Thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems

Description:

This Report (SAP 4.2) focuses on the thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems. As defined in this Synthesis and Assessment Report, 'an ecological threshold is the point at which there is an abrupt change in an ecosystem quality, property, or phenomenon, or where small changes in one or more external conditions produce large and persistent responses in an ecosystem'.Ecological thresholds occur when external factors, positive feedbacks, or nonlinear instabilities in a system cause changes to propagate in a domino-like fashion that is potentially irreversible. This report reviews threshold changes in North American ecosystems that are potentially induced by climatic change and addresses the significant challenges these threshold crossings impose on resource and land managers. Sudden changes to ecosystems and the goods and services they provide are not well understood, but they are extremely important if natural resource managers are to succeed in developing adaptation strategies in a changing world. The report provides an overview of what is known about ecological thresholds and where they are likely to occur. It also identifies those areas where research is most needed to improve knowledge and understand the uncertainties regarding them. The report suggests a suite of potential actions that land and resource managers could use to improve the likelihood of success for the resources they manage, even under conditions of incomplete understanding of what drives thresholds of change and when changes will occur.

Creator(s):
Creation Date: January 2009
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
Environmental Policy Collection
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Creator (Author):
Birkeland, Charles

USGS-University of Hawaii

Creator (Author):
Chapin, F. Stuart

University of Alaska

Creator (Author):
Groffman, Peter M.

Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Creator (Author):
Creator (Author):
Knapp, Alan K.

Colorado State University;

Creator (Author):
McGuire, A. David

USGS-University of Alaska

Creator (Author):
Mulholland, Patrick J.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Creator (Author):
Peters, Debra P.C.

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Creator (Author):
Roby, Daniel D.

USGS-Oregon State University

Creator (Author):
Sugihara, George

Scripps Institute of Oceanography and University of California at San Diego

Publisher Info:
Place of Publication: Washington, DC
Date(s):
  • Creation: January 2009
Description:

This Report (SAP 4.2) focuses on the thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems. As defined in this Synthesis and Assessment Report, 'an ecological threshold is the point at which there is an abrupt change in an ecosystem quality, property, or phenomenon, or where small changes in one or more external conditions produce large and persistent responses in an ecosystem'.Ecological thresholds occur when external factors, positive feedbacks, or nonlinear instabilities in a system cause changes to propagate in a domino-like fashion that is potentially irreversible. This report reviews threshold changes in North American ecosystems that are potentially induced by climatic change and addresses the significant challenges these threshold crossings impose on resource and land managers. Sudden changes to ecosystems and the goods and services they provide are not well understood, but they are extremely important if natural resource managers are to succeed in developing adaptation strategies in a changing world. The report provides an overview of what is known about ecological thresholds and where they are likely to occur. It also identifies those areas where research is most needed to improve knowledge and understand the uncertainties regarding them. The report suggests a suite of potential actions that land and resource managers could use to improve the likelihood of success for the resources they manage, even under conditions of incomplete understanding of what drives thresholds of change and when changes will occur.

Note:

This document was prepared in accordance with Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-554) and the information quality act guidelines issued by the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey pursuant to Section 15). The CCSP Interagency Committee relies on the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey certifications regarding compliance with Section 515 and Department guidelines as the basis for determining that this product conforms with Section 515. For purposes of compliance with
Section 515, this CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product is an "interpreted product" as that term is used in U.S. Geological Survey guidelines and is classified as "highly influential". This document does not express any regulatory policies of the United States or any of its agencies, or provide recommendations for regulatory action.

[harvested: 2009-09-08]

Physical Description:

xiii, 157 p. : col. ill.

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Subject(s):
Keyword(s): Environmental change | climate variability | climate change | ecosystems | environmental change | human contributions and responses
Added Title: U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.2, January 2009
Series Title: Synthesis and Assessment Product
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
Environmental Policy Collection
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Resource Type: Book
Format: Text