The sustainable biosphere initiative: An ecological research agenda

A Report from the Ecological Society of America

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This preface introduces a document that is unprecedented in its scope and objectives. In August 1988 the Ecological Society of America initiated an effort to define research priorities for ecology in the closing decade of the 20th Century. Several independent factors motivated this endeavor. First, within the academies of science, the halls of government, and the institutions that fund research, it had become increasingly clear that scientists must order their priorities and make hard judgments concerning the research directions that hold the greatest promise for advancing our base of knowledge and for improving the human condition. Responding to this need, Frank Press, the President of the National Academy of Science, challenged all scientists to define their priorities. Financial resources are finite. Competing national demands range from national security to social services, and various major priorities vie for attention and funding. Consequently, it is not feasible to support all scientific research. If we as scientists do not set our own priorities, others will do so for us.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSustainability
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)9781351896603
ISBN (Print)9780754628170
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


  • Biological diversity
  • Biosphere
  • Ecological research
  • Environmental decisionmaking
  • Global change
  • Research agenda
  • Research funding
  • Research priorities
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable ecological systems


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