USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has established a Long Term Agro-ecosystem Research network from among its existing experimental watersheds and rangelands nationwide. USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Ann Bartuska says the national network will aid the understanding and forecasting of the nation’s capacity to provide agricultural and other ecosystem-related goods and services under changing environmental conditions – in addition to society’s changing demands on natural resources.
According to USDA – ARS maintains approximately 22 watersheds and experimental range research sites in 15 states. The initial network will include 10 sites affiliated with ARS research units in Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, Washington, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania. Additional sites will be added later. ARS Administrator Edward Knipling says the network will further strengthen the established, significant investment in long-term research to enhance agricultural sustainability – including the Benchmark Experimental Research Watershed and Experimental Range sites located in the nation’s 10 major agro-ecosystems.
USDA says this 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 contribute to the development of agricultural production systems that maximize energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gases. The network can also help assess the environmental and societal impacts of different agricultural practices and land uses within a particular landscape.
Source: NAFB News Service