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Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

Disturbance and Vegetation Dynamics in Earth System Models Workshop

A Summary Report from the Workshop; March 15–16, 2018, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Publication: November 2018

This report summarizes discussion and outcomes from the March 2018 workshop, Disturbance and Vegetation Dynamics in Earth System Models, sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) within the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The goals of this workshop, held in Gaithersburg, Maryland, were to (1) identify key uncertainties in current dynamic vegetation models limiting the ability to adequately represent vegetation in Earth System Models (ESMs) and (2) identify and prioritize research directions that can improve models, including forest structural change and feedbacks and responses to disturbance. Failure to capture disturbance dynamics and feedbacks limits the utility of ESMs for predictive understanding and application to societally important problems. This workshop considered (a) dynamic processes that significantly affect terrestrial ecosystems and the coupled Earth system and (b) the data constraints and modeling challenges important for future progress. There were three dominant workshop conclusions: vegetation changes, including disturbance- driven changes, are affecting climate and natural resources; these impacts are expected to increase in the future; and, yet, current models have insufficient data and process representations to adequately predict these changes.

Suggested citation: U.S. DOE. 2018. Disturbance and Vegetation Dynamics in Earth System Models; Workshop Report, DOE/SC-0196. Office of Biological and Environmental Research, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. (https://tes.science.energy.gov/files/vegetationdynamics.pdf)

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