases gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year [4]. However, too often the people on the front lines of managing and saving these forests lack adequate information, training, and connections to get the support they need. Often they need resources on-the-go, passed along in informal ways, or answers to specific immediate questions they confront in the field. These are not always things you learn in a staid university course at a young age, but rather learnings gleaned by foresters and forest actors as they make their way through the school of life. ISTF harnesses this knowledge and puts it in the hands of the people who need it most. 

We welcome you to this page and this movement. Please see our membership, committee, and chapter pages to learn more about how to get involved.

Ruth Metzel, ISTF Vice-President, in action working with a high school biology professor and students to reforest on the Azuero peninsula of Panama. c. Azuero Eco Foundation



  1. Amazon fires increase by 84% in one year – space agency.

  2. Amazon Deforestation Soars as Pandemic Hobbles Enforcement.

  3. Congo basin rainforest may be gone by 2100, study finds.

  4. Dangerous new regulation puts Indonesia’s carbon rich peatlands at risk.