The Soltis Center includes 100 ha forest that transitions between fog-controlled (tropical montane forests) and temperature-controlled (lowland and lower montane forests) , depending on climate conditions. The Soltis Center, therefore, provides a critical linkage between the entire range in elevation and disturbance gradients.
The Soltis Center provides students and scientists with an opportunity to study tropical forest ecology, eco-hydrology, and meteorology. An important focus for several existing research programs is to understand how this ecosystem will respond to climate and land-use change, which depends on an understanding of the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of cloud forest hydrometeorology and ecology. There is a paucity of field studies to quantify the eco-hydrology of tropical forests at the (local) watershed scale, and a particular lack of studies to examine the eco-hydrology of transitional and secondary forests at lower elevations. The Soltis Center provides the means to study how the impact of climate and land use changes on tropical forests may alter regional water supply and biogeochemical cycling.
Specifically, some subjects of research at the Center are:
- Monitoring programs of local altitudinal migrations of birds and mammals
- Impact of global changes on biodiversity and ecosystems
- Integrated watershed management
- Soil conservation, organic agriculture, and sustainable farming practices
- Restoration ecology and conservation biology
- Bio-energy and alternative fuels
- Conservation of threatened and endangered species
- Biodiversity inventories