A Cubic Foot of Tropical Forest
<strong>SPECIAL REPORT: BIODIVERSITY AND INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE</strong>
National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager photographed this Metrosiderous tree and all 58 species he found crawling, flying, or taking root in it. He and a team of scientists accounted for 49 arthropods, 2 reptiles, and 7 plant and fungus species.
The forests of Mo‘orea are a combination of species introduced by the Polynesians and invasives introduced by European settlers, with a few scattered native species.
"There was a nest of Technomyrmex ants close to the cube," Liittschwager says. "This non-native ant had surely suppressed the local native diversity."
--Tasha Eichenseher and David Liittschwager