Responding to Climate Change: A Role for Ecosystems

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 25 Sep 2008 13:30:00 GMT

With a growing number of reports show that climate change will impact human health, economic and national security, and agricultural and natural resource management, scientists and policymakers are now considering how to regulate carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Legislation has been introduced to implement cap and trade systems and carbon taxes, and to promote carbon sequestration. Informed policy decisions require that policymakers understand the potential role of ecosystems in mitigating the problems caused by carbon emissions.

Join internationally recognized ecosystem researchers to learn what ecosystem science can tell us about carbon sequestration.

  • Dr. Robin Graham – Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory: Environmental Policy and Carbon Sequestration by Ecosystems
  • Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Ocean Fertilization: Ironing Out Uncertainties in Climate Engineering
  • Peter Curtis: The Ohio State University: Forest carbon storage in the upper Midwest: Lessons from the past and predictions for the future
  • J. Patrick Megonigal, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center: Carbon In, Methane Out: The Greenhouse Gas Balance of North American Wetlands
  • Charles Rice, Kansas State University: Carbon Sequestration in Agro-ecosystems
  • John Arnone, Desert Research Institute: Carbon Sequestration in Deserts
  • Dr. Thomas E. Jordan – Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; President, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Moderator

RSVP’s please contact Megan Kelhart at

For more information about this science briefing or the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, please contact

Room 3111, Smithsonian Institution Ripley Center

(Entrance is adjacent to the Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall)

Ecosystem Thresholds and Climate Tipping Points

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 20 Sep 2007 19:00:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to learn about the impacts climate change is having on ecosystems, in particular those changes that are rapid, large, and potentially irreversible. We now have evidence that there may be thresholds that, once crossed, will present serious coping challenges to humans. This raises a major strategic challenge in the climate policy debate before this Congress: What concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere might lead to environmentally, socially and economically unacceptable impacts?

In response to this question, a project was developed jointly by the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and The Nature Conservancy, entitled “Understanding the Consequences of Thresholds in Global Change and Their Implications for Decision-Making.” The project promotes understanding of the physical, natural, and social dynamics that underlie ecological thresholds in order to better inform ongoing adaptation measures and response options across scales of decision-making. Our panel will focus on the work of this important initiative and its draft report, which is based on the first of a series of meetings that took place in 2006. Case studies presented at the meeting included impacts on the critical ecosystems of the American Rockies and Alaska such as: drought in the Colorado River Basin; bark beetles in Western Canada; and forest die-off and die-back in the West. Our speaker panel includes Ecothresholds Project participants and other experts:

  • Dr. Anthony Janetos (Moderator), Director, Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/University of Maryland
  • Dr. Ed Miles, Virginia and Prentice Bloedel Professor of Marine Studies and Public Affairs, University of Washington
  • Dr. Neil Cobb, Director, Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, Northern Arizona University
  • Dr. Mark Eakin, Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Dr. John Wiens, Lead Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
  • Michael Bradley, Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership

The Ecothresholds Project envisions workshops and conferences to engage resource managers and practitioners to explore responses to threshold effects that challenge the condition of ecosystem services and the foundation of a range of natural resource management practices. Creating a dialogue between this project and policymakers will help ensure that the major strategic questions being addressed by this project will be incorporated into the federal policy debate on climate change.

This briefing is open to the public and no reservations are required. For more information, contact Fred Beck at 202-662-1892 (