Advanced terrestrial ecosystem analysis and modelling
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Ecosystems are important for human life and human livelihoods are affected when ecosystem functioning is degraded beyond some threshold. Consequently, most quantitative assessments of ecosystem dynamics have been motivated by a mix of academic curiosity and pressing resource or environmental problems. A classic case for this dualism was presented by research into the expected evolution of the impacts of acid rain in Europe during the 1980s: once the wide-spread damages became evident in Central European forests and freshwater ecosystems, stakeholders quickly began to demand a reliable risk assessment for what was perceived as an ecologically complex and dangerous situation. Scientists attempting to respond to this challenge employed a range of different approaches: while some embarked on data-rich, problem-oriented phenomenological assessments (where do the damages occur, how can they be classified, which climatic or atmospheric deposition patterns coincide, etc.), others went for a...
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