Dr. Ann Bartuska, Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education & Economics of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), highlights the importance of long-term ecological datasets and federal science investment in research infrastructure in a guest editorial in the February 2015 issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, which focuses on desertification and the dynamics of drylands.
In 1908, the USDA established the first experimental forest in northern Arizona. The USDA recently identified 18 Long Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) sites, as well as a network of regional climate hubs designed to provide information on climate-change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
These USDA projects, together with the US National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program and the NSF-funded National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), provide a comprehensive baseline of ecological conditions across the US that will contribute to improved understanding and forecasting of ecological conditions.
Find the full guest editorial here: Ann Bartuska 2015. Beyond desertification. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13: 3–3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295-13.1.3