The Global Ecosystem Research Infrastructure (GERI) has published its scientific rationale outlining how its federation of capabilities will, for the first time in history, allow scientists to tackle new societally and scientifically relevant questions at the global scale.
GERI is an integrated network of site-based research infrastructures dedicated to better understand the function and change of indicator ecosystems across global biomes to support excellent science that can also inform political and managerial decision-making addressing grand societal challenges.
A fully functioning GERI will deliver the harmonised data, international partnerships and enable new understandings of global ecological processes—stretching across continents, decades, and ecological disciplines—in ways that were not previously possible.
The science rationale to build GERI, published on 25 April 2022 in the Earth’s Future journal, is to address global grand challenges that cannot be achieved by any single environmental research infrastructure. Federating capabilities will enable researchers around the world to tackle the programmatic work and meet the grand challenges at the global macro scale.
By applying the scientific mandate of each ERI globally, new grand challenges can be specifically addressed as part of their global federation, including allowing scientists to:
- fully analyse and understand complex ecological teleconnections – the interactions of ecological services related to each other over large distances, evident beyond ecosystem and regional scales;
- Integrate the human and ecological dimensions needed to understand the socio-ecological feedbacks that will ultimately affect global societal wellbeing and development;
- further develop a clearer understanding of the ecological processes and deliver the statistical data volumes for more accurate near term ecological forecasting capabilities; and
- bring together ‘big data’, AI and machine learning, scientific and societal imperatives, leadership, and implement (and learn from) scientific interoperability across global ecosystem observations.
The GERI’s capabilities are vital to better address future, critical challenges for the sustainable management of our limited natural capital under known environmental change, and future, yet unknown environmental challenges to assure long-term human well-being on the planet.