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Wednesday, April 11 • 11:30am - 11:45am
SYMPOSIA-12: Identifying Agro-ecoregions for the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network

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AUTHORS: Alisa Coffin*, Tim Strickland, Sheri Spiegal, Brandon Bestelmeyer, David Huggins, Guillermo Ponce, Chandra Holifield Collins – USDA-Agricultural Research Service

ABSTRACT: The LTAR network exists to examine questions of agricultural sustainability in working lands across the continental US. To effectively address agricultural sustainability at this scale, experimental designs must be placed into the context of a regional framework that can extrapolate site-specific results to broader spatial scales. The goals of such a framework include: helping to communicate the potential of LTAR research by estimating the “reach” (or "representativeness") of each site’s plot and field based experimental designs; providing comparable benchmarks for cross-site comparisons; describing and predicting significant changes within regions that affect sustainability; and, informing decisions about where gaps exist in this continental-scale agro-ecological research network. Past spatial models defining regions for the continental US are not necessarily well-suited to assessing outcomes of LTAR research. An approach to defining the boundaries of individual LTAR network regions must integrate spatio-temporal characteristics operating at multiple scales, including temperature, precipitation, soils and physiography, landscape function, ecosystem services, transportation systems, and agricultural production, management and markets. Regional boundaries and the patterns of production within each region, are postulated to respond dynamically to biophysical, socio-economic and policy drivers of land use and landscape ecological function, which include the adoption of new research integrating genetics, environmental and management technologies (e.g. the USDA “G x E x M” approach). Each LTAR site is evaluating land use and ecosystem services outcome scenarios likely to result from the nexus of these drivers. This talk will review selected examples, demonstrating the range and variability of outcomes targeted by LTAR sites, and discuss the concept of comparable benchmarks for cross-site comparisons, with a focus on how the spatial extent and variation of agro-ecological regions intersect with these outcomes.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 11:30am - 11:45am
Adams Room

Attendees (6)