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Coniferous forest biome : Year 2 Proposal

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  • This proposal by the Coniferous Biome investigators requests support for the second year of a highly integrated series of investigations within the Analysis of Ecosystem program of the United States effort under the International Biological Program. The program for the Coniferous Forest Biome has been approved by the U.S. Executive Committee for the IBP as an integrated research program in cooperation with other programs in progress or under development for the Analysis of Ecosystems. The proposed study is one of six which will collectively form a reference modeling system to cover the important ecosystems of North America. Coniferous forests occupy about one third of the land area of the western United States, including Alaska. The products from this land area, such as wood, water, forage, fish, and wildlife, are most important to the physical and economic well-being of the nation. In addition, large areas are used as recreational sites by increasing numbers of people. The capacity of the land to produce various goods and services varies greatly from area to area. Arguments about the management of these lands have been prominent in the literature of land management sciences (such as forestry and fisheries) and ecology for many years. These highlight problems such as single- vs. multiple-purpose use, the balance between various uses, the land's basic productive capacity, and management procedures best suited to maintaining and increasing it. More recently fundamental questions have been raised about the impact of widespread and previously accepted practices, such as clearcutting, on environmental quality and long-term productive potential of the land. We know that some of the lands are more vulnerable to ill-considered use than others and many areas are being subjected to extreme modification by urban developments. We believe that a better understanding of the forest ecosystem, ;,hick is the goal of this proposal, will provide a basis for more intelligent management and use of these lands and thereby will have important social consequences. In light of the seriousness of the questions raised, the research proposed can therefore claim an urgency as well as scientific and practical values.
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