Next year, scientists will embark on a 30-year initiative to track changes in the country’s ecosystems.
The research comes at a time when scientists are observing unprecedented extreme temperatures, pressure from insects, heavy rains and shifting growing zones.
“Changes are progressing. And whether we understand them and know how to adapt to them ... is going to be more and more critical, especially, I think, when it comes to water and agriculture, whether our forests are going to burn or not,” said Courtney Meier, a lead research scientist dealing with plant ecology for the project and who works for Battelle in Boulder, Colorado. “And so if we can understand those impacts, then we can make decisions about it. But if we don’t even understand what’s happening, then that puts us in the dark.”
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