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Terrestrial Ecosystem Science & Technology

Global Change Experimental Facility Design

Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) is a method and infrastructure used to experimentally enrich the atmosphere enveloping portions of a terrestrial ecosystem with controlled amounts of carbon dioxide (and in some cases, other gases), without using chambers or walls. Before FACE, much of what we knew about plant and ecosystem responses to rising carbon dioxide concentration came from studies conducted in enclosures where the response of plants is modified by their growth conditions. Results from FACE experiments have provided important field validation of findings from earlier work, but have also yielded results that are both qualitatively and quantitatively different from those obtained using field enclosures.

We pioneered the use of FACE technology to study the impact of carbon dioxide on managed and unmanaged ecosystems. We managed the operation of the Duke Forest FACE experiment (funded by The Department of Energy, Office of Science) and have recently worked with the University of Western Sydney, Australia to establish the EucFACE Experiment. We are currently working with our collaborators at the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) on new FACE experiment in old growth forest.

We also have a broad interest, and experience, in the design of manipulative experiments that examine other global change factors, such as temperature and precipitation, using fully open air approaches, glass houses and field enclosures that use both passive and active control systems and the deployment of manipulation experiments in extreme environments.