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Long-Term Ecological ResearchChanging the Nature of Scientists$
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Michael R. Willig and Lawrence R. Walker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199380213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199380213.001.0001

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Long-Term Ecological Research on the Urban Frontier: Benefiting from Baltimore

Long-Term Ecological Research on the Urban Frontier: Benefiting from Baltimore

(p.119) 11 Long-Term Ecological Research on the Urban Frontier: Benefiting from Baltimore
Long-Term Ecological Research

Steward T. A. Pickett

Oxford University Press

The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program has made me a more effective scientist because I have had to learn about disciplines that are very distant from my own, and it has helped me see the relevance of my own interests in the context of rapidly changing systems in which human agency is inescapable. Being a part of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) site has extended my educational activities to primary and secondary school situations. It has been both an eye opener and personally very rewarding to interact in city classrooms and after-school programs. I have found myself in demand as a public speaker as a result of serving as leader of one of the two urban LTER programs. My communication skills and strategies have been greatly improved as a result. Collaboration has taught me to listen more effectively and to emphasize dialogue rather than exposition. Multidisciplinary urban field trips are powerful tools for joint research and for communication with people in the community. My role in the LTER network has been as principal investigator of the BES site from its inception in 1997. Before involvement in the LTER program, I conducted urban ecological research in metropolitan New York. My interests beyond urban studies include vegetation dynamics, natural disturbance, and landscape ecology. At the time that my involvement in the LTER program began, I became part of a multidisciplinary and international team conducting a 10-year study of the linkages between rivers and upland savannas in Kruger National Park, South Africa. In the LTER network, I have been a member of the committee on scientific initiatives and the Science Council. I have also contributed to cross-site integration through workshops at the LTER network’s triennial All Scientists Meetings and to cross-site activities such as comparison of disturbance across the network (Peters et al. 2011). I hold a BS and a PhD in botany, specializing in plant ecology. I am currently Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, a flexible position that has allowed me to explore the cross-disciplinary and synthetic approaches required to lead an urban LTER program.

Keywords:   French Zone Ateliers, Schoolyard LTER Program, South Africa, ULTRA-Ex, geographic information systems, landscape architecture, resilience, restoration, riparian, sustainability

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