TES-SFA - Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Scientific Focus Area

Research sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.


Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Scientific Focus Area

The TES SFA supports research to understand and predict the global terrestrial ecosystem forcing of the earth’s climate, and to assess vulnerability of terrestrial ecological systems to projected changes in climate and atmospheric composition. The research is focused on how terrestrial ecosystems affect atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases and how the ecosystem processes responsible for these effects interact with climate and with anthropogenic forcing factors.

  • Targeted experiments are conducted for the quantification of climate change responses to improve prediction of the effects of atmospheric and climatic change on ecosystems’ capacities to deliver goods and services, and on feedbacks from ecosystems to the atmosphere and climate.
  • Other process research is targeted at accurately quantifying the exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and land ecosystems through photosynthesis, net production and storage pools, autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration, disturbance, and land management practices.
  • Research also includes efforts to more accurately quantify uncertainty in anthropogenic emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel burning, and takes advantage of ongoing efforts to quantify historical, present-day, and anticipated future greenhouse-gas consequences of land use and land cover change.
  • Fundamental processes controlling terrestrial vegetation function and change discovered by TES-SFA tasks are used to improve mechanistic representation of ecosystem processes within terrestrial carbon (C) cycle and Earth system models.
  • The TES SFA plan also includes limited support for core, long-term tracking of the hydrologic, biogeochemical and biological response of the Walker Branch Watershed to inter-annual climatic variations.
2015 Proposal

Diagram of the TES-SFA research philosophy and flow illustrating an iterative exchange between model projections, question or hypothesis development and the execution of observations and experiments to better understand impacts of multi-factor environmental changes on ecosystems.