Long-term research has revealed that ‘booms’ in productivity from extreme rainfall events also bring risks from introduced predators in Australian desert environments. Photo by Aaron Greenville
I was one of 69 authors on a letter published in Science calling for Australia to save its Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN). The network comprises more than 1100 long-term field plots within temperate forests, rainforests, alpine grasslands, heathlands, deserts, and savannas, with an unparalleled temporal depth in biodiversity data. We are now experiencing some of the greatest ecological change that humans have ever experienced, and now, more than ever, Australia needs to expand its capacity in biodiversity monitoring, not end it. The decommissioning of LTERN will also end Australia’s ability to contribute to the International Long Term Ecological Research Network. On a personal level, LTERN was the only mechanism within Australia for early career researchers to develop their careers in long term research.
The letter has been featured in a news piece in Science titled: “Australia to ax support for long-term ecology sites” and Nature titled: “Ecologists protest Australia’s plans to cut funding for environment-monitoring network“.
Hopefully, the decision to decommission LTERN will be reversed, as ecological processes work on longer time scales than the traditional 3 to 5 year funding cycles.
Lindenmayer D., Burns E. L., Dickman C. R., Green P. T., Hoffmann A. A., Keith D. A., Morgan J. W., Russell-Smith J., Wardle G. M., Gillespie G. R., Cunningham S., Krebs C., Likens G., Pauw J., Troxler T. G., McDowell W. H., Catford J. A., Hobbs R., Bennett A., Nicholson E., Ritchie E., Wilson B., Greenville A. C., Newsome T., Shine R., Kutt A. S., Tulloch A., Thurgate N., Fisher A., Auty K., Smith B., Williams R., Fox B., Metternicht G., Bai X., Banks S., Colvin R., Crane M., Dovey L., Fraser C., Foster C., Heinsohn R., Kay G., Ng K., MacGregor C., Michael D., O’Loughlin T., Portfirio L., Robin L., Salt D., Sato C., Scheele B., Stein J., Stein J., Walker B., Westgate M., Wilson G., Wood J., Venn S., Vardon M., Legge S., Costanza R., Kenny D., Burnett P., Welsh A., Moore J., Sgrò C. & Westoby M. (2017). Save Australia’s ecological research. Science 357, 557.