In response to worldwide environmental crises driven by declines in the availability or quality of freshwater, ecologists and water resource economists are searching for ways to collaborate in order to guide the difficult choices facing the public, land managers, and politicians. Scientists are challenged to detect and quantify both the drivers of ecosystem change and ecosystem responses, including positive and negative feedbacks that will determine the future states of inland waters. Predicting ecosystem shifts over large temporal and spatial scales has proven difficult or impossible, even in well-studied systems, where the drivers of change are known. New remote-sensing, monitoring, and tracer technologies, however, offer glimpses of watershed processes at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales. Several interdisciplinary groups, including scientists, information specialists, and engineers, are exploring the best ways to design sampling schemes using these new technologies, to interpret the extensive, spatially explicit dynamic data they will yield, and to use these data to formulate models useful for forecasting. Economists, in turn, can use this information to design management and policy tools for sustaining critical ecosystem components and processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics