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Ecosystems - Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Ecosystems Program

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Welcome to the USGS Environments Program

Civilization depends on life-support services that natural ecosystems perform, including regulating climate, mitigating floods and drought, protecting shorelines from erosion, purifying air and water, detoxifying and decomposing wastes, and pollinating crops and natural vegetation. Healthy ecosystems provide habitat for diverse fish and wildlife communities. Studies conducted by USGS Environments scientists describe factors that control ecosystem structure, function, condition, and the provision of goods and services. This information is used to predict future changes to ecosystems and to describe the results of management alternatives.USGS works closely with its partners in Department of Interior Bureau's and other resource management agencies to provide scientific information to meet management needs.

Ecosystem science is thus used to restore degraded landscapes and freshwater systems, sustain plants and animals, and find means to adapt management to global change.

Environments Program Research Topics



Recent Highlights

State of the Birds 2011 ReportState of the Birds 2011: A Bird's-Eye View of How Birds Use the Nation's Public Lands - The 2011 State of the Birds Report provides the nation's first assessment of birds on public lands and waters. In a unique application of data, the science behind this report allows state and federal agencies to determine the value of public lands in conserving American birds. This data demonstrates the tremendous potential for these agencies to help sustain the diversity and abundance of the nation's birdlife. The National Gap Analysis Program at the University of Idaho, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and a group of expert scientists from other federal and state agencies and nonprofit groups provided scientific analysis and support for this year's report. Read more about the science behind this report (.pdf) >>

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