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Land Resources

Powell Center working groups rarely are just one USGS Mission Area and are sorted into these areas by the groups themselves. Projects may be relevant to additional areas.

Filter Total Items: 32

Synthesis of the new North American tree-ring fire-scar network: using past and present fire-climate relationships to improve projections of future wildfire

Increasing wildfire activity in much of North America is having severe impacts on society and ecosystems. Climate change is a key driver of changing fire regimes across North America, with varying expressions across the continent. Modern fire records, while useful, are too short to fully characterize the complex patterns and non-linear dynamics of fire-climate relationships that are required to un
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Synthesis of the new North American tree-ring fire-scar network: using past and present fire-climate relationships to improve projections of future wildfire

Increasing wildfire activity in much of North America is having severe impacts on society and ecosystems. Climate change is a key driver of changing fire regimes across North America, with varying expressions across the continent. Modern fire records, while useful, are too short to fully characterize the complex patterns and non-linear dynamics of fire-climate relationships that are required to un
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Status of butterflies in the United States

The pervasive nature of insect species’ declines has led to the specter of an “Insect Armageddon” in the popular press. Insect-derived ecosystem services are valued at > $57 billion in the U.S. and thus the loss of insects has the potential to fundamentally disrupt natural and economic systems.The causes of insect declines have been linked to changes in climate, land use and pesticide use, but the...
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Status of butterflies in the United States

The pervasive nature of insect species’ declines has led to the specter of an “Insect Armageddon” in the popular press. Insect-derived ecosystem services are valued at > $57 billion in the U.S. and thus the loss of insects has the potential to fundamentally disrupt natural and economic systems.The causes of insect declines have been linked to changes in climate, land use and pesticide use, but the...
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A National Topographic Change Mapping and Monitoring System

The three-dimensional (3D) form of the Earth’s surface results from both abiotic and biotic forces. Major abiotic forces, such as tectonic uplift, erosion, and climate, exert strong influence over land surface morphology. Biotic forces, including, significantly, humans, also shape the landscape, but often at different temporal and spatial scales and magnitudes than geologic forces. Because the pro...
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A National Topographic Change Mapping and Monitoring System

The three-dimensional (3D) form of the Earth’s surface results from both abiotic and biotic forces. Major abiotic forces, such as tectonic uplift, erosion, and climate, exert strong influence over land surface morphology. Biotic forces, including, significantly, humans, also shape the landscape, but often at different temporal and spatial scales and magnitudes than geologic forces. Because the pro...
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Forecasting Mosquito Phenology in a Shifting Climate: Synthesizing Continental-scale Monitoring Data

Climate change is expected to have significant effects on the phenology of vectors of arthropod-borne diseases, particularly mosquitoes. However, forecasting the direction and magnitude of future phenological shifts requires a more detailed understanding of the climate drivers of mosquito phenology. Addressing this knowledge gap is particularly salient for mosquitoes, as they have the potential to
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Forecasting Mosquito Phenology in a Shifting Climate: Synthesizing Continental-scale Monitoring Data

Climate change is expected to have significant effects on the phenology of vectors of arthropod-borne diseases, particularly mosquitoes. However, forecasting the direction and magnitude of future phenological shifts requires a more detailed understanding of the climate drivers of mosquito phenology. Addressing this knowledge gap is particularly salient for mosquitoes, as they have the potential to
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Markov decision processes in non-autonomous socio-ecological systems

Our ability to effectively manage natural resources is founded in an understanding of how our actions and the environment influence populations, communities, and ecosystems. Current practices use monitoring data from the past to determine key ecological relationships and make predictions about the future with the assumption that those relationships will remain constant. However, many natural syste
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Markov decision processes in non-autonomous socio-ecological systems

Our ability to effectively manage natural resources is founded in an understanding of how our actions and the environment influence populations, communities, and ecosystems. Current practices use monitoring data from the past to determine key ecological relationships and make predictions about the future with the assumption that those relationships will remain constant. However, many natural syste
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Using a multi-scale approach to synthesize measurements and models of C4 photosynthesis

Plants convert carbon dioxide into sugars for food during photosynthesis, and this provides food for all animal life. However, photosynthesis is inhibited when a plant’s enzymes use oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. To avoid this use of oxygen, some plants developed a photosynthetic adaptation – called C4 photosynthesis – to concentrate carbon dioxide around the enzymes. While less than 5% of plan...
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Using a multi-scale approach to synthesize measurements and models of C4 photosynthesis

Plants convert carbon dioxide into sugars for food during photosynthesis, and this provides food for all animal life. However, photosynthesis is inhibited when a plant’s enzymes use oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. To avoid this use of oxygen, some plants developed a photosynthetic adaptation – called C4 photosynthesis – to concentrate carbon dioxide around the enzymes. While less than 5% of plan...
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Visualizing the Invisible: Causes, Consequences, Changes, and Management of Streamflow Depletion Across the U.S.

Streamflow is declining in many parts of the United States (US) due to factors including groundwater pumping, land use change, and climate change. Streamflow depletion, a reduction in groundwater discharge to a stream due to human activities such as pumping and/or land use change, tends to evolve slowly and can be entirely invisible for many years to decades. This is because streamflow depletion c
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Visualizing the Invisible: Causes, Consequences, Changes, and Management of Streamflow Depletion Across the U.S.

Streamflow is declining in many parts of the United States (US) due to factors including groundwater pumping, land use change, and climate change. Streamflow depletion, a reduction in groundwater discharge to a stream due to human activities such as pumping and/or land use change, tends to evolve slowly and can be entirely invisible for many years to decades. This is because streamflow depletion c
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Wetland fluxnet synthesis for methane: understanding and predicting methane fluxes at daily to interannual timescales

Wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, including wildlife habitat, water purification, flood protection, and carbon metabolism. Our ability to manage these services and predict the long-term health of wetlands is strongly linked to their carbon fluxes, of which methane (CH4) is a key component. Natural wetlands emit approximately 30% of global CH4 emissions, as their waterlogged soils
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Wetland fluxnet synthesis for methane: understanding and predicting methane fluxes at daily to interannual timescales

Wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, including wildlife habitat, water purification, flood protection, and carbon metabolism. Our ability to manage these services and predict the long-term health of wetlands is strongly linked to their carbon fluxes, of which methane (CH4) is a key component. Natural wetlands emit approximately 30% of global CH4 emissions, as their waterlogged soils
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Novel multi‐scale synthesis of nitrogen fixation rates and drivers across the terrestrial biosphere

Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a critical biogeochemical process that converts inert atmospheric N2 gas into biologically usable forms of the essential nutrient nitrogen. A variety of free-living and symbiotic organisms carry out BNF, and in most regions worldwide, BNF is the largest source of nitrogen that fuels terrestrial ecosystems. As a result, BNF has far reaching effects on ecosystem
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Novel multi‐scale synthesis of nitrogen fixation rates and drivers across the terrestrial biosphere

Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a critical biogeochemical process that converts inert atmospheric N2 gas into biologically usable forms of the essential nutrient nitrogen. A variety of free-living and symbiotic organisms carry out BNF, and in most regions worldwide, BNF is the largest source of nitrogen that fuels terrestrial ecosystems. As a result, BNF has far reaching effects on ecosystem
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A global synthesis of land-surface fluxes under natural and human-altered watersheds using the Budyko framework

Global hydroclimatic conditions have been significantly altered, over the past century, by anthropogenic influences that arise from warming global climate and also from local/regional anthropogenic disturbances. There has been never been an effort that has systematically analyzed how the spatio-temporal variability of land-surface fluxes vary in natural and human-altered watersheds globally. This
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A global synthesis of land-surface fluxes under natural and human-altered watersheds using the Budyko framework

Global hydroclimatic conditions have been significantly altered, over the past century, by anthropogenic influences that arise from warming global climate and also from local/regional anthropogenic disturbances. There has been never been an effort that has systematically analyzed how the spatio-temporal variability of land-surface fluxes vary in natural and human-altered watersheds globally. This
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Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales

Ecosystem services - the benefits that nature provides to society and the economy - are gaining increasing traction worldwide as governments and the private sector use them to monitor integrated environmental and economic trends. When they are well understood and managed, ecosystems can provide these long-term benefits to people - such as clean air and water, flood control, crop pollination, and r
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Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales

Ecosystem services - the benefits that nature provides to society and the economy - are gaining increasing traction worldwide as governments and the private sector use them to monitor integrated environmental and economic trends. When they are well understood and managed, ecosystems can provide these long-term benefits to people - such as clean air and water, flood control, crop pollination, and r
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What lies below? Improving quantification and prediction of soil carbon storage, stability, and susceptibility to disturbance.

Soils are a vast reservoir of organic carbon (C), rendering the fate of soil C an important control on the global climate system. Widespread changes in soil C storage capacity present a potentially strong feedback to global change. Yet, a comprehensive understanding of how soil C will respond to climate and/or land use disturbance remains illusive, resulting in major uncertainties in global climat
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What lies below? Improving quantification and prediction of soil carbon storage, stability, and susceptibility to disturbance.

Soils are a vast reservoir of organic carbon (C), rendering the fate of soil C an important control on the global climate system. Widespread changes in soil C storage capacity present a potentially strong feedback to global change. Yet, a comprehensive understanding of how soil C will respond to climate and/or land use disturbance remains illusive, resulting in major uncertainties in global climat
Learn More