tems, and agriculture, and determine the impacts on economic and social systems.

  • Develop a scientific foundation for evaluating the potential human responses to global change, their effectiveness and cost, and the basis for deciding among the range of options.

  • Understand the underlying social processes or driving forces behind the human relationship to the global environment, such as human attitudes and behavior, population dynamics, institutions, and economic and technological transformations.

Recommendation 1: Research priorities and resource allocations must be reassessed, with the objective of tying available resources directly to the major unanswered Scientific Questions identified in this report. The USGCRP 's research strategy should be centered on sharply defined and effectively executed programs and should recognize the essential need for focused observations, both space-based and in situ, to test scientific hypotheses and document change.

An additional finding flows from the report and Recommendation 1.

Finding 1.3: In spite of the initial efforts to encompass a broad view of the Earth system, certain critical research areas continue to suffer either because their relationship with global change research was not clearly articulated initially or because they cross over disciplinary boundaries of environmental science. For example, the important issue of biodiversity is not adequately addressed by the USGCRP. Biodiversity research is often quite germane to global change research (and vice versa)—for example, see Finding 1.2a—and there are important interactions between global change and biodiversity loss, but biodiversity research also has major components and activities that are beyond the scope of global change research. The U.S. science community has been unable to resolve related boundary issues. Because the CGCR is recommending a sharpening of focus for the USGCRP, the issue of addressing more fully the scientific issues posed by biodiversity is more likely to be left unresolved unless there is a deliberate effort by the USGCRP agencies and the NRC to help resolve this problem. The emergence of the DIVERSITAS program demonstrates that it is beginning to be addressed better internationally.

Crosscutting Themes

Two common linked themes emerge clearly from the identified Research Imperatives, Scientific Questions, and associated observations:

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