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11 questions for the next decade of geographical sciences identified

26.03.2010
Eleven questions that should shape the next decade of geographical sciences research were identified today in a new report by the National Research Council.

Reflecting a time when populations are moving and natural resources are being depleted, the questions aim to provide a more complete understanding of where and how landscapes are changing to help society manage and adapt to the transformation of Earth's surface.

The committee that wrote the report solicited input from the geographical science community to identify research priorities and the approaches, skills, data, and infrastructure necessary to advance research. The strategic directions span from overarching issues of environmental change and sustainability to specific areas in the field that are transforming. They are grouped by topic area, but are not ranked in any order of importance.

How to understand and respond to environmental change:

How are we changing the physical environment of Earth's surface?

How can we best preserve biological diversity and protect endangered ecosystems?

How are climate and other environmental changes affecting the vulnerabilities of coupled human-environment systems?

How to promote sustainability:

Where and how will 10 billion people live?
How will we sustainably feed everyone in the coming decade and beyond?
How does where we live affect our health?
How to recognize and cope with the rapid spatial reorganization of economy and society:
How is the movement of people, goods, and ideas changing the world?
How is economic globalization affecting inequality?
How are geopolitical shifts influencing peace and stability?
How to leverage technological change for the benefit of society and environment:
How might we better observe, analyze, and visualize a changing world?
What are the societal implications of citizen mapping and mapping citizens?
The report was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, National Geographic Society, and Association of American Geographers. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are independent, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under an 1863 congressional charter. Committee members, who serve pro bono as volunteers, are chosen by the Academies for each study based on their expertise and experience and must satisfy the Academies' conflict-of-interest standards. The resulting consensus reports undergo external peer review before completion. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org/studycommitteprocess.pdf. A committee roster follows.

Copies of UNDERSTANDING THE CHANGING PLANET: STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR THE GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at HTTP://WWW.NAP.EDU. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

[ This news release and report are available at HTTP://NATIONAL-ACADEMIES.ORG ]

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Board on Earth Sciences and Resources
COMMITTEE ON STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR THE GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES IN THE NEXT DECADE
ALEXANDER B. MURPHY (CHAIR)
Professor of Geography, and
James F. and Shirley K. Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Oregon
Eugene
NANCY COLLETON
President
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Arlington, Va.
ROGER M. DOWNS
Professor
Department of Geography
Pennsylvania State University
University Park
MICHAEL F. GOODCHILD *
Professor
Department of Geography
University of California
Santa Barbara
SUSAN HANSON *
Research Professor
School of Geography
Clark University
Worcester, Mass.
VICTORIA A. LAWSON
Professor of Geography
University of Washington
Seattle
GLEN M. MACDONALD
Professor
Department of Geography
University of California
Los Angeles
FRANCIS J. MAGILLIGAN
Professor
Department of Geography
Dartmouth College
Hanover, N.H.
WILLIAM G. MOSELEY
Associate Professor of Geography
Macalester College
St. Paul, Minn.
COLIN POLSKY
Associate Professor
Graduate School of Geography
Clark University
Worcester, Mass.
KAREN C. SETO
Associate Professor
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University
New Haven, Conn.
DAWN J. WRIGHT
Professor of Geography and Oceanography
Department of Geosciences
Oregon State University
Corvallis
RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF
MARK LANGE
Study Director
* Member, National Academy of Sciences

Jennifer Walsh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nas.edu

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