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Ecosystems & Society
Studying Interactions Among Climate, Land Use, Ecosystem Services and Society
Across the state of New Hampshire, researchers are studying the environment in an effort to support better management of the state's natural resources, so that population growth and development proceed in a sustainable fashion, without threatening the quality of life that makes New Hampshire a desirable place to live and visit.
A massive data collection effort is underway through a statewide network of ecological sensors via satellite, aircraft, buried in the ground and submerged in streams. These sensors are currently monitoring forest quality, water quality, soil quality, snow behavior, and more. Researchers are also working to design ecological and economic models that will use this body of data to show the consequences of a variety of land use changes for the state.
What Are Ecosystem Services?
Ecosystems and NH's natural resources provide a wide range of services that are critical to the people who live here and throughout New England. Ecosystem services are the processes by which the environment produces resources (ones we often take for granted) such as clean water, timber, habitat for fisheries and pollination of native and agricultural plants. These services bring significant benefits to the region’s economy and are central to the well-being of its residents. Ensuring that these benefits can be sustained into the future will require improved understanding of basic ecosystem processes and their interactions with changes in climate, land management and the populations they support.
The Research Team
The Ecosystems & Society research team, including hydrologists, climatologists, social scientists, environmental engineers, geochemists, and ecologists, are all working together, some for the first time ever, to learn more about ecosystem processes.
The team includes over 100 faculty, staff and students in a partnership between eight New Hampshire colleges and universities, as well as a network of more than 60 volunteer scientists, including school teachers, non-profit organizations and state agencies.
"It's critical for the state to broaden and diversify the capacity to conduct research; to support business, industry and society with a workforce educated in science, engineering and mathematics; and to improve communication between scientists and the public."
-- NH EPSCoR, Ecosystems & Society Strategic Plan