PerspectiveEcology

Piling on the pressures to ecosystems

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Science  15 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6467, pp. 801
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz9000

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Summary

A multitude of anthropogenic pressures and perturbations now assault the world's ecosystems. The air is enriched with carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature extremes and droughts happen with increasing frequency, and a wide range of pollutants accumulate in the soil and water, including pesticides, microplastics, and excess fertilizer. What is the overall impact of these changes—so-called global environmental change drivers (or factors)—on ecosystems and their functioning? Although a broad scope of scientific approaches is used, including observational studies and modeling, experiments remain key. On page 886 of this issue Rillig et al. (1) present an exciting new methodological approach to investigate how these multiple pressures affect ecosystems.

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