VR-BTF; Back to the Future: Decadal time scale change in Arctic and Antarctic terrestrial ecosystem

VR-BTF will coordinate an endorsed International Polar Year project that includes over 50 environmental networks and projects and, with a sister US-BTF project, will provide a synthesis of documented and georeferenced environmental change in the Polar Regions during past decades. BTF projects will re-visit a wide range of International Biological Programme (1964-74) and other old sites in both polar regions and re-measure ecosystem attributes such as biomass, vegetation composition, species abundance, population structure, decomposition and photosynthetic rates. VR-BTF?s research will focus on the Abisko area where it will rescue and archive old data, analyse under-exploited long-term monitoring data on changes in environmental characteristics, and re-measure old plots and experiments, particularly at the IBP Stordalen site. In addition, unique IBP bi-polar measurements will be re-made during site visits to Disko Island and South Georgia. VR-BTF will make new site-specific baseline measurements such as trace gas fluxes, and it will also provide validation for both the remote sensing and modelling communities as well as taking samples for other projects to maximise investments in site-visits. The project also facilitates detection of future changes by preserving legacies of old sites, data and environmental records; by passing knowledge between generations of researchers; and by precisely recording the locations of re-located old sites with modern Differential GPS technology.

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