In fact, multi-site, long-term research — in comparison with, for instance, short-term, single-site, modeling, or lab experiments — was by far the most highly ranked approach for developing new theory. Observational research methods (monitoring) and experimental approaches were considered equally important.
Respondents also called for a more supportive research environment and funding structure, including stronger institutional acknowledgement of the contributions of long-term research and greater support during the establishment and maintenance of research programs.
When asked which topics or questions should be targeted in future long-term research, respondents most commonly identified the impacts of global change — including climate change, invasion by non-native species, and anthropogenic disturbance.
“Long-term research has been a primary tool for being able to understand how global changes are happening on the ground, particularly as a result of climate change,” said Sara Kuebbing
, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and lead author of the study. “Almost everyone agrees that it is critically important and needs to be continued.”
Read the article, “Long-term research in ecology and evolution (LTREE): A survey of challenges and opportunities”