NSF symposium addresses the long view of environmental change: Ecological scenarios
Scientists ask: If this happened, what then, in ecosystems around the world
Like all of us, scientists think in scenarios: If this happened, what then?
Results of their efforts to understand and anticipate global environmental changes through the process of scenario thinking and ecological forecasting are the topic of the annual National Science Foundation (NSF) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Mini-Symposium.
The forum will be held on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va.
Presentations will address social and ecological change; ecosystem vulnerability, resilience and adaptability; and why long-term data are essential to understanding and predicting future responses to natural and human-caused environmental changes.
Results from scenario-thinking and simulations will be presented for ecosystems from forests to lakes to the open ocean.
For example, the Harvard Forest LTER site scenarios project integrates stakeholder engagement with land use and ecosystem modeling. LTER scientists are working to understand the reasons for and consequences of land use change in New England forests and how decisions are made for the forests' future.
Harvard Forest is one of 25 such NSF LTER sites around the world in ecosystems from deserts to grasslands, coral reefs to Arctic tundra.
Another talk at the mini-symposium will describe scenarios for long-term change in a southern Wisconsin watershed, part of the North Temperate Lakes LTER site. The scenarios will be presented as narratives, art and trajectories and maps of environmental factors.
Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER site scientists use "participatory modeling" in their research. The models engage researchers and decision-makers as partners in addressing city planning needs. Results of these efforts will be presented at the forum.
Building on long-term research at the California Current Ecosystem LTER site, models are being developed to better understand changes in fish and other marine species that live in or migrate along the California Current. Findings will be reported at the mini-symposium.
Other presentations will address research at the Hubbard Brook LTER site on the recovery of acid lakes in the Northeast, and climate change in northern Alaska at the Arctic LTER site.
Detailed Agenda: Scenarios and Ecosystem Forecasting Mini-Symposium
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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