The LTER Network was founded in 1980 by the National Science Foundation with the recognition that long-term research could help unravel the principles and processes of ecological science, which frequently involves long-lived species, legacy influences, and rare events. As policymakers and resource managers strive to incorporate reliable science in their decision making, the LTER Network works to generate and share useful and usable information.

The Goals of the LTER Network:

  • Understanding: To understand a diverse array of ecosystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
  • Synthesis: To create general knowledge through long-term, interdisciplinary research, synthesis of information, and development of theory.
  • Outreach: To reach out to the broader scientific community, natural resource managers, policymakers, and the general public by providing decision support, information, recommendations, and the knowledge and capability to address complex environmental challenges.
  • Education: To promote training, teaching, and learning about long-term ecological research and the Earth’s ecosystems, and to educate a new generation of scientists.
  • Information: To inform the LTER and broader scientific community by creating well-designed and well-documented databases.
  • Legacies: To create a legacy of well-designed and documented long-term observations, experiments, and archives of samples and specimens for future generations.