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Aims and scope

The study and management of ecosystems represent the most dynamic field of contemporary ecology. Ecosystem research bridges fundamental ecology and environmental ecology and environmental problem-solving, and spans boundaries of scale, discipline and perspective. Ecosystems features a distinguished team of editors-in-chief and an outstanding international editorial board, and is seen worldwide as a vital home for publishing significant research as well as editorials, mini-reviews and special features.


Ecosystem science is a well-established and rapidly growing multidisciplinary field characterized by issues that cross boundaries:

Boundaries represented by spatial and temporal scales

Domains of traditional ecological disciplines

Viewpoints of basic research and management

The scope of ecosystem science extends from bounded ecosystems such as watersheds, to spatially complex landscapes, to the Earth itself; ecosystem science also crosses temporal scales from seconds to millennia. Ecosystem science has strong links to other disciplines including landscape ecology, global ecology, biogeochemistry, aquatic ecology, soil science, hydrology, ecological economics and conservation biology. Humans are commonly a component of ecosystem studies. Studies of ecosystems employ diverse approaches, including theory and modeling, long-term investigations, comparative research an large experiments.


Ecosystems invites original research papers in the following areas:

Structure and process in ecosystems

Ecosystem concepts and theory

Integrated analysis of natural, social and management systems

Ecosystems services and management

New tools and methods of broad interest to ecosystem scientists

Ecosystems welcomes papers that integrate biotic, abiotic and social data across temporal and spatial scales, in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The journal particularly encourages submission of papers that integrate natural and social processes at appropriately broad scales. In addition to research articles, the journal will also publish Editorials, invited Minireviews on topics of strong current interest, and Special Features that provide multifaceted discussion of complex topics.

Indexed and covered in BIOSIS, Chemical Abstracts, Science Citation Index, Science Citation Index Expanded, ISI Alerting Services, and Current Contents/Agriculture, Biology, and Environmental Sciences.