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Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

Critical Ecosystems

Our understanding and modeling representation of ecosystem processes is frequently based on systems and research sites that are convenient and well studied.  There is value in the detailed exploration and understanding of ecosystems over long time periods.  The Terrestrial Ecosystem Science (TES) program recognizes this value and intends to continue its long-standing support of long-term research sites and topics.  In the context of global-scale understanding, TES also recognizes the need to focus on additional (frequently remote or difficult to access) ecosystems that are characterized as critical areas of uncertainty in our understanding and/or model representation of the global ecosystem.  These “critical ecosystems” have been an area of emphasis for TES in its recent university solicitations and national laboratory projects.  Current projects include:


NGEE Arctic Experiments

Advancing predictive understanding of the structure and function of Arctic terrestrial ecosystems in response to climate change. Learn More »


NGEE Tropics Experiments

Identifying critical science gaps that limit our ability to represent tropical ecosystems in Earth system models and that demand immediate field investigations. Learn More »



Assessing the response of northern peatland ecosystems to increases in temperature and exposures to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Learn More »

Energy Exascale Earth System Model Released [04/18]

Research Highlights

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2018 in Review

Research Priorities to Incorporate Terrestrial-Aquatic Interfaces in Earth System Models Workshop [06/17]

Expanding the Use of Plant Trait Observations and Ecological Theory in Earth System Models [05/16]

Building a Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental System Science: Modeling Frameworks, Data Management, and Scientific Workflows [10/15]

Building Virtual Ecosystems: Computational Challenges for Mechanistic Modeling of Terrestrial Environments [2/15]



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