Conceptual Model

In our Conceptual Framework, human activities are changing multiple interacting environmental drivers (Theme 1) that alter ecological systems. At CDR LTER, we focus on plant resources, ( CO2, Nitrogen, soil moisture), climate (temperature and precipitation), biodiversity (species, phylogenetic, and functional richness and composition at multiple trophic levels), and disturbance (fire and changes in land use and cover). These environmental drivers interact to affect the attributes and processes at organism, population, community, and ecosystem scales. For instance, increased N deposition, fire suppression, climate variability, as well as declining biodiversity influence processes at CDR such as resource acquisition at organism scales, demographic processes in populations, species interactions in communities, and fluxes of elements and energy in ecosystems, with implications for attributes including traits, population structure, community composition, and biomass and element pools across site-level environmental gradients (Theme 2). Such changes in structure further influence how systems respond to changing conditions over long time scales (Theme 3).