Long-term Ecological Research: Coweeta History and Perspectives

  • Author(s): Swank, Wayne T.; Meyer, Judith L.; Crossley, Deyree A.
  • Date: 2001
  • Station ID: Miscellaneous Publication-SRS-


The Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory-Institute of Ecology cooperative research program is one of the longest continuous collaborations on forest-ecosystem structure and function between a federal agency and academia in the country. Formally established in 1968, the program continues to mature in scientific scope, interdisciplinary expertise, administrative challenges, and relevance for natural resource and environmental management. Our objectives in this chapter are to (1) provide a historical context that summarizes the maturation in research philosophy of the longterm research program at Coweeta, and identifies the people who led the effort; (2) discuss the benefits and contributions of the collaboration with regard to education and training; (3) and, based on these lessons, suggest some of the ingredients required to sustain successful long-term ecosystem research into the future. We are frequently asked what is "long-term" research: we consider the minimum window of investigation for forest ecosystems to include the life span of the forest of interest. This time frame usually encompasses at least one generation of scientists and frequently two or more generations.

  • Citation: Swank, Wayne T.; Meyer, Judith L.; Crossley, Deyree A., Jr. 2001. Long-term Ecological Research: Coweeta History and Perspectives. In: Holistic Science, Gary W. Barrett and Terry L. Barrett, Ann Arbor. Sheridan Books, 2001.

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