Drastic ecosystem changes have been observed in recent decades in both open and coastal systems. These
changes are believed to have occurred in response to climate change and increasing anthropogenic pressures.
“What is the future of the North Pacific given current and expected pressures?” This is the question addressed
by the PICES Integrated Science Program, FUTURE (Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and
Responses of North Pacific Marine Ecosystems). FUTURE will synthesize and disseminate knowledge provided
by national and multi-national research programs. Under the overarching question, FUTURE attempts to
answer three Key Scientific Questions related to: a) ecosystem resilience and vulnerability; b) ecosystems
response to natural and anthropogenic forcing; and c) future ecosystem change. The Program also addresses
poorly understood, yet important, issues of interactions between human societies and coastal ecosystems, such
as the effects human activities have on the provision of ecosystem services. In addition to the scientific
understanding of mechanisms of ecosystem change, FUTURE aims to engage human societies by providing
useful products on ecosystem change. Inaugurated in 2009, FUTURE will enter its mid-life in 2014, making
it an appropriate time to evaluate what has been achieved and what remains to be addressed. Based on
information assessed at this symposium, FUTURE may redirect its course in order to achieve its final goals.