Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory


Ongoing Projects:

  • NASA-EOS "Carbon Balance in Global Grasslands"

Earth Observing System (EOS) Project Science Office Latest developments include an integrated strategy for remote sensing of ecosystem structural and functional changes with EOS sensors. A few examples of research efforts:

  • A collaborative study in West Africa to validate the mixing model and the bi-directional reflectance distribution function model for spectral unmixing of woody vs. herbaceous canopy cover. Remote obervations of biomass burning and biophysical vegetation attributes will help model validation efforts.
  • A long-term study of the IGBP GCTE Kalahari Transect in southern Africa, aligned on a precipitation gradient on common soils and with varying woody density. Soil and trace gas flux measurements, and ground measurements of biophysical, structural, and biogeochemical attributes have been taken.

A major focus of this project is to develop an integrated database of trace gas flux and ancillary data (meteorological conditions, soil properties, land use, and geographical characteristics) to be used in cross-site model analyses. A core data set will provide differential fluxes from major ecosystem types across North America, serving as a baseline data set for future investigations, and will facilitate validation of regional models.

This is a long-term research program designed to assess the effect of global climate change on the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. Three integrated studies are designed to: (1) project future climate change using a mesoscale atmospheric model to downscale general circulation model results; (2) develop an understanding of the abiotic and biotic controls on forest distribution and productivity as a basis for assessing potential vegetation change for projected climate scenarios; and (3) evaluate potential responses of hydrologic and aquatic ecosystem processes to climate change at watershed, drainage basin and regional scales.

This program is developing a mathematical process capable of simulating trace gas biogeochemistry and C and N dynamics in boreal forest soils, particularly with respect to the effects of fires and beaver activity. Model predictions are evaluated through comparisons with the flux and other relevant ancillary data.

  • MMIA - Methods and Models for Integrated Assessment

This project examines the question of how much spatial detail is necessary in order to achieve reliable regional, national and global modeling assessments. Primary research objectives are:

  1. To develop information linkage between CENTURY and the FASOM economic model in order to assess changes in the human environmental systems of the U.S. Great Plains.
  2. To identify and quantify the critical human and environmental factors controlling land use decisions at regional and local levels.
  3. To evaluate the sensitivity of the human-environmental system of the U.S. Great Plains to local scale land use decisions relative to the aggregated regional analysis.

The major goal of this project is to evaluate flux responses of radiatively active trace gases to changes in climate, soil properties, and land management in temperate grasslands. Primary objectives are: (1) to develop our understanding of the processes controlling fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O, and to evaluate the effect of land management on the fluxes in grasslands, and (2) to use this information to test and validate trace gas submodels. The site is the Sidney Agricultural Experiment Station, where several land practices, both routine and experimental, have been implemented.

  • CEGR - Predicting the Effect of Global Change on Vegetation in Park Landscapes in the Central Grasslands Biogeographical Area

CEGR-1 provided higher resolution regional climate and vegetation change projections on a regional to landscape scale, along with a prototype modeling system applicable to partcular land units. In the CEGR-2 project, field studies in 3 National Park units are providing the baseline data necessary to scale up from the patch and communtity levels to landscape levels. This provides a link to improve and validate mesoscale climatic and life-form vegetation distribution models developed under the CEGR-1 project.

Projects archive

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