Regional and global patterns in aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and their determinants have long interested ecologists. Understanding ANPP patterns and controls through time is particularly important in grasslands where grazing is the most important economic activity. Coping with temporal changes in the availability of forage is a prerequisite for the efficient and sustainable use of natural vegetation. More recently, interest in ANPP has intensified as projected global changes in climate, nitrogen deposition, and land use threaten to alter ecosystem carbon and energy flow. Data on primary production are also important to calibrate, parametrize, and evaluate terrestrial biosphere models and for modeling the global carbon cycle.
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