NCEAS Project 2220

Ecological Forecasting

  • David Tilman

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Workshop17th—19th May 1999Participant List  

Members Only Area


We will use both extrapolations of historical data and underlying driving mechanisms to forecast regional and global ecological conditions in the years 2050 and 2100. We will base extrapolations on 30 to 100 yearlong time series of (1) agrochemical inputs, (2) agricultural nitrogen and phosphorus loading, (3) land use patterns, (4) exotic invasive species, and (5) marine fisheries. In addition, by determining the relationships between these variables and human population and consumption trends, we will make independent projections of the likely levels of human impacts in 2050 and 2100. Next, we will interpret these projections by analyzing their likely ecological implications. Our results will be reported in two papers. The first would be a Policy Forum piece for Science or Nature. The second would be a full-length article. We will analyze data and discuss their implications in a straight-forward manner that emphasizes (1) the need for society to better understand the trajectory implied by current policy and (2) the scientific excitement and challenges inherent in ecological forecasting.

Joe Fargione and Brian Wolff, Ph.D. students at the University of Minnesota, have been contributing to this effort since September by capturing data sets and using them for these projections and will participate in the meeting in Santa Barbara and join in as authors.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Data Set D'Antonio, Carla M. 2008. Ecological Forecasting Trade Data. (Online version)
Journal Article Levine, Jonathan M.; D'Antonio, Carla M. 2003. Forecasting biological invasions with increasing international trade. Conservation Biology. Vol: 17(1). Pages 322-326.
Journal Article Tilman, David; Fargione, Joseph E.; Wolff, Brian; D'Antonio, Carla M.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Howarth, Robert W.; Schindler, David W.; Schlesinger, William H.; Simberloff, Daniel S.; Swackhamer, Deborah. 2001. Forecasting agriculturally driven global environmental change. Science. Vol: 292. Pages 281-284.
Journal Article Tilman, David; Cassman, Kenneth G.; Matson, Pamela; Naylor, Roz; Polasky, Stephen. 2002. Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices. Nature. Vol: 418. Pages 671-677.