Newsletter No.8 October-1999

At the Start
of the Ecosystem Change Research Program

Dr.Yoshifumi Yasuoka
Professor,Univ.of Tokyo,
Ecosystem Change Research Program,
Program Director,FRSGC

The Ecosystem Change Research Program was established on October 1,1999,as the sixth research program in the FRSGC.

Until this time, the phenomena relating to the ecosystem, especially to the terrestrial ecosystem, have given us an impression of local, regional issues in a narrow area. However, there have been found the facts that global issues, such as global warming and climate change etc., are closely connected to changes in the terrestrial and ocean ecosystems, and the importance of clarifying the role of the ecosystem in predicting change in global environment and climate has become clear. In order to increase our understanding of the mechanisms of how climate change affects ecosystems, and how ecosystems respond to climate change, the Ecosystem Change Research Program aims to elucidate the structure and the function of the ecosystem relating to the changes of climate and environment, and to model those change. With the objective mentioned above in mind, this research program set up the following four tasks:

a)research on ecosystem - atmospheric interaction system
b)research on dynamics of the ecosystem architecture
c)research on dynamics of the ecosystem geographical distribution
d)research on marine biological process dynamics

To be concrete in the terrestrial ecosystem research component, land- surface parameters, including the spatial distribution of vegetation species, biomass or primary production, will be observed in the Asia and Pacific region. The material flows between the ecosystem and the atmospheric system and interactions among the components, will be made clear. Moreover, dynamics of how the ecosystem will change over long period, i.e., for several ten years, to decades, will be elucidated and modeled. And in the ocean ecosystem research component, dynamics in the structure and the function of ocean surface biota from years to decades will be modeled together with the physical environment at the ocean surface layer based on the analysis of in- situ data and remote sensing data from satellites.

In order to pursue the role of the ecosystem on a global scale, we must, on land as an example, get perspective from scales of a leaf and a tree (even this is very complicated) through to distributions of vegetation and soil worldwide. Regrettably, the research areas of these wide scale matters are as yet premature in the world. We would like to make efforts in order for the establishment of this research program to bring up pioneers in global ecosystem research, not only in Japan, but also in the world, and to contribute more toward the positive future of humanity. I hope you support our research program.

Dr.Yoshifumi Yasuoka
He was born in 1947.He received the B.Eng.,M.Eng.and Ph.D.from the Department of Mathematical Engineering and Information Physics,the University of Tokyo.Entered the National Institute for Environmental Studies in 1974,and started research on the application of image processing and pattern recognition technologies to environmental monitoring and assessment.In particular,he conducted the researches on remote sensing environment.Became professor of the Institute of Industrial Science,the University of Tokyo in 1998.Accepted an appointment of Program Director of the Ecosystem Change Research Program in the FRSGC in October 1999. He won the Young Authors Awards from the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers,and of the Minister's Award of Science and Technology from the Science and Technology Agency.