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LTER Key Research Findings

Among the many research results from LTER sites, some findings stand out as being particularly important to achieve the LTER goal of providing information to conserve, protect, and manage the nation's ecosystems. Short descriptions of key findings at each site emphasize the importance of long-term data in understanding the pace and pattern of ecological change.

Art and Nature (AND LTER)
Decades of experience with the conflicts concerning management of forests of the Pacific Northwest, especially old growth, reveal that these societal issues cannot be addressed with science alone – at their core these are issues of personal values. Towering, ancient forests and the incredible complexity of ecosystems populated by thousands of species are sources of inspiration distinctive to each...
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Old Growth (AND LTER)
Scientific, social, and economic perspectives on old-growth forests and our treatment of them have changed dramatically over the last 150 years in the Pacific Northwest. Research at the H.J.A. Andrews LTER has been central to many those changes in the last 30 years, when perceptions about old-growth shifted from an unproductive forest to be eliminated through exploitation to a valued ecosystem to...
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River Continuum (AND LTER)
The River Continuum Concept (Vannote et al. 1980) has become the dominant concept of how stream ecosystems vary from headwaters downstream to large rivers. The Andrews Forest was one of four primary sites contributing to this pioneering ecosystem paradigm in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The basic idea is that aquatic communities and ecological processes of the stream ecosystem change...
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Science and Policy (AND LTER)
A partnership between research and management at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest LTER has helped transform forest management and policy in the Pacific Northwest and the U.S.A. (Luoma 2006, Steel et al. 2004). This partnership has spawned new practices and policies for ecosystem management, conservation of old-growth forests, protection of forest streams, and management of dead wood in...
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Temperature Patterns in Mountain Ecosystems (AND LTER)
The basic mechanisms for how temperatures change with elevation in mountain landscapes and how temperature inversions form in valleys have been understood for many years. Under "normal" circumstances, temperatures decrease at a known rate, the "lapse rate", with elevation. Knowledge of the lapse rate allows meteorologists and scientists to extrapolate from a few measurement locations across a...
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The Ecosystem Value of Dead Wood (AND LTER)
Traditionally dead wood has been considered a wasted resource and a hazard in forested landscapes that needed to be eliminated. This all changed starting in the 1970s when Andrews scientists began to examine the many roles dead wood played in forests and streams. This included a wide range of ecological and geomorphic functions including as a habitat and food source for many terrestrial and...
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