cause this is critical for understanding the consequences of future climatic changes.

  • Sustained monitoring of freshwater and marine ecosystems should be expanded.

  • Alternative fire-monitoring and fire-management approaches should be studied, such as those involving improved coordination with seasonal climate forecasts, fuel data information, and tree thinning practices.

  • Monitoring of wildlife diseases should be increased and collaboration between climate-change ecologists and the infectious-disease researchers should be encouraged.

It will also be important to link monitoring efforts in research institutions with databases at the National Wildlife Health Center of the US Geological Survey, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An increased understanding of the important thresholds and nonlinearities in economic and ecological systems will enable better prediction of effects of abrupt climate change. This report has emphasized that the most severe effects of abrupt climate change will occur when thresholds in climatic, ecological, and economic systems are crossed. A research priority is to develop a list of potential thresholds and feedbacks important to abrupt climate change, to quantify the location of the thresholds and strengths of feedbacks, and to improve the monitoring of systems related to these thresholds.

It is also important to develop measures of nonmarket economic sectors. Market accounts have been intensively studied and developed, but economic measures of nonmarket sectors have lagged far behind those of market sectors. A recent study by the National Research Council recommended the development of environmental and nonmarket accounts on a priority basis to improve management and understanding of nonmarket systems (Nordhaus and Kokkelenberg, 1999). Better measures of nonmarket sectors would provide necessary data for understanding the vulnerability of such systems to abrupt climate change.

One of the major concerns about the potential for ecosystem adaptation to climate change is the fragmentation of landscapes and ecosystems. A comprehensive land-use census is needed (NRC, 2000) to monitor the fragmentation of landscape and ecosystems and to provide information for helping reduce their vulnerability to abrupt climate change. There is no comprehensive census of land use in the United States and other countries. If a



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement