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8.1 What are the most important feedbacks between ecological systems and global change (especially climate), and what are their quantitative relationships? 8.2 What are the potential consequences of global change for ecological systems? 8.3. What are the options for sustaining and improving ecological systems and related goods and services, given projected global changes? See Chapter 8 of the Strategic Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program for detailed discussion of these research questions. Ecosystems provide goods (e.g., food, fiber, fuel, pharmaceutical products) and services (e.g., the cycling of water and nutrients, the regulation of weather and climate, the removal of waste products, natural beauty, sustaining biological diversity) to society. Global change—including land-use change and climate change, as well as other environmental change such as habitat fragmentation, the spread of invasive species, and pollution—is affecting the ability of these life support systems to sustain the goods and services required by our growing population. Therefore, it is important to focus research on furthering our understanding of ecosystem processes, including the interactions of ecosystems with the atmosphere and physical climate system as well as the effects of human activities on ecosystems. The goal of the ecosystems research element is to understand and project the potential effects of global change on ecosystems, the goods and services ecosystems provide, and ecosystem links to the climate system. This improved understanding leads to better management practices because of the ability to anticipate longer term ecosystem effects

Year: 2013
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