Meeting on Global Vegetation Change

Network News Spring 1988, Vol. 3 No. 1
Network News

A meeting on Concepts and Modeling of Global Vegetation Change was held on April 1 7-22, 1988 at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. This meeting was the initial meeting in a project, “toward an ecologically sustainable development of the biosphere’ led by Dr. Allen M. Solomon and R.E. Munn. This project is to develop systematic policy analyses for use in examining development implications of potential global environmental concerns and includes 3 activities:

  1. Creation of a mathematical model of global vegetation response to changing climate, population and land use
  2. Assembly of a reference set of scenarios of possible future changes in global climate and land use
  3. Implementation of a series of policy exercises using the model and reference scenarios

The meeting in April focused on definition of the nature of a dynamic vegetation model at the global scale. Specific subject areas for discussion were:

  1. Policy analysis and issues, i.e., the kinds of policy questions that the model has to be designed to answer
  2. Remote sensing
  3. Geographic climatology and pedology, i.e., characterization of the basic environmental constraints on vegetation and land use
  4. Agricultural geography and climatology, i.e., definition of the natural geographic range limits of major crop species and their climatic controls
  5. Biogeography, i.e., consideration of the differing vegetation classification schemes currently available for ordering global classification schemes currently available for ordering global vegetation
  6. Plant ecology
  7. Ecological and geographic models, i.e., identification of the most appropriate approaches

The meeting was chaired by Allen Solomon and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and IIASA. It is planned to publish results of the meeting in the form of a book. Additional information on the meeting and on the project can be obtained by writing Dr. Solomon at IIASA (A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria).

This work is part of a larger 1988 environment research program planned by IIASA for 1988. Projects on acid rain (under the direction of Roderick Shaw of Canada) and decision support systems for large international rivers (under the direction of Gyoergy Kovacs of Hungary) are also underway. These are supported by an environmental monitoring program led by Michael Antonovsky of USSR). Recently completed activities include projects on integrated assessments of climate impacts and on dendrochronology and applications.