The long term agroecosystem research network - shared research strategy.
While current weather patterns and rapidly accelerated changes in technology often focus attention on short-term trends in agriculture, the fundamental demands on modern agriculture to meet society food, feed, fuel and fiber production while providing the foundation for a healthy environment requires long-term perspective. The Long- Term Agroecoystem Research Network was established by USDA to ensure sustained crop and livestock production and ecosystem services from agriculture, as well as to forecast and verify the effects of environmental trends, public policies, and emerging technologies. The LTAR Network is comprised of 18 locations across the US, whose shared research strategy is to employ common measurements to advance four areas of foundational science: (1) agro-ecosystem productivity; (2) climate variability and change; (3) conservation and environmental quality; and (4) socio-economic viability and opportunities. Each Network location is engaged in a local adaptation of the "common experiment" which contrasts conventional production systems with innovative systems that optimize services. Protocols and services are being developed for collection, verification, organization, archives, access, and distribution of data associated with Network activities.