William Schlesinger Jr.

“Crops and trees will grow in places they don’t grow today. We have a lot of suspicion that they may not grow as well.”

William H. Schlesinger (b. April 30, 1950) is a biogeochemist and the president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, an independent not-for-profit environmental research organization in Millbrook, New York. He assumed this position after 27 years on the faculty of Duke University, where he served as the Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry.

Schlesinger served as the co-principal investigator for the Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) located in the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. Research projects mainly focus on inorganic fluxes, including studies of ammonia volatilization from soils, hydrology natural runoff plots and transect soil water content. He has also worked extensively in arid ecosystems and landscapes, studying responses to resource redistribution and global change, which can lead to soil degradation and regional desertification. Schlesinger postulated that the patchy distribution of vegetation in desert regions controls many aspects of soil fertility and the response of deserts to overgrazing and climate change.

Schlesinger was the co-principal investigator for the Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) Experiment in the Duke Forest. The object of the study was to investigate the efficacy of carbon sequestration in forest ecosystems (vegetation and soil) in response to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration, as a means to mitigate the potential for global warming. (From the Wikipedia entry.)