The integrated land ecosystem-atmosphere processes study (iLEAPS) is an international research project focussing on the fundamental processes that link land-atmosphere exchange, climate, the water cycle, and tropospheric chemistry. The project, iLEAPS, was established 2004 within the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). During its first decade, iLEAPS has proven to be a vital project, well equipped to build a community to address the challenges involved in understanding the complex Earth system: multidisciplinary, integrative approaches for both observations and modeling. The iLEAPS community has made major advances in process understanding, land-surface modeling, and observation techniques and networks. The modes of iLEAPS operation include elucidating specific iLEAPS scientific questions through networks of process studies, field campaigns, modeling, long-term integrated field studies, international interdisciplinary mega-campaigns, synthesis studies, databases, as well as conferences on specific scientific questions and synthesis meetings. Another essential component of iLEAPS is knowledge transfer and it also encourages community-and policy-related outreach activities associated with the regional integrative projects. As a result of its first decade of work, iLEAPS is now setting the agenda for its next phase (2014-2024) under the new international initiative, future Earth. Human influence has always been an important part of land-atmosphere science but in order to respond to the new challenges of global sustainability, closer ties with social science and economics groups will be necessary to produce realistic estimates of land use and anthropogenic emissions by analysing future population increase, migration patterns, food production allocation, land management practices, energy production, industrial development, and urbanization.
2015. Vol. 12, 69-84 p.