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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

Human activity has significantly altered basic element cycles, the water cycle, and the land surface at local to planetary scales, and these alterations are influencing the global environment, including the Earth's climate system. Population and the demand for energy, food, fiber, and water will increase in the future, placing even greater pressure on the Earth system. Planning for the next century requires accurate models of the Earth system, including human activity. Recent studies with integrated assessment models models linking human and natural systems at a global scale highlight the importance of terrestrial systems in climate stabilization efforts.

We propose to link remote sensing, terrestrial ecosystem modeling, and integrated assessment modeling to improve assessments of carbon dynamics, land-use change, and climate mitigation policies. Our research aims to reduce uncertainties associated with forest modeling within integrated assessments, and to quantify the impacts of climate change on forest growth and productivity for integrated assessments of terrestrial carbon management. In particular, we address the following three major science questions: (1) How can remote sensing and mechanistic ecosystem models be used to improve integrated assessments involving coupled human-forest dynamics? (2) What are the opportunities for land-use strategies such as afforestation or woody bioenergy crop production to contribute to stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations? (3) What are the linked remote sensing/ecosystem modeling requirements for improving integrated assessments of climate mitigation strategies? To answer these questions, we will build upon and integrate our teams leadership experience and ongoing efforts in three key areas: Lidar-initialized Ecosystem Demography (ED) modeling, MiniCAM integrated assessment modeling, and global land- use modeling. This work will yield new and innovative coupled models that will be used to mechanistically simulate the interactive effects of ecosystem dynamics and human land-use in the context of climate change and the development of strategies to mitigate it.

Project PI: George Hurtt/University of Maryland

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Started: Sep 02, 2010

Last Activity: Mar 26, 2012

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