interrelationships between surficial processes that shape the land and the life that inhabits it presents a critical challenge for managing land resources and becomes even more important as we attempt to forecast the effects of future climate change.

Understanding how Earth’s life and geological environment arrived at their present state, and how they interacted in doing so, constitutes a major intellectual challenge. Meeting this challenge will help us understand how life will respond to present-day environmental change, but Earth scientists will have to develop new research and educational partnerships with biologists and atmospheric scientists. The search for life on extrasolar planets will similarly depend on better understanding of biogeochemical influences on atmospheric composition here at home.

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