PREDICTING CLIMATE-ECOSYSTEM FEEDBACKS:
A DAUNTING CHALLENGE
(1) Energy and Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Evidence from ice-core studies and other investigations suggests the existence of strong positive feedbacks between Earth's climate and terrestrial ecosystems. An implication of such feedback is that current climate models may be greatly underestimating the magnitude of future global warming. Montane ecosystems are likely to be particulary important sources of such feedback. Quantifying ecosystem-climate interactions is a daunting task, however, confounded by the limited experimental access to temporal and spatial scales on the order of centuries and landscapes. New approaches and new insights from current research on climate-ecosystem linkages in montane ecosystems will be presented. The integrated combination of experimental manipulations and gradient analyses provides a useful method for improving our understanding of issues of atmosphere-biosphere scaling and feedback and for elucidating the important role that future shifts in plant species composition may play in driving future climate change.