Smithsonian Global

Agua Salud

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Green wetland and forest




Long-Term Research

The Agua Salud Project at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama studies how degraded landscapes can be efficiently transformed into productive secondary forests, timber plantations, natural water utilities or eco-friendly livestock ranches. Agua Salud continues a 100-year old partnership between Smithsonian and Panama. This collaborative relationship began in 1910, with the Panama Biological Survey.

The Agua Salud research site was first established in the 1980s. In 2008, research was reinitiated, including a new research initiative focusing on land use alternatives based on native tree species. These species can maintain clean water, restore biodiversity, store carbon, provide timber, and support local economies.

Over the course of 20 to 40 years, STRI scientists will examine how forests can be used to best supply these and other essential services. Agua Salud will enrich knowledge of secondary tropical forests and how they can be managed to maximize essential services. 



Sarah Batterman  

Sarah Batterman researches the storage of CO2 in tropical forests and how nutrient levels in the ecosystem can hinder or encourage forest growth.

Alicia Entem  

Alicia Entem is an economist and STRI Pre-doctoral Fellow with the Agua Salud project.

Jefferson Hall   

Jefferson Hall is a scientist researching the ecosystem services provided by tropical forests and how land use decisions can affect these forests. 

Robert Stallard  

Robert Stallard is a Smithsonian Scientist and Research Hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey who studies how climate change and land cover affect water flow.