Two of a kind: LTAR and LTER find common ground

Network News Fall 2012, Vol. 25 No. 3
ASM Reports

For a number of years, the research community had been calling for the creation of a network similar to the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, but focused specifically on agro-ecosystems.  In early 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced that it was establishing a Long Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) network from among its existing experimental watersheds and rangelands nationwide to address large-scale, multi-year research, environmental management testing and technology transfer related to the nation's agricultural ecosystems.The opportunity for LTAR scientists to provide information to the LTER community about LTAR network capacity brought the process ‘full-circle’ in September when, during a joint workshop between the two Networks at the LTER All Scientists Meeting (ASM) in Estes Park, Colorado, scientists affiliated with the two networks discussed wide-ranging research issues of mutual interest.

A number of LTAR participants found the plenary talks at the ASM highly relevant to LTAR issues as well. While there’s currently little overlap between LTAR and LTER sites (one LTER site, the Kellogg Biological Station, is located in an agricultural landscape and another, the Jornada Experimental Range, is also an LTAR site) there is significant potential for collaboration due to the complementarity of these two networks.  Hopefully, the LTAR workshop was a first step towards developing that potential.

See for more information about LTAR

By Mark R. Walbridge, National Program Leader for Water Availability & Watershed Management, USDA/ARS