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    One of the great realizations of the past half-century in both biological and Earth sciences is that, throughout geologic time, life has been shaping the Earth’s surface and regulating the chemistry of its oceans and atmosphere (eg Berkner and Marshall 1964). In the present Anthropocene Era (Crutzen and Steffen 2003; Ruddiman 2003), humanity is directly shaping the biosphere and physical environment, triggering potentially devastating and currently unpredictable consequences (Doney and Schimel 2007). While subtle interactions between the Earth’s orbit, ocean circulation, and the biosphere have dominated climate feedbacks for eons, now human perturbations to the cycles of CO2, other trace gases, and aerosols regulate the pace of climate change. Accompanying the biogeochemical perturbations are the vast changes resulting from biodiversity loss and a profound rearrangement of the biosphere due to species movements and invasions. Scientists and managers of biological resources require a stronger basis for forecasting the consequences of such changes.

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    Keller, Michael; Schimel, David S.; Hargrove, W. William; Hoffman, Forrest M. 2008. A continental strategy for the national ecological observatory network. The Ecological Society of America: 282-284

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