Long-term Ecology WG
“The future has already arrived; it just isn't evenly distributed” (W. Gibson)
This is exactly our problem with the response of ecosystems to long-term trends in climate and environment. Owing to ecosystem complexity and variability in space and time, the phenomena we deal with are either long term in their dynamics, or episodic, rare, complex or subtle in their occurrence and/or manifestation.
Only long-term studies, combined with experimental approaches, can reveal ecosystem dynamics, patterns and control processes. Hence, long-term research is essential to make and justify management and policy decisions regarding the protection of ecosystems and the maintenance of ecosystem services, particularly in times of potentially rapid climate change.
• To continue/establish time series of relevant and representative ecological parameters at different levels of ecosystem organisation.
• To create well documented databases and archives of samples and specimens that are accessible to the scientific community.
• To analyze these time series for trends and cycles by means of modern analytical and modelling approaches.
• To relate the observed patterns to external forcing factors on regional and global scales by means of empirical and mechanistic models.
• To establish a cause-and-effect understanding of these relationships by analytical and experimental approaches.
• To model future ecological developments based on the observed relationships between forcing factors and ecological parameters.
• To provide knowledge to the broader scientific community, general public, resource managers, and policy makers to address complex environmental challenges.