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Landscape Change

Landscape change is a key driver of environmental change and has important implications related to climate variability and change, biodiversity, natural resources, and ecosystem services. GECSC scientists conduct theme-focused research on the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of natural and anthropogenic landscape changes. Our scientists also conduct broad-scale assessments of historical and on

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Understanding long-term drivers of vegetation change and stability in the Southern Rocky Mountains with paleoecological data and ecological models

Drought and fire are powerful disturbance agents that can trigger rapid and lasting changes in the forests of western North America. Over the last decade, increases in fire size and severity coincided with warming, drought, and earlier snowmelt, factors that projected climatic changes are likely to exacerbate. However, recent observations are brief relative to the lifespans of trees and include...
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Understanding long-term drivers of vegetation change and stability in the Southern Rocky Mountains with paleoecological data and ecological models

Drought and fire are powerful disturbance agents that can trigger rapid and lasting changes in the forests of western North America. Over the last decade, increases in fire size and severity coincided with warming, drought, and earlier snowmelt, factors that projected climatic changes are likely to exacerbate. However, recent observations are brief relative to the lifespans of trees and include...
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Denali National Park Geohazards Geologic Mapping

Denali National Park (DENA) is a major draw for tourism and recreation and a major economic engine for central Alaska. However, the geologic forces that created the steep landscape of DENA also make it prone to geologic hazards (geohazards) like landslides, debris flows, and earthquakes. DENA has only one major road, called the ‘Park Road’, that serves nearly all of its infrastructure. Since 2017...
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Denali National Park Geohazards Geologic Mapping

Denali National Park (DENA) is a major draw for tourism and recreation and a major economic engine for central Alaska. However, the geologic forces that created the steep landscape of DENA also make it prone to geologic hazards (geohazards) like landslides, debris flows, and earthquakes. DENA has only one major road, called the ‘Park Road’, that serves nearly all of its infrastructure. Since 2017...
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Remote Sensing of Ecosystem Condition and Resilience

Ecosystem condition tends to be highly dynamic in response to natural variability in climate, extreme climate events, disturbance events, and human land use activities. Satellite imagery provides a powerful tool to enhance our understanding of ecosystem change at a landscape scale. This research integrates diverse sources of satellite imagery with ancillary datasets to explore how ecosystems...
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Remote Sensing of Ecosystem Condition and Resilience

Ecosystem condition tends to be highly dynamic in response to natural variability in climate, extreme climate events, disturbance events, and human land use activities. Satellite imagery provides a powerful tool to enhance our understanding of ecosystem change at a landscape scale. This research integrates diverse sources of satellite imagery with ancillary datasets to explore how ecosystems...
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Burned Area Essential Climate Variable

Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) track critical attributes of the atmosphere, oceanic, and terrestrial systems over time-scales appropriate for analyzing their relationships with climate change. As part of a larger Climate Data Record (CDR) and ECV project, scientists at GECSC are leading the development and validation of the Burned Area ECV algorithm. This algorithm automatically extracts...
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Burned Area Essential Climate Variable

Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) track critical attributes of the atmosphere, oceanic, and terrestrial systems over time-scales appropriate for analyzing their relationships with climate change. As part of a larger Climate Data Record (CDR) and ECV project, scientists at GECSC are leading the development and validation of the Burned Area ECV algorithm. This algorithm automatically extracts...
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Cenozoic Landscape Evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains

The Cenozoic Landscape Evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains Project is a multi-year investigation funded by the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. This project utilizes a combination of geologic mapping, geophysical surveys, basin modeling, and structural, neotectonic, geomorphic, volcanic, stratigraphic, and geochronologic studies to better understand the geologic landscape of...
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Cenozoic Landscape Evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains

The Cenozoic Landscape Evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains Project is a multi-year investigation funded by the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. This project utilizes a combination of geologic mapping, geophysical surveys, basin modeling, and structural, neotectonic, geomorphic, volcanic, stratigraphic, and geochronologic studies to better understand the geologic landscape of...
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Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation

Ecosystem services are the benefits that nature provides to human well-being: clean air and water, protection from natural disasters, fisheries, crop pollination and control of pests and disease, and outdoor places for recreation, solitude, and renewal. Ecosystem services underlie the functioning of our entire economy. They are neither worthless nor priceless, and by integrating the physical...
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Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation

Ecosystem services are the benefits that nature provides to human well-being: clean air and water, protection from natural disasters, fisheries, crop pollination and control of pests and disease, and outdoor places for recreation, solitude, and renewal. Ecosystem services underlie the functioning of our entire economy. They are neither worthless nor priceless, and by integrating the physical...
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Effects of Energy Development Strategies

Energy is a cornerstone issue for humanity, nations, and individuals. How we create and use energy impacts the consequences it embodies. The critical issue facing humanity involves meeting our massive and growing energy needs, without undermining human and natural capital. Facing the challenge of long-term, sustainable energy for the nation and world requires understanding the consequences of...
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Effects of Energy Development Strategies

Energy is a cornerstone issue for humanity, nations, and individuals. How we create and use energy impacts the consequences it embodies. The critical issue facing humanity involves meeting our massive and growing energy needs, without undermining human and natural capital. Facing the challenge of long-term, sustainable energy for the nation and world requires understanding the consequences of...
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Exploring Future Flora, Environments, and Climates Through Simulations (EFFECTS)

Climate changes can significantly affect species and ecosystems. Historical and paleoenvironmental data record species and ecosystem responses to past climate changes, but these records become sparse as one goes further back in time. Model simulations can be used fill the spatial and temporal gaps in observed records to improve our understanding of the potential magnitude, rate, and spatial...
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Exploring Future Flora, Environments, and Climates Through Simulations (EFFECTS)

Climate changes can significantly affect species and ecosystems. Historical and paleoenvironmental data record species and ecosystem responses to past climate changes, but these records become sparse as one goes further back in time. Model simulations can be used fill the spatial and temporal gaps in observed records to improve our understanding of the potential magnitude, rate, and spatial...
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Geologic Mapping Studies at Buffalo National River, Northern Arkansas

Detailed geologic mapping is being conducted by the USGS in and adjacent to the Buffalo National River, a park administered by the National Park Service, to better understand and characterize the natural resources and associated ecosystems of this area within the Ozark Plateau region. General-purpose geologic maps are created to provide a framework for a host of natural resource, natural history...
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Geologic Mapping Studies at Buffalo National River, Northern Arkansas

Detailed geologic mapping is being conducted by the USGS in and adjacent to the Buffalo National River, a park administered by the National Park Service, to better understand and characterize the natural resources and associated ecosystems of this area within the Ozark Plateau region. General-purpose geologic maps are created to provide a framework for a host of natural resource, natural history...
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Geologic Records of High Sea Levels

This project studies past high sea levels on coastlines that preserve fossil coral reefs or marine terraces. We ascertain the magnitudes of sea-level high stands by field mapping, stratigraphic measurements, and precise elevation measurements. Geochronology is accomplished by radiocarbon dating of mollusks (for Holocene-to-last-glacial deposits), uranium-series dating of corals (for high-sea...
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Geologic Records of High Sea Levels

This project studies past high sea levels on coastlines that preserve fossil coral reefs or marine terraces. We ascertain the magnitudes of sea-level high stands by field mapping, stratigraphic measurements, and precise elevation measurements. Geochronology is accomplished by radiocarbon dating of mollusks (for Holocene-to-last-glacial deposits), uranium-series dating of corals (for high-sea...
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Global Ecosystems

The Earth contains an astonishing variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, which provide biological resources and services that are essential to our survival. A high resolution, data-derived, global ecosystems map will improve our ability to manage, conserve, and restore ecosystems that are increasingly threatened by fragmentation, alteration, loss, invasive species, fire...
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Global Ecosystems

The Earth contains an astonishing variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, which provide biological resources and services that are essential to our survival. A high resolution, data-derived, global ecosystems map will improve our ability to manage, conserve, and restore ecosystems that are increasingly threatened by fragmentation, alteration, loss, invasive species, fire...
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Greater Platte River Basins and Northern Plains Geologic Framework Studies

Primary objectives of the project are to conduct surficial geologic mapping studies in the central and northern Great Plains in support of ecosystem and climate change research. Major goals are to obtain a better understanding of (1) past climate information recorded in the geologic record, and (2) geomorphic or climatic thresholds that may have triggered major changes in the ecosystems in the...
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Greater Platte River Basins and Northern Plains Geologic Framework Studies

Primary objectives of the project are to conduct surficial geologic mapping studies in the central and northern Great Plains in support of ecosystem and climate change research. Major goals are to obtain a better understanding of (1) past climate information recorded in the geologic record, and (2) geomorphic or climatic thresholds that may have triggered major changes in the ecosystems in the...
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