We describe the salient features of a field study whose goals are to quantify the vertical distribution of plant-emitted hydrocarbons and their contribution to aerosol and cloud condensation nuclei production above a central Amazonian rain forest. Using observing systems deployed on a 50-m meteorological tower, complemented with tethered balloon deployments, the vertical distribution of hydrocarbons and aerosols was determined under different boundary layer thermodynamic states. The rain forest emits sufficient reactive hydrocarbons, such as isoprene and monoterpenes, to provide precursors of secondary organic aerosols and cloud condensation nuclei. Mesoscale convective systems transport ozone from the middle troposphere, enriching the atmospheric boundary layer as well as the forest canopy and surface layer. Through multiple chemical transformations, the ozone-enriched atmospheric surface layer can oxidize rain forestemitted hydrocarbons. One conclusion derived from the field studies is that the rain forest produces the necessary chemical species and in sufficient amounts to undergo oxidation and generate aerosols that subsequently activate into cloud condensation nuclei.