Forest canopies not only support high terrestrial biodiversity but also represent a critical interface between the atmosphere and the earth. They provide goods and services to support diverse human communities and offer opportunities to explore sustainable use of these resources for many generations of local livelihoods. Forest canopies are important carbon sequestration units, and in this sense, serve as climate control for the planet. Canopies are important energy production centers for the planet, and serve as the basis for many food chains. The canopy can also act as a hook for education outreach and conservation, inspiring ecotourism through recreation and other sustainable uses such as treetop walks, zip lines, and birding. Despite these critical services provided by forest canopies, almost no dedicated research in the treetops was initiated until as recently as the late 1970s when single rope techniques were developed by mountaineering professionals and adapted for use in the canopy. Subsequently, an array of canopy access tools was designed in the 1980s and early 1990s that have opened up this "eighth continent" for global exploration and discovery.
Treetops at Risk uses the major findings of the 5th international canopy conference as a platform for organization, but it does not mimic the sessions and presentations of the conference itself. Instead, it builds on the important themes that emerged from the conference and solicits articles that represent future priorities and advancements for canopy science in the next decade. Despite the global efforts of hundreds of forest scientists over the past 3 decades, forests are degrading at an accelerated rate and biodiversity is increasingly threatened by human activities. Given these trends – despite the very best efforts of the world's best scientists – other approaches must be taken. Treetops at Risk summarizes the issue of "treetops at risk" and assembles a global authorship to examine past accomplishments and future initiatives critical in forest conservation.
PART I EMERGING ISSUES
1. The Role of Scientific Conferences to Foster Conservation Solution for Global Forests
2. Greening the Planet?
3. Comparative Canopy Biology and the Structure of Ecosystems
4. Forest Canopies as Earth's Support Systems: Priorities for Research and Conservation
5. Emerging Threats to Tropical Forests
6. Rethinking the Role of Tropical Forest Science in Forest Conservation and Management
7. REDD: How can scientists change the political jungle?
8. Narrowing global species estimates
PART II CLIMATE CHANGE
9. Tropical cyclones and forest dynamics under a changing climate: what are the long-term implications for tropical forest canopies in the cyclone belt
10. Canopies and Climate Change
11. Church Forest Status and Carbon Sequestration in Northern Ethiopa
12. A novel approach to simulate climate change impacts on vascular epiphytes: case study in Taiwan
13. Sensitivity and threat in high-elevation rainforests: outcomes and consequences of the IBISCA- Queensland Project
14. A mature foreset canopy in a CO2-rich future - an experiment at the Swiss Canopy Crane research site
15. Shock value: are lianas natural lightning rods?
16. Potential impacts of global changes on epiphytic bryophytes in subtropical montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forests, SW China
17. 'Canopy-less' monitoring of biodiversity and climate change: signs of a leaky roof
PART III NEW APPROACHES
18. Mesoscale Exploration and Conservation of Tropical Canopies in a Changing Climate
19. Why do sloths poop on the ground?
20. Birds of the "canopy": historical perspective, current trends and future directions
21. Functional roles of lianas in the forest canopy
22. Islands in a sea of foliage: mistletoes as discrete components of forest canopies
23. Non-vascular epiphytes: functions and risks at the tree canopy
24. Canopy texture analysis for large-scale assessments of tropical forest stand structure and biomass
25. Changing tropical forest dynamics and their effects on canopy geometry and tropical forest biodiversity
26. Reproductive Biology and Genetics of Some Dominant Canopy and Understorey Dominant Tree Species of Sri Lanka: Implications for Conservation Management in a Fragmented Landscape
27. The importance of flowers for beetle biodiversity and abundance
28. Assessing canopy processes at large landscape scales in the Western Ghats using remote sensing
29. Ontogeny of Herbivory on Leaves in a Tropical Rainforest in Madagascar
30. Do Water Bears Climb Trees too?
31. From leaf litter to canopy: non-invasive and reliable sampling in a tropical rainforest
PART IV EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
32. Win-Win for Scientists Who Lead Citizen Science Canopy Research Expeditions
33. In the Canopy with Wheel Chairs: a model for teaching field biology
34. Modelling Insect outbreaks in Forest Canopies -- Integration of Virtual Simulations with Hands-on Ecology for Undergraduates
35. Canopy Capture: Essay of a Photographer
36. Kids can save Forests
37. Forest Canopy Tourism- analyzing a Flagship Attraction in the Ecotourism Arena from a Political Ecology Perspective
PART V ECOSYSTEM, SERVICES AND SUSTAINABILITY
38. Ancient Coastal Rainforest Canopies in Western Canada: Issues in Biodiversity and Conservation
39. The population dynamics of epiphytic orchids: A review and methodological guide
40. Can canopy dwelling frogs be monitored from the ground? A case from Western Ghats of India
41. Just harvest: Ecology and politics of forest canopy product use in protected areas
42. Tropical Rainforests of Africa: Can Conservation Projects Reconcile Forest Conservation and Development of Forest-Dependent Communities?
43. Sacred groves as sanctuaries for mistletoe conservation in Kathmandu Valley
44. Nutrient recycling starts in the canopy: the secretive action of termites
45. Valuing Ecosystem Services Flowing from the Himalayan States for Incorporation into National Accounting
46. Epiphytic Plants as NTFPs from the forest canopies: priorities for management and conservation