U.S. Department of the Interior

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Geological Survey (USGS)

The earth's surface does not exist in a static, unchanging "natural" condition interrupted by the work of humans, but rather it is a dynamic system of which humans are a part. Understanding changes to the Earth's surface and the underlying processes that induce them has enormous impact on how society responds to these changes and, ultimately, the costs of responding to change. United States Geological Survey (USGS) Global Change Research activities strive to achieve a whole-system understanding of the interrelationships among Earth surface processes, ecological systems, and human activities. Activities of the program focus on documenting, analyzing, and modeling the character of past and present environments and the geological, biological, hydrological, and geochemical processes involved in environmental change so that future environmental changes and impacts can be anticipated.

USGS research is conducted in cooperation and partnership with other agencies and academic collaborators. In direct support of the Carbon Cycle Science Program, USGS activities include integrated studies in: carbon sequestration in sediments; landscape dynamics, land use and vegetation change; the fate of carbon in high-latitude landscapes; exchanges of greenhouse gases, water vapor, and heat at the Earth's surface; monitoring and modeling carbon distribution and flux; sensitive species, ecological and biogeochemical change; and societal implications and human adaptations of ecological impacts resulting from global change.