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   A small patch of forest in St. Louis County could be a big part of understanding global climate change.  

   In November, the 60-acre plot at Washington University's Tyson Research Center near Eureka was named a Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the land between Lone Elk and West Tyson County Parks is now part of a network of 52 other forest plots scattered around the world being used to study climate change and biodiversity.  

   In part, the Smithsonian project is examining both how climate change affects forests and how forests affect climate change.  

   The Tyson plot is expected to provide a lot of information because scientists have been monitoring it since the 1980s and have collected data covering two of Missouri's worst droughts, 1988 and 2012.  The latter was the worst on record.

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