Understanding Landscape and Ecosystem Co-evolution
NCED (the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Center (STC). We began operation in August 2002 and are headquartered at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) at the University of Minnesota. NCED's mission is to predict the coupled dynamics and co-evolution of landscapes and their ecosystems in order to transform management and restoration of the Earth-surface environment. We pursue this misson by creating partnerships & integrating researchers and practitioners from the physical, biological, and social sciences. Our research focuses on channel networks and their surroundings. We strive to answer one overarching question:
"How will the coupled system of physical, biological, geochemical, and human processes that shape the surface of the Earth respond to changes in climate, land use, environmental management, and other forcings?"
In response, we tackle three grand challenges:
-Developing a mechanistic understanding of the erosional and depositional processes that shape landscapes;
-Discovering the linkages between physical, chemical, and biological processes; and
-Using the understanding of landscape and ecosystem dynamics to guide management decisions.
Those grand challenges are addressed through three Integrated Programs (IPs) that approach channel networks from a source to sink perspective.