Clinton Science Advisor Endorses International LTER Program

Network News Fall 1998, Vol. 11 No. 2
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Neal Lane, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and science advisor to President Clinton, spoke to a recent meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on the theme "Partnerships and Networks: Capturing the Benefits of Innovation" (Mexico City, 21 October 1998).

In his speech, Lane made the point that the Federal government actively pursues partnership policies to advance national goals, domestically and internationally. He then introduced the International Long Term Ecological Research Network (ILTER) as one of several "promising" examples of international networking activities. Lane called ILTER "an example of how we can benefit from the unique resource diversity of the region."

"The ILTER program enables us to better compare ecological observations and experiments at diverse sites. This work can provide a scientific basis for decisions by policymakers who are concerned about "sustainable" economic development. For example, data-collection and field experiments at ILTER sites provide insights into the ways that different ecosystems respond to short- and longer term changes in climate. ILTER may help us better understand phenomena such as El NiƱo or the global decline in amphibian populations.

"The ILTER network is also actively promoting exchanges of our youth ... and building linkages and offering curricula for the next generation. Several APEC economies, including Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, and Korea, are already formal members of the ILTER network, and scientists from Mexico and Japan are contributing. I encourage all APEC members to consider joining the ILTER Network."

Lane also addressed another LTER interest, Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence, or KDI. "[KDI] is an emerging area of research that can enhance collaboration. This is a search for ways to best manage information becoming available by digital means by improving our ability to discover, collect, represent, transmit, and apply complex information across digital systems."