Pattern of inorganic inputs and movement of nutrients through soils, groundwater, and surface waters; and
Pattern and frequency of disturbance to the site.
Research at the Andrews site has focused on several areas, including the disturbance regime, vegetation succession, long-term site productivity, and decomposition processes. The commitment to long-term studies is evident in these areas. A good example of this is a log decomposition study, which will determine the effects of log size and quality and of the site environment on the pattern and rate of decomposition and nutrient release. In the largest and longest decomposition experiment, more than 500 logs of four species were placed at six old-growth forest sites. That study is designed to track samples over a 200-year period (Harmon, 1992).
The scientific scope of the committee's case study is limited to the interdisciplinary observational and experimental studies at the LTER Andrews site, although it also reviews the data management and institutional relationships of the Andrews site to the other LTER sites and to NSF.
The research at the Andrews site has certain key similarities to the committee's other case studies. It was intended to sample and study interdisciplinary problems and issues. For example, it includes coordinated studies in air, soil, water, and various forms of biota. The research was well under way, having begun several decades before it was officially designated as an LTER site in 1980. The data collected could be expected to be useful in global change studies and in other types of long-term environmental monitoring efforts. And, finally, a variety of investigators worked on the same general study area.
The committee was primarily interested in the data management activities of the Andrews site. These activities are managed by the Quantitative Science Group under the auspices of Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service. There appears to be little distinction between whether an individual works for the university of the Forest Service. This arrangement seems to work well for a number of reasons. There has been a long and close working relationship between the U.S. Forest Service Research Laboratory and the Forest Science Department at Oregon State University's College of Forestry, as well as other departments. The proximity of the two buildings housing the respective scientists also promotes good collaboration. In fact, several university researchers and staff have their offices in the Forest Service Laboratory building. In addition, there has been a history of successful preparation of joint research proposals between university and Forest Service staff. This, plus traditional attributes of working at a university, such as joint appointments and cooperating