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Duke University

We propose to support the revision and implementation of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Conservation Blueprint by integrating its Ecosystem Indicators into a structured decision support system that makes explicit how the Indicators are interrelated and how these will respond to management and policy interventions aimed at improving the conservation status of the South Atlantic region. Our specific objectives are to (1) develop ecological production functions that predict theecological impacts of selected conservation actions relative to current conditions, and to propagate these impacts through other affected systems or functions; (2) codify protocols for updating and curating geospatial...
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Clean water is important for a variety of uses, including drinking, recreation, and as habitat for aquatic species. Nonpoint-source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, and pesticides from agricultural runoff, is a major cause of impaired water quality in the United States . Vegetation and soil in natural land cover help to remove pollutants from runoff water before it reaches streams and other waterways by slowing water flow and physically trapping sediment. To assess the spatial distribution of water purification potential in the southeastern United States, we mapped the demand for purification as the total area of agricultural land and the supply of natural land cover in the flowpath over which water moves...
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Disturbances are mechanisms that mediate ecosystem changes in response to climate-driven vegetation changes. While many studies have looked at the effect of fire on ecosystem components, few have considered the response of fire to climate and vegetation change. The effects that past climate and vegetation shifts have on fire regimes and the potential consequences to ecosystem change are examined here. Charcoal and pollen analyses were used to determine geographic and temporal patterns of past fire regimes in the North American western boreal forest. Seventeen high-resolution records from north-central Canada (NWT and Manitoba), interior Alaska, and northwestern Ontario were analyzed for large charcoal particles...
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