Forecasting and Assessing the Large-Scale and Long-Term Impacts of Global Environmental Change on Terrestrial Ecosystems in the United States and China

  • Hanqin TianEmail author
  • Xiaofeng Xu
  • Chi Zhang
  • Wei Ren
  • Guangsheng Chen
  • Mingliang Liu
  • Dengsheng Lu
  • Shufen Pan


The Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems have experienced a complex set of global changes, occurring on large spatial-temporal scales and interactively affecting individual organisms and ecological systems, most of which are not amenable to direct experimentation. To understand, predict, and assess the large-scale and long-term impacts of global changes on the Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems, we need such a new approach for extrapolating the growth of plants, animals, or ecosystems into the future when climate, CO2, and other factors may be different, and extrapolating individual plant or site studies onto a regional or global scale. In this chapter, we present such a newly developed approach called the Regional Integration System for Earth’s ecosystem (RISE), which builds upon improved knowledge of the fundamental mechanisms of ecological systems, and supported by rapidly developing technology from high-speed computer systems to high-resolution remote sensing sources with global coverage. Then we apply the RISE to address our common understanding of perhaps the most important issue facing humankind in the twenty-first century, our disruption of the global carbon cycle. We use two case studies to illustrate the overall merits and applications of the RISE in terrestrial ecosystem research. In the first case study, the RISE has been used to predict and assess the impacts of global change on net primary productivity and ecosystem carbon storage in southeastern U.S. under current climatic conditions and future climate scenarios. In the second case study, we have used the RISE to assess changes in ecosystem carbon storage and fluxes induced by multiple environmental stresses including climate variability/change, land-use and land-cover change, elevated carbon dioxide, and air pollution in China.


Carbon Storage Gross Primary Production Advance Very High Resolution Radiometer Advance Very High Resolution Radiometer Terrestrial Ecosystem Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer


Scenario combined Climate, Land Use, and CO2 effects


Climate Change only


Dynamic Global Vegetation Model


Dynamic Land Ecosystem Model


Enhanced Thematic Mapper


Fraction of Photosynthetically Active Radiation


General Circulation Model


Geographical Modeling


Geographic Information System


Goddard Institute for Space Studies


Gross Primary Production


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


Leaf Area Index


Land Use Cover and Change


Land Use and/or Land Cover


Multi-scale Atmospheric Transport and Chemistry


Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Integrated Global System Model


Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer


North American Regional Reanalysis


Net Carbon Exchange


National Center for Environmental Prediction


Net Ecosystem Production


Net Primary Production


NCEP, Oregon State University, Air Force, and Hydrologic Research Lab


Scenario combined O3, Climate, Land Use, and CO2 effects


Plant Functional Type


Regional Climate Model


Regional Ecosystem Model


Regional Integration System for Earth’s ecosystem


Southeastern U.S.


Soil Organic Carbon


Terrestrial Ecosystem Model


Total Terrestrial Carbon Storage



This research has been supported by NASA Interdisciplinary Science Program (NNG04GM39C), NASA Land Use and Land Cover change Program, DOE NICCR Program, US EPA 2004-STAR-L1 (RD-83227601) and AAES Program. We thank Drs. Yuhang Wang, Tao Zeng, and L. Ruby Leung for providing the regional climate data of the southeastern U.S., Dr. Felzer for providing the troposheric ozone data set for China, and Drs. Martha K. Nungesser and ShiLi Miao for providing valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanqin Tian
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaofeng Xu
  • Chi Zhang
  • Wei Ren
  • Guangsheng Chen
  • Mingliang Liu
  • Dengsheng Lu
  • Shufen Pan
  1. 1.Ecosystem Science and Regional Analysis LaboratorySchool of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn UniversityUSA

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