Incorporating remote sensing and GIS technology in long-term and large scale ecological research
Ecological processes occur at all temporal and spatial scales. The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, was established to allow ecologists to deal with longer and larger scales than is routinely possible using conventional, short-term funding mechanisms. The LTER program currently includes a network of 17 ecologically diverse sites located throughout the U.S. Each of these sites is developing a resident GIS capacity. This paper describes this process for one LTER site, the North Temperate Lakes (NTL) site, which is administered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology. Located in northeastern Wisconsin, the field site resides in one of the largest concentrations of lakes in the world. Research at the site is aimed at improving the understanding of the long-term trends and patterns in the physical, chemical, and biological properties of lake ecosystems.