In the face of uncertain biological response to climate change and the many critiques concerning model complexity it is increasingly important to develop predictive mechanistic frameworks that capture the dominant features of ecological communities and their dependencies on environmental factors. This is particularly important for critical global processes such as biomass changes, carbon export, and biogenic climate feedback. Past efforts have successfully understood a broad spectrum of plant and community traits across a range of biological diversity and body size, including tree size distributions and maximum tree height, from mechanical, hydrodynamic, and resource constraints. Recently it was shown that global scaling relationships for net primary productivity are correlated with local meteorology and the overall biomass density within a forest. Along with previous efforts, this highlights the connection between widely observed allometric relationships and predictive ecology. An emerging goal of ecological theory is to gain maximum predictive power with the least number of parameters. Here we show that the explicit dependence of such critical quantities can be systematically predicted knowing just the size of the largest tree. This is supported by data showing that forests converge to our predictions as they mature. Since maximum tree size can be calculated from local meteorology this provides a general framework for predicting the generic structure of forests from local environmental parameters thereby addressing a range of critical Earth-system questions.