TM8 | A Scoping Study for a NASA Tropical Forest Terrestrial Ecology Campaign
A Scoping Study for a NASA Tropical Forest Terrestrial Ecology Campaign
Convener: Elsa Ordway
Tue, 16 Apr, 19:00–20:00 (CEST)
Room 2.44
Tue, 19:00
"The tropics are experiencing dramatic changes as a result of climate change and land-use change. Shifts in carbon flux dynamics, water cycling, and species composition are resulting in feedbacks with globally important consequences for biodiversity, climate change, and food production.

Yet, we also know that the tropical forests are not uniform. Their species diversity, climate, soils, and human impact vary enormously from the Americas to Africa to Asia. As a result, tropical forest ecosystems are already showing evidence of varying responses to climate and land-use change. However, these differences remain highly uncertain and poorly understood.
PANGEA is a NASA funded effort to scope a 6- to 9-year multi-scale campaign in the tropics focused on improving understanding of the heterogeneous responses to climate change, with broad research focus on biodiversity, biogeochemical cycling, and food security.

We have one year to work with the international research and end-user communities to outline a possible campaign in the tropics. At the end of 2024, we will submit a white paper to NASA detailing our proposal. If selected, the campaign would support coordinated fieldwork and airborne remote sensing data collection that will inform our use of satellite remote sensing and modeling to better understand the change dynamics in the tropics. We will work across NASA programs (carbon cycle science, biodiversity, hydrology, applied science programs on agriculture and disaster resilience, and more) as well as with other U.S. and international funding agencies and donors. Although there is no guarantee that NASA will support the recommended project, this is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to assemble multi-disciplinary research communities to align efforts and outline a focused campaign.

We invite you to participate in a Town Hall meeting to discuss this opportunity.

The general science objectives of the campaign are to:

1. Quantify similarities and differences within and among tropical regions in forest species composition, structure, function, and biogeochemical cycling,

2. Advance understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of tropical forest ecosystems to global change across the tropics, and

3. Provide the scientific and regionally specific basis for informed decision-making to guide societal responses to climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity conservation at local to international levels.

A coordinated multidisciplinary team is essential for this campaign, as is capacity building and equitable engagement with international collaborators."


  • Elsa Ordway, UCLA, United States of America