The Smithsonian Institution has been involved in monitoring global forest diversity since 1986, when it established a Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity Program (MAB).
The aim of the MAB Program is to monitor changes in ecosystems. By studying changes and understanding how forests function, scientists can develop management plans to assist in keeping ecosystems healthy. They can also devise techniques to restore degraded areas.
Forest biodiversity is surveyed, inventoried and monitored in a network of 200 research plots around the world. Information gathered at these sites provides detailed data about tropical and temperate forest biodiversity. This information is shared with other organisations involved in conservation and sustainable development.
The first MAB biodiversity monitoring site in Canada was established in 1994 at Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia. Scientists at the park were concerned about acid rain and its effect on the forest. Having noticed some dead trees, they felt that a monitoring program could supply valuable information about how to protect biodiversity.