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 Complex Environmental Systems: Synthesis for Earth, Life, and Society in the 21st Century


On January 8th, 2003, the NSF Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education introduced their report, Complex Environmental Systems: Synthesis for Earth, Life, and Society in the 21st Century. The report presents a ten-year outlook for environmental research and education and argues that we need to develop environmental synthesis to frame integrated interdisciplinary research questions and activities to merge data, approaches, and ideas across spatial, temporal, and societal scales.

Electronic copies of both the full (68 page) and summary reports are available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format:

To request hard copies of the reports, please send an e-mail to ere-info@nsf.gov and include your name and address.

For purposes of report citation, please use: Pfirman, S. and the AC-ERE 2003, Complex Environmental Systems: Synthesis for Earth, Life, and Society in the 21st Century, A report summarizing a 10-year outlook in environmental research and education for the National Science Foundation, 68 pp.

Occasional Papers and Related Reports

As we move forward with implementing the Outlook, we will periodically publish papers on research directions and related topics.


The National Science Foundation
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Last Updated: 06/07/2002