Newman et al_2006 - Click Here WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH,...

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Ecohydrology of water-limited environments: A scientific vision Brent D. Newman, 1 Bradford P. Wilcox, 2 Steven R. Archer, 3 David D. Breshears, 4 Clifford N. Dahm, 5 Christopher J. Duffy, 6 Nate G. McDowell, 1 Fred M. Phillips, 7 Bridget R. Scanlon, 8 and Enrique R. Vivoni 7 Received 25 March 2005; revised 29 March 2006; accepted 13 April 2006; published 20 June 2006. [ 1 ] Water-limited environments occupy about half of the Earth’s land surface and contain some of the fastest growing population centers in the world. Scarcity or variable distributions of water and nutrients make these environments highly sensitive to change. Given the importance of water-limited environments and the impacts of increasing demands on water supplies and other natural resources, this paper highlights important societal problems and scientific challenges germane to these environments and presents a vision on how to accelerate progress. We argue that improvements in our fundamental understanding of the links between hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes are needed, and the way to accomplish this is by fostering integrated, interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and hypothesis testing through place- based science. Such an ecohydrological approach will create opportunities to develop new methodologies and ways of thinking about these complex environmental systems and help us improve forecasts of environmental change. Citation: Newman, B. D., B. P. Wilcox, S. R. Archer, D. D. Breshears, C. N. Dahm, C. J. Duffy, N. G. McDowell, F. M. Phillips, B. R. Scanlon, and E. R. Vivoni (2006), Ecohydrology of water-limited environments: A scientific vision, Water Resour. Res. , 42 , W06302, doi:10.1029/2005WR004141. 1. Definition and Need for an Ecohydrological Approach [ 2 ] Multiple agencies, and the scientific community in general, recognize the necessity and potential benefits accru- ing from environmental research that crosses traditional scientific disciplines [ Rodriguez-Iturbe , 2000; National Research Council , 2001a, 2001b; Harte , 2002; Nuttle , 2002; Infrastructure for Biology at Regional to Continental Scales Working Group , 2003; Newman et al. , 2003]. This need for interdisciplinary research has heightened interest in the hybrid discipline of ‘‘ecohydrology’’, which seeks to elucidate (1) how hydrological processes influence the distribution, structure, function, and dynamics of biological communities and (2) how feedbacks from biological com- munities affect the water cycle (modified from Nuttle [2002]) (alternative definitions and in-depth discussions of ecohy- drology are given by Baird and Wilby [1999], Rodriguez- Iturbe [2000], Bonell [2002], Eagleson [2002], Kundzewicz [2002], Nuttle , [2002], Porporato and Rodriguez-Iturbe [2002], Zalewski [2002], Bond [2003], Hunt and Wilcox [2003], Newman et al. [2003], Van Dijk [2004], Hannah et al. [2004], and Breshears [2005]). Implicit in the above definition is the recognition that vegetation, water, and
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Newman et al_2006 - Click Here WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH,...

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