Promoting US-China Critical Zone Science Collaboration and Coordination Through Established Subnational Bilateral Science Partnerships: The US-China EcoPartnership for Economic and Environmental Sustainability.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Timothy R Filley, Purdue University, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, West Lafayette, IN, United States, Dali Guo, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Beijing, China and Alain F Plante, University of Pennsylvania, Earth & Environmental Science, Philadelphia, PA, United States
The concept of critical zone (CZ) science has gained wide recognition with actively funded and emerging CZ observatory programs across the globe. There is much to be gained through international collaboration that links field, laboratory, and modeling efforts from across the emerging global CZ networks, but building international ties is difficult, especially when peer-to-peer connections are nascent, separated by great distances, and span different cultural and political environments. The U.S. and China share many climatic and geological similarities but differ greatly in the magnitude and timescale of human alteration of their landscapes making the comparative study of their respective pasts, current state, and future co-evolution an outstanding scientific opportunity to better understand, predict, and respond to human influence on the CZ. Leveraging the infrastructure and trust capital of longstanding sub-national volunteer scientific networks to bring together people and organizations is a resource-efficient mechanism to build cross-network CZ programs. The U.S.-China EcoPartnership for Environmental Sustainability (USCEES) is one of 30 current EcoPartnerships established beginning in May 2008 by a joint agreement between the U.S. Department of State and China’s National Development and Reform Commission with the overarching goal of addressing the interconnected challenges of environmental, social, and economic sustainability through bi-national research innovation, communication, and entrepreneurship. The 2015 USCEES annual conference on “Critical Zone Science, Sustainability, and Services in a Changing World” was co-sponsored by the U.S. Cross-CZO Working Group on Organic Matter Dynamics and hosted three NSF-funded workshops on organic matter dynamics:1) methods for large and complex data analysis, 2) erosion and deposition processes, and 3) mineralogical and microbial controls on reactivity and persistence. This paper highlights outcomes from the workshops that include consensus recommendations for common measurements, methods, laboratories, and long-term experiments to support cross-U.S. CZO and international CZ science, and the role of the EcoPartnership program in facilitating scientific exchange between CZ scientists in the U.S. and China.