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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Using Mechanistic Models to Scale Ecological Processes Across Space and Time

Authors
item Rastetter, E - MARINE BIO LAB
item Aber, J - UNIV OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
item PETERS, DEBRA
item Ojima, D - COLORADO STATE UNIV
item Burke, I - COLORADO STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Bioscience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 2, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: RASTETTER, E.B., ABER, J.D., PETERS, D.C., OJIMA, D.S., BURKE, I. USING MECHANISTIC MODELS TO SCALE ECOLOGICAL PROCESSES ACROSS SPACE AND TIME. BIOSCIENCE. 2003. V. 53(1). P. 68-76.

Interpretive Summary: Human activities affect the natural environment at local to global scales. To understand these effects, knowledge derived from short-term studies on small plots needs to be projected to much broader spatial and temporal scales. One way to project short-term, plot- scale knowledge to broader scales is to embed that knowledge in a mechanistic model of the ecosystem. The National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program makes two vital contributions to this type of modeling effort: (1) a commitment to multidisciplinary research at individual sites, which results in a broad range of mutually consistent data, and (2) long-term data sets essential for estimating rate constants for slower ecosystem processes that dominate long-term ecosystems dynamics. In this paper, we present four examples of how a mechanistic approach to modeling ecological processes can be used to make projections to broader scales. The models are all applied to sites in the LTER network.

Technical Abstract: Human activities affect the natural environment at local to global scales. To understand these effects, knowledge derived from short-term studies on small plots needs to be projected to much broader spatial and temporal scales. One way to project short-term, plot- scale knowledge to broader scales is to embed that knowledge in a mechanistic model of the ecosystem. The National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program makes two vital contributions to this type of modeling effort: (1) a commitment to multidisciplinary research at individual sites, which results in a broad range of mutually consistent data, and (2) long-term data sets essential for estimating rate constants for slower ecosystem processes that dominate long-term ecosystems dynamics. In this paper, we present four examples of how a mechanistic approach to modeling ecological processes can be used to make projections to broader scales. The models are all applied to sites in the LTER network.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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