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Global Change Research Community

The global change research community consists of teams of scientists investigating the many changes occurring on Earth as a result of natural and human causes - the best known of these is global warming. To study the complex, highly interconnected processes that contribute to, and result from, global change, the global change research community is taking a leadership role to assemble global data sets from satellites such as the NOAA weather satellites, Landsat, and the Japanese radar satellite, JERS-1. These efforts have proven difficult, time consuming, and costly. However, the use of data from earth-observation satellites is the only means possible to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on the location, condition, and changes in the Earth's forests.

The global change science community has three primary objectives from GOFC-GOLD:

  1. To decrease the cost and time required to assemble global data sets and the information that can be derived from them;
  2. To increase the quality of the derived information, by improving the processing of data from existing satellites, and by introducing sensors that can provide better information;
  3. To provide networks which facilitate the acquisition, processing, and sharing of information, and also facilitate international collaboration.

The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, coordinates much of the global change research being carried out. The IGBP has a number of "core projects", including Land Use and Cover Change (LUCC), Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE), Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle (BAHC), and International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC). The execution of IGBP Core Projects is assisted by three supporting Framework Activities: IGBP Data and Information System (IGBP-DIS), Global Analysis, Interpretation and Modelling (GAIM), and Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START).

International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists. Its objectives are to promote international cooperation in forestry and forest products research. IUFRO aspires to bring together scientific knowledge about all aspects of trees and forests through the cooperative efforts of its worldwide member research organizations and scientists. Through this means it seeks to promote the sustainable use of forest ecosystems to provide multiple benefits for local people and for society as a whole.

The European Forest Institute (EFI) mission is to promote, conduct and co-operate in research of forests, forestry and forest products at the pan-European level. They make the results of the research known to all interested parties, notably in the areas of policy formulation and implementation, in order to promote the conservation and sustainable management of forests in Europe.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) will improve the management of the world's natural and managed ecosystems by helping to meet the needs of decision-makers (in governments and the private sector) and the public for peer-reviewed, policy-relevant scientific information on the condition of ecosystems, consequences of ecosystem change, and options for response. The MA will provide information and also build human and institutional capacity to provide information. A diverse group of experts from the natural and social sciences, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector will undertake the assessment over a four-year period, beginning in April 2001.

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