LTER Forms International Committee

Network News Spring 2004, Vol. 17 No. 1

The Executive Committee formed the International Committee in the fall of 2003 with a mandate to strengthen ties between the U.S.

LTER network and the member networks of the ILTER. The International Committee held an informal meeting as part of the All Scientist’s Meeting in September 2003, drafted a mission statement in November 2003, followed by election of co-chairs. Elected co-chair Steven Hamburg (Hubbard Brook) will serve a threeyear term, and Patrick Bourgeron (Niwot Ridge) will serve a two-year term. Steven will represent the U.S. LTER on the ILTER Steering Committee.

The International Committee also drafted a mission statement comprising five parts:

The Mission of the U.S. LTER International Committee

1. To facilitate the development and maintenance of long-term projects and collaborations between US-LTER scientists and ILTER colleagues.

Many US-LTER scientists already have on-going and successful international ties. Therefore, the added value of the US-LTER International Committee should be to facilitate the initiation of new projects that will strengthen the ILTER and/or its individual country member networks.

In addition, the committee will act as a clearinghouse for knowledge about how to successfully initiate and maintain collaborations and funding, as well as help solve institutional problems as they arise. When appropriate, the committee should function as a matchmaker, connecting interested scientists from either the U.S. or abroad with suitable potential collaborators.

2. To facilitate and coordinate the involvement of U.S. LTER scientists in developing and strengthening regional networks as well as individual country networks.

Given their more-than 20-years of experience in LTER activities, U.S. scientists are well positioned to help scientists from other countries and regions in building and strengthening their research networks. Such assistance is best leveraged through coordinated efforts, since one scientist seldom has the time or contacts to perform such activities alone. This area of activity is focused on strategic planning, program development, and/ or transfer of technology and knowledge.

3. To facilitate the participation of U.S. LTER scientists in the establishment and maintenance of effective data/ information infrastructures within the ILTER.

Availability of data and information from a diversity of study areas is one of the ILTER’s central missions. Given the depth of experience of U.S. LTER information managers and researchers with issues of information management (IM), they can make a significant contribution to ensuring globally accessible and useful data. The International Committee should play a catalytic role in establishing the working group and assisting it in defining useful activities.

4. To create an atmosphere in which participation in the ILTER network is seen as a central component of each U.S. LTER site’s activities.

The Committee needs to create a feeling among U.S. LTER PIs and co- PIs that ILTER activities are important and provide new opportunities not only to leverage existing data, but also to ask important and timely questions that cannot be answered within the sites available through the domestic network. 5. To facilitate cooperation between the ILTER and other global science programs e.g. International Geosphere- Biosphere Programme, the International Human Dimensions Programme, and DIVERSITAS.

In order to maximize the usefulness of the data collected through the LTER we need to participate in a wide range of collaborative international collaborations.

The International committee can assist in this effort by representing LTER interests at national and international meetings, and promoting ILTER connections with these other groups when possible.

A proposal is currently being negotiated with the National Science Foundation to facilitate the work of the committee. Anyone interested in participating in the work of the committee or with ILTER member networks is encouraged to contact either Patrick ( or Steven ( The work of the Committee will be supported by Laura Sadovnikoff, Program Manager, Global Environment Program, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University (

Laura is available to help coordinate and facilitate visits by ILTER scientists to U.S. LTER sites, though primary responsibility for supporting such visits will reside with the individual sites.

The coordination of U.S. LTER activities related to the ILTER, previously facilitated by the Network Office, will now be handled by the International Committee.

The membership of the U.S. LTER International Committee currently stands as follows:

  • Nick Brokaw (Luquillo)
  • Patrick Bougeron (Niwot)
  • Ted Gragson (Coweeta)
  • Steven Hamburg (Hubbard Brook)
  • Dave Hartnett (Konza Prairie)
  • Brian Kloeppel (Coweeta)
  • Dick Lathrop (North Temperate Lakes)
  • Kate Lajtha (Andrews)
  • Berry Lyons (McMurdo)
  • Chris Madden (Florida Coastal Ecosystems)
  • Dennis Ojima (Shortgrass Steppe)
  • Deb Peters (Jornada Basin)
  • Kristin Vanderbilt (Sevilleta)
  • Bob Waide (LTER Network Office)