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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Role of Terrestrial Ecosystems in Global Change: a Plan for Action

Authors
item Chapin Iii, F - UNIV OF CALIFORNIA
item Carpenter, Steve - UNIV OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
item Franklin, Jerry - UNIV OF WASHINGTON
item Goodland, Robert - THE WORLD BANK
item Graumlich, Lisa - UNIV OF ARIZONA
item Kimball, Bruce
item Melillo, Jerry - THE ECOSYSTEMS CENTER
item Nixon, Scott - UNIV OF RHODE ISLAND
item Paul, Eldor - MICHIGAN STATE UNIV
item Peters, Robert - CONSERVATION INTERN'L

Submitted to: National Academy Press
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 1993
Publication Date: January 7, 1994
Citation: Chapin III, F.S., Carpenter, S., Franklin, J., Goodland, R.J., Graumlich, L., Kimball, B.A., Melillo, J.M., Nixon, S., Paul, E., Peters, R. 1994. The role of terrestrial ecosystems in global change: a plan for action. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. pp. 1-50.

Interpretive Summary: The increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has led to predictions of global warming and changes in patterns of precipitation. Moreover, the elevated levels of CO2 are also likely to have direct effects on the Earth's vegetation. Therefore, under the auspices of the National Research Council, a panel of distinguished scientists was convened to outline a plan for action in order to implement an appropriate research program to study the role of terrestrial ecosystems, both managed and unmanaged, in global change. Such research should benefit all Earth's creatures, including mankind, in preparing for and mitigating global environmental change.

Technical Abstract: To reduce uncertainty about the response of terrestrial ecosystems to global changes in climate and land use and the effect these terrestrial responses may have on global climate, the U.S. Global Change Research Program should address six major questions as its contribution to the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. Within each of these six major research topics, this report presents a general research program that prioritizes topics according to their potential to reduce uncertainty about the role that terrestrial ecosystems play in global change over time scales of decades to centuries. Three elements are highlighted for immediate action because they are key components of the terrestrial research program that are unlikely to proceed without focused attention: (1) experiments that determine ecosystem responses to interactions among elevated CO2, temperature, water, and nutrients; (2) research to predict the role of landscape-scale processes, especially disturbance and land-use change, in governing the future structure and distribution of ecosystems; and (3) research to determine how changes in species composition (e.g., invasion or extirpation of species or functional groups with strong ecosystem impacts) affect the functions of managed and unmanaged ecosystems.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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