What is it about?

The Anthropocene is accelerating ecological and anthropogenic disturbance to ecosystems. Biogeography studies spatial patterns of natural phenomena, and Critical Zone Science studies the temporal rates and processes of physical environmental change. By integrating Biogeography and Critical Zone Science, we have the opportunity to improve our understanding of the effects of disturbance on physical and ecological components of the ecosystem across geographic space and varying time scales.

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Why is it important?

We provide a review of Critical Zone Science applied to the Anthropocene, and illustrate how the time- and space-dependent features of disturbance can influence the inputs and outputs to Earth's Critical Zone. We review how a set of disturbances that characterize the Anthropocene (wildfire, urbanization, reforestation, drought, and increases in global temperature) affect Critical Zone fluxes (solar radiation, carbon, precipitation, mineral supply, evapotranspiration, runoff, baseflow, and denudation).


Writing this article was an interesting process, because it blends the features of a review article with an argument about how Anthropocene studies might be productively approached from the related but poorly integrated sciences of Biogeography and Critical Zone Science. The research team were all graduate students at the time, guided by Greg Barron-Gafford, and we went through quite a few rounds of drafts and editing before settling on our central argument and supporting evidence.

Dr. Jesse Minor
Maine Department of Marine Resources

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Critical Zone Science in the Anthropocene: Opportunities for biogeographic and ecological theory and praxis to drive earth science integration, Progress in Physical Geography Earth and Environment, July 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0309133319864268.
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