Evaluation and prediction of terrestrial ecosystem function: climate mitigation and biodiversity

Terrestrial plants, as well as oceans, absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and play an important role in the mitigation of a warming climate. They also provide various ecosystem services to local societies. Toward sustainable societies, it is important to conserve terrestrial ecosystems in an appropriate manner and take advantage of utilizing ecosystem functions. JAMSTEC is working on research themes to understand the present and future of terrestrial ecosystems under on-going environmental and climate changes with particular interests in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. To do so, we have continued long-term meteorological and ecosystem monitoring in Alaska and Eastern Siberia using monitoring towers. We have also used Earth observing satellite data to detect the geographical distribution of plant status and water conditions that limit plant growth and habitat conditions. The data we obtain will be used to evaluate how terrestrial plants are influenced by permafrost degradation, aridification, and wildfires. In addition to areas in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, we also have focused on natural and plantation forests in Japan and Southeast Asia. Leaf duration and plant biomass data are important information as a proxy of biodiversity. These variables will be monitored at regional to country scales and used for the development of a simulation model. Through the understanding of ecosystem functions and services in the societies, we provide beneficial information toward future land use and conservation policymaking. By 2030, we are committed to contributing to SDGs 13 and 15.

Greenhouse gas flux monitoring in an Alaskan forest
Simulated future plant and environmental changes in East Siberia (upper figures: averages from 1996 to 2005, lower figures: averages from 2091 to 2100)
A tropical rain forest in Borneo, Malaysia

Environmental Geochemical Cycle Research Group, Research and Development Center for Global Change (RCGC)
Institute of Arctic Climate and Environment Change Research (IACE) Arctic Geochemical Cycle Research Unit