National Watershed Research Network Established

Melissa SandfortResearch, USDA

Photo by Peggy Greb.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service announced that it has established a Long Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) network from among its existing experimental watersheds and rangelands nationwide to address large-scale, multi-year research, environmental management testing and technology transfer related to the nation’s agricultural ecosystems.

The 10 sites chosen are affiliated with ARS research units located at Ames, Iowa; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Columbia, Mo.; El Reno, Okla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; Mandan, N.D.; Pullman, Wash.; Tifton, Ga.; Tucson, Ariz.; and University Park, Pa.

The LTAR network can provide data that can be used in the development of innovative management systems that increase the resilience of agricultural ecosystems in the face of rapid environmental and socioeconomic change, and can help assess the environmental and societal impacts of different agricultural practices and land uses within a particular landscape.

Information from LTAR also can contribute to the development of agricultural production systems that maximize energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gases, while investigating various forms of incentives to encourage on-farm adoption and mitigation, and optimize biodiversity to conserve and protect natural resources while enhancing agricultural profitability.