Monday, November 2, 2009: 11:30 AM
Convention Center, Room 323, Third Floor
The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project in agricultural ecology was established at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in 1988. The funding came initially (and is still primarily) from the National Science Foundation, but has grown to include funding from multiple federal agencies and a growing number of interdisciplinary groups, many of which are led by off-site investigators. The project continues to be focused on basic research that can lead to a better understand the ecological processes in row-crop agriculture and provide biologically-based alternatives to chemical inputs. When the KBS LTER was established, it required a major investment and commitment of land base and personnel. This commitment has expanded over time, as the questions addressed by the project have grown and matured to include larger spatial scale processes that require larger size plots and more land area. The research also focuses on economics of the alternative cropping systems, and these analyses include consideration of not only inputs and yields but also the full range of ecosystem services provided (or lost) by alternative management. The benefits of the project can be measured in many ways, but there are costs to maintaining a large scale, multi-investigator project over decades. These include maintaining the flexibility to address the ‘next generation’ of questions that emerge from this project, providing resources to new projects and pursuing opportunities to maintain the high impact of the project so that the investment continues to benefit the researchers involved and institution.