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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 interaction of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems and climate, and to assess vulnerability of terrestrial ecosystems to projected environmental change. The research focuses on how terrestrial ecosystems affect atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases (e.g., CH4) and how the responsible ecosystem processes interact with climate and with anthropogenic forcing factors. 

  • Targeted experiments are conducted to quantify and predict ecosystem responses to warming and elevated CO2 (eCO2) and the feedbacks from ecosystems to the atmosphere and climate.
  • Other process research aims to accurately quantify the exchange of CO2, water vapor, and energy between the atmosphere and land ecosystems through processes such as photosynthesis, evapotranspiration, net production, storage pools, and autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration.
  • TES SFA research also includes efforts to provide comprehensive databases, above- and belowground, to benefit the analytical needs of Earth System Models.
  • Understanding achieved by TES SFA tasks on the fundamental functions and interactions of vegetation, microbial community and soil is used to improve mechanistic representation of ecosystem processes within terrestrial biosphere models.


Conceptual breakdown of the tasks and study areas of the TES-SFA
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.