Ecosystems and Climate Change. Research Priorities for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program
CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM WASHINGTON DC
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In 2003, the Ecosystems Interagency Working Group EIWG of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program CCSP convened a small group of scientists to plan a workshop and encourage participation by leading ecologists and resource managers in the public and private sectors. The goal of the workshop was to identify critical research needs that address the complex linkages and feedbacks between climate and ecological systems. The Ecosystems and Climate Change workshop was held in 20043 in Silver Spring, MD, and was attended by over 100 participants. Here we summarize and interpret the workshop discussions and outcomes with a focus on the key research needs that were identified within each of three areas 1. Feedbacks between ecological systems and global change 2. Consequences of global change for ecological systems 3. Sustaining and improving ecological systems in the face of global change By self-selection, workshop participants divided into three groups--one for each of the three research areas. Each group was asked to a identify priority research questions related to its area and b describe approaches to addressing the research questions. For each of the three groups, volunteers moderated the discussions and captured the essential points that came from the group discussions. They also contributed to the development of this document. Every attempt was made to represent the consensus views of the participants. We begin Section 1 by providing some context for the report, then list the key research questions identified by each of the three groups Section 2. Not surprisingly, there is considerable overlap in research priorities across the three sets of questions. Recurring priorities, such as ecosystem disturbance, timing of ecological processes, and biodiversity are discussed in Section 3. We close by discussing cross-cutting issues relevant to all of the priority research topics Section 4 and by identifying several ecosystem types.