• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Plant Functional Types: their Relevance to Ecosystem Properties and Global Change

Cambridge University Press (1997)
Smith T M, Shugart H H and Woodward F I (eds)
369 pp.

IGBP Book Series No. 1


When predicting the effects of changing climate and carbon dioxide on plants at the global scale there is a major stumbling block: we have very little information, in many cases none, about how plants will respond in the future. In order to circumvent this problem, and until more information on species accumulates, we reduce the diversity of species to a diversity of functions and structures. The structures may be trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. The functions may be types of photosynthetic process, the capacity to minimize water loss, and varying the timing of growth. This book brings together a first-rate team of authors to describe approaches and methods for defining these functional types in ways that maximize our potential to predict accurately the responses of real vegetation with real species diversity.

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IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

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