FCE’s sizzling synthesis book: The trailer

Network News Fall 2014, Vol. 27 No. 3
Site News

The Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program is in the final stages of editing a synthesis book, The Coastal Everglades:  The Dynamics of Social-Ecological Transformation in the South Florida Landscape, part of the LTER Book Series. More than 20 chapter writing researchers contributed to the book, led by a trio of consummate FCE science communicators, Dan Childers (who is also a Principal Investigator at the Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER site), Evelyn Gaiser, and Laura Ogden.

Early in October Oxford University Press, the publisher, approved FCE’s  proposal for publishing the book, which is a culmination of a long process whose seed was planted during the first LTER Communication Training Workshop at the LTER Network Office in Summer 2013.  Shortly after the workshop, participants from FCE led colleagues at their site in brainstorming ideas for the best possible synthesis product drawn from the workshop experience.  The overwhelming preference for an innovative synthesis book resulted in a massive team of seasoned writers working together to communicate our understanding of one of the largest landscape restoration projects in the world.

“The book is a broad, integrative synthesis of what we have learned about the coastal Everglades and south Florida in general,” says Childers.  The authors liken a well-executed synthesis to a favorite stew containing the finest ingredients, with each additional ingredient making the whole better than the ingredient alone, and creating an entirely new delicious flavor.  And so it is with the trove of ingredients FCE is employing for the synthesis book: datasets, analyses, research reports, newly acquired data, and publication compilations spanning over 20 years in several case studies.

Reflecting upon the vast collective experience that has gone into this synthesis, Ogden observed: "Collaborating on this book has shown me how powerful synthesis efforts can be. Instead of just reviewing our science, we are learning new things about our site through the process of writing together."

Stay tuned to your LTER news for the release date of this epic FCE synthesis effort.