Observing changing ecological diversity in the Anthropocene

David S. Schimel, Gregory P. Asner, Paul Moorcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As the world enters the Anthropocene - a new geologic period, defined by humanity's massive impact on the planet - the Earth's rapidly changing environment is putting critical ecosystem services at risk. To understand and forecast how ecosystems will change over the coming decades, scientists will require an understanding of the sensitivity of species to environmental change. The current distribution of species and functional groups provides valuable information about the performance of various species in different environments. However, when the rate of environmental change is high, information inherent in the ranges of many species will disappear, since that information exists only under more or less steady-state conditions. The amount of information about species' relationships to climate declines as their distributions move farther from steady state. New remote-sensing technologies can map the chemical and structural traits of plant canopies and will allow for the inference of traits and, in many cases, species' ranges. Current satellite remote-sensing data can only produce relatively simple classifications, but new techniques will produce data with dramatically higher biological information content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

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remote sensing
environmental change
ecosystem services
ecosystem service
biogeography
functional group
Anthropocene
canopy
climate
planet
ecosystems
ecosystem
methodology
distribution
rate
chemical
world
forecast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Observing changing ecological diversity in the Anthropocene. / Schimel, David S.; Asner, Gregory P.; Moorcroft, Paul.

In: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Vol. 11, No. 3, 01.04.2013, p. 129-137.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Schimel, David S. ; Asner, Gregory P. ; Moorcroft, Paul. / Observing changing ecological diversity in the Anthropocene. In: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2013 ; Vol. 11, No. 3. pp. 129-137.
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