Christopher B Field

Christopher B Field
Carnegie Institution for Science · Department of Global Ecology

About

480
Publications
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90,893
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Publications

Publications (480)
Article
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Background Anthropogenic activities have increased the inputs of atmospheric reactive nitrogen (N) into terrestrial ecosystems, affecting soil carbon stability and microbial communities. Previous studies have primarily examined the effects of nitrogen deposition on microbial taxonomy, enzymatic activities, and functional processes. Here, we examine...
Preprint
Background: Anthropogenic activities have increased the inputs of atmospheric reactive nitrogen (N) into terrestrial ecosystems, affecting soil carbon stability and microbial communities. Previous studies have primarily examined the effects of nitrogen deposition on microbial taxonomy, enzymatic activities, and functional processes. Here, we examin...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we describe a model of C 3 , C 3 –C 4 intermediate, and C 4 photosynthesis that is designed to facilitate quantitative analysis of physiological measurements. The model relates the factors limiting electron transport and carbon metabolism, the regulatory processes that coordinate these metabolic domains, and the responses to light, carbon dio...
Article
Harnessing nature-based climate solutions (NbCS) to help simultaneously achieve climate and conservation goals is an attractive win-win. The contribution of NbCS to climate action relies on both biogeochemical potential and the ability to overcome environmental, economic and governance constraints for implementation. As such, estimates of additiona...
Article
Eddy covariance measurement systems provide direct observation of the exchange of greenhouse gases between ecosystems and the atmosphere, but have only occasionally been intentionally applied to quantify the carbon dynamics associated with specific climate mitigation strategies. Natural climate solutions (NCS) harness the photosynthetic power of ec...
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Restrictions to reduce human interaction have helped to avoid greater suffering and death from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have also created socioeconomic hardship. This disruption is unprecedented in the modern era of global observing networks, pervasive sensing and large-scale tracking of human mobility and behaviour, creating a unique test bed fo...
Article
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The potential links between climate and conflict are well studied, yet disagreement about the specific mechanisms and their significance for societies persists. Here, we build on assessment of the relationship between climate and organized armed conflict to define crosscutting priorities for future directions of research. They include (1) deepening...
Article
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Forests have considerable potential to help mitigate human-caused climate change and provide society with many cobenefits. However, climate-driven risks may fundamentally compromise forest carbon sinks in the 21st century. Here, we synthesize the current understanding of climate-driven risks to forest stability from fire, drought, biotic agents, an...
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Community wildfire preparedness programs are an important means of protecting residents living in hazardous areas like the wildland-urban interface. Different programs rely on various sets of drivers, such as legal enforcement or engaged citizens. Here, sociopolitical motivations and barriers for participation are evaluated in a state-recommended,...
Article
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Topoclimatic diversity within forest landscapes can underlie variation in water availability, which may correspond to patterns in habitat suitability of tree species with differing hydrologic niches. However, the trade‐off between the collection of data at a fine grain size over large spatial extents has limited comprehensive analyses of landscape...
Article
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Prescribed burns to reduce fuel can mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfires. However, multiple barriers limit their deployment, resulting in their underutilization, particularly in forests. We evaluate sociopolitical barriers and opportunities for greater deployment in California, an area recurrently affected by catastrophic fires. We use a mix...
Article
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Retreat from some areas will become unavoidable under intensifying climate change. Existing deployments of managed retreat are at small scale compared to potential future needs, leaving open questions about where, when, and how retreat under climate change will occur. Here, we analyze more than 40,000 voluntary buyouts of flood-prone properties in...
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Fire is a crucial event regulating the structure and functioning of many ecosystems. Yet few studies have focused on how fire affects taxonomic and functional diversity of soil microbial communities, along with changes in plant communities and soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics. Here, we analyze these effects in a grassland ecosystem nine‐mo...
Article
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Elevated CO2 (eCO2) experiments provide critical information to quantify the effects of rising CO2 on vegetation1–6. Many eCO2 experiments suggest that nutrient limitations modulate the local magnitude of the eCO2 effect on plant biomass1,3,5, but the global extent of these limitations has not been empirically quantified, complicating projections o...
Article
Soil microbial communities regulate and respond to key biogeochemical cycles and influence plant community patterns. However, microbial communities also respond to disturbance events, motivating an assessment of the relative roles of decadal multi‐factor global change, disturbance, and plant community structure on microbial community responses. We...
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Research findings on the relationship between climate and conflict are diverse and contested. Here we assess the current understanding of the relationship between climate and conflict, based on the structured judgments of experts from diverse disciplines. These experts agree that climate has affected organized armed conflict within countries. Howev...
Article
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Terrestrial photosynthesis is the largest and one of the most uncertain fluxes in the global carbon cycle. We find that NIRV, a remotely sensed measure of canopy structure, accurately predicts photosynthesis at FLUXNET validation sites at monthly to annual timescales (R² = 0.68), without the need for difficult to acquire information about environme...
Article
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Evaluation of observed sea level rise impacts to date has emphasized sea level extremes, such as those from tropical cyclones. Far less is known about the consequences of more frequent high-tide flooding. Empirical analysis of the disruption caused by high-tide floods, also called nuisance or sunny-day floods, is challenging due to the short durati...
Article
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We assess scientific evidence that has emerged since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 Endangerment Finding for six well-mixed greenhouse gases, and find that this new evidence lends increased support to the conclusion that these gases pose a danger to public health and welfare. Newly available evidence about a wide range of observed...
Article
Climate change mitigation policies can have significant co-benefits for air quality, including benefits to disadvantaged communities experiencing substantial air pollution. However, the effects of these mitigation policies have rarely been evaluated with respect to their influence on disadvantaged communities. Here we assess the air pollution and e...
Preprint
Terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) is both the largest and most uncertain flux within the global carbon cycle. Much of this uncertainty results from the fact that GPP is onerous to measure and is only reliably monitored at roughly 100 canopy-scale sites scattered across the globe. Sparsity of consistent observations of GPP at the site-level...
Article
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Analysis of long‐term trends in forest carbon stocks is challenged by interactions among climate change, wildfire and other disturbances, forest management actions, and heterogeneous vegetation responses. For such circumstances where complex interactions make it difficult to encompass the full range of processes in any one mode of analysis, expert...
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Some energy services and industrial processes—such as long-distance freight transport, air travel, highly reliable electricity, and steel and cement manufacturing—are particularly difficult to provide without adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Rapidly growing demand for these services, combined with long lead times for technology develo...
Article
On Arctic coasts, erosion is limited by the presence of nearshore sea ice, which creates a protective barrier from storms. In Kivalina, an Alaskan Inupiaq Inuit community, decreasing seasonal sea-ice extent and a lengthening of the open-water season may be resulting in fall storms that 1) generate higher, longer, and more destructive waves, and 2)...
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Understanding the magnitude of and uncertainty around soil carbon flux (SCF) is important in light of California’s efforts to increase SCF (from the atmosphere to soils) for climate change mitigation. SCF depends, to a great extent, on how soils are managed. Here, we summarize the results of an elicitation of soil science and carbon cycle experts a...
Article
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Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is a negative-emissions technology that may play a crucial role in climate change mitigation. BECCS relies on the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) following bioenergy production to remove and reliably sequester atmospheric CO2Previous BECCS deployment assessments have largely overlo...
Article
Through integrative assessment, experts evaluate the state of knowledge on complex problems relevant to societies. In this review, we take stock of recent advances and challenges, rooting our analysis in climate change assessment. In particular, we consider four priorities in assessment: (a) integrating diverse evidence including quantitative and q...
Article
Are forest offsets an effective way to address climate change, and do they provide other benefits? In some climate-change mitigation policies, industries and individuals can purchase offsets that compensate for their greenhouse-gas emissions by reducing emissions elsewhere. However, offsets may undermine mitigation efforts, by potentially giving ca...
Article
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Assessment evaluates accumulated knowledge and its limits. It informs and ideally empowers decisions and actions on complex, contested issues with persistent uncertainties. Applying rigorous expert judgment is an important dimension of assessment. Here we evaluate advances and challenges in approaches to expert judgment in the Intergovernmental Pan...
Article
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Global estimates of terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) remain highly uncertain, despite decades of satellite measurements and intensive in situ monitoring. We report a new approach for quantifying the near-infrared reflectance of terrestrial vegetation (NIRV). NIRV provides a foundation for a new approach to estimate GPP that consistently u...
Article
Managed retreat is a potentially important climate change adaptation option, providing an alternative to structural protection or accommodation measures to manage natural hazard risk. However, its application faces challenges given the projected scale of climate-induced displacement and the difficulties of resettlement. We evaluate the drivers, bar...
Article
Numerous studies have demonstrated that soil respiration rates increase under experimental warming, although the long-term, multiyear dynamics of this feedback are not well constrained. Less is known about the effects of single, punctuated events in combination with other longer-duration anthropogenic influences on the dynamics of soil carbon (C) l...
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Global changes in climate, atmospheric composition, and pollutants are altering ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. Among approaches for predicting ecosystem responses, long-term observations and manipulative experiments can be powerful approaches for resolving single-factor and interactive effects of global changes on key metrics s...
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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) member governments approve each report's summary for policymakers (SPM) by consensus, discussing and agreeing on each sentence in a plenary session with scientist authors. A defining feature of IPCC assessment, the governmental approval process builds joint ownership of current knowledge by scientist...
Article
Discussions on a long-term global goal to limit climate change, in the form of an upper limit to warming, were only partially resolved at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Paris, 2015. Such a political agreement must be informed by scientific knowledge. One way to communicate the costs and benefits of policie...
Article
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The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) identifies key risks in a changing climate to inform judgments about danger from climate change and to empower responses. In this article, we introduce the innovations and implications of its approach, which extends analysis across sectors and regions, and consider relevance for future research and assessmen...
Article
Solar energy installations in arid and semi-arid regions are rapidly increasing due to technological advances and policy support. Although solar energy provides several benefits such as reduction of greenhouse gases, reclamation of degraded land, and improved quality of life in developing countries, the deployment of large-scale renewable energy in...
Article
Future intensification of Amazon drought resulting from climate change may cause increased fire activity, tree mortality, and emissions of carbon to the atmosphere across large areas of Amazonia. To provide a basis for addressing these issues, we examine properties of recent and future meteorological droughts in the Amazon in 35 climate models part...
Conference Paper
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Harvest loss consists of grain that is produced but not successfully removed from the field. There are several major categories of loss: 1.Pre-harvest loss – These losses occurs when insect, animal, or weather eliminates grain from the reach of the harvester. Examples of this loss include insect or animal consumption and weather that knocks grain t...
Article
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The projected responses of forest ecosystems to warming and drying associated with twenty-first-century climate change vary widely from resiliency to widespread tree mortality. Current vegetation models lack the ability to account for mortality of overstorey trees during extreme drought owing to uncertainties in mechanisms and thresholds causing mo...
Article
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The deployment of renewable energy systems, such as solar energy, to achieve universal access to electricity, heat and transportation, and to mitigate climate change is arguably the most exigent challenge facing humans today(1-4). However, the goal of rapidly developing solar energy systems is complicated by land and environmental constraints, incr...
Book
This latest Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will again form the standard reference for all those concerned with climate change and its consequences, including students, researchers and policy makers in environmental science, meteorology, climatology, biology, ecology, atmospheric chemistry and environ...
Article
Full-text available
Vegetation patterns at the landscape scale are shaped by myriad processes and historical events, and understanding the relative importance of these processes aids in predicting current and future plant distributions. To quantify the influence of different environmental and anthropogenic patterns on observed vegetation patterns, we used simultaneous...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Soil moisture has significant impact on the vegetation of an area, often determining the species composition and relative species presence due to limitations in plants’ ability to tolerate low-moisture conditions. These basic concepts are applied to a California grassland system in which both invasive species and nativ...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Plant-herbivore interactions influence tropical rainforest biodiversity, where stable abiotic conditions facilitate a greater role for predatory-prey interactions in driving evolution. Further, niche theory suggests that herbivores shape communities by altering competitive dynamics between plant species. Recent studies...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Solar energy is an archetype renewable energy system with great potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when substituted for carbon-intensive energy. Utility-scale solar energy (USSE; i.e., > 1 MW) necessitates large quantities of space making the efficient use of land for USSE development critical to realizing it...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Grassland fire is an influential ecosystem disturbance that may change and reallocate plant biomass, alter nutrient cycling, and potentially influence soil microbial communities. The frequency and intensity of grassland fire is likely to increase under regional and global climate change. However, so far, it is still un...
Article
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We develop and validate a high-resolution three-dimensional model of light and air temperature for a tropical forest interior in Hawaii along an elevation gradient varying greatly in structure but maintaining a consistent species composition. Our microclimate models integrate high-resolution airborne waveform light detection and ranging data (LiDAR...
Chapter
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Human interference with the climate system is occurring. [WGI AR5 2.2, 6.3, 10.3-6, 10.9] Climate change poses risks for human and natural systems (Figure TS.1). The assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) evaluates how patterns of risks and potential...
Article
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Secondary forests cover large areas of the tropics and play an important role in the global carbon cycle. During secondary forest succession, simultaneous changes occur among stand structural attributes, soil properties, and species composition. Most studies classify tree species into categories based on their regeneration requirements. We use a hi...
Article
Solar energy installations in deserts are on the rise, fueled by technological advances and policy changes. Deserts, with a combination of high solar radiation and availability of large areas unusable for crop production are ideal locations for large solar installations. Yet for efficient power generation, solar infrastructures use large amounts of...
Article
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Understanding the pathways through which drought stress kills woody vegetation can improve projections of the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and carbon-cycle feedbacks. Continuous in situ measurements of whole trees during drought and as trees die hold promise to illuminate physiological pathways but are relatively rare. We monitored leaf...
Book
This latest Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) again forms the standard scientific reference for all those concerned with the environmental and social consequences of climate change, including students and researchers across the natural and social sciences, professionals in medicine and law, and practiti...
Article
Full-text available
As utility-scale solar energy (USSE) systems increase in size and numbers globally, there is a growing interest in understanding environmental interactions between solar energy development and land-use decisions. Maximizing the efficient use of land for USSE is one of the major challenges in realizing the full potential of solar energy, however, th...