Science and society: The role of long-term studies in environmental stewardship

Charles T. Driscoll, Kathleen F. Lambert, F. Stuart Chapin, David J. Nowak, Thomas A. Spies, Frederick J. Swanson, David B. Kittredge, Clarisse M. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Long-term research should play a crucial role in addressing grand challenges in environmental stewardship. We examine the efforts of five Long Term Ecological Research Network sites to enhance policy, management, and conservation decisions for forest ecosystems. In these case studies, we explore the approaches used to inform policy on atmospheric deposition, public land management, land conservation, and urban forestry, including decisionmaker engagement and integration of local knowledge, application of models to analyze the potential consequences of policy and management decisions, and adaptive management to generate new knowledge and incorporate it into decisionmaking. Efforts to enhance the role of long-term research in informing major environmental challenges would benefit from the development of metrics to evaluate impact; stronger partnerships among research sites, professional societies, decisionmakers, and journalists; and greater investment in efforts to develop, test, and expand practice-based experiments at the interface of science and society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-366
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Long Term Ecological Research Network
  • boundary spanning
  • environmental policy and management
  • science communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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