Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Documenting and Perpetuating Long-Term Ecological Research: History and Historical Preservation at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest

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Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Samuel Schmieding
Anita Guerrini

The H.J. Andrew Experimental Forest has evolved over 67-years from a traditional U.S. Forest Services experimental forest to a noted Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site that has greatly influenced forestry, ecosystem science, public policy, and land management. That history produced an enormous amount of historical "detritus" - data logbooks, field notebooks, memos, letters, reports, proposals, manuscripts, photographs, maps, computer data, instrumentations records, video and audio recordings, that were dispersed, disorginazed and unusable for scientific, historical or administrative purposes. Motivated by concerns over historical preservation as well as scientific and administrative needs, we have inventoried the HJA's enormous cache of records and are now working to create a professionally curated collection at the Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center.

This  poster illustrates the project's logistical challenges an its conceptual importance to ecosystem science, especially long-term, placed based research. We believe historical preservation and archiving are essential long-term scientific research programs and sites (LTER/ILTER and otherwise) to be successful long after their founding generations are gone. Extending the historical preservations theme, this project also includes gathering oral histories from HJA researchers as well as land managers ans policymakers. This collection's benefits to the Andrew's science will be tremendous, as researchs can look at original data, methods and concepts, to check, re-calibrate or modify theories and results, it will help proposal and funding processes, and placement of these materials in a prominent university archives will aid research on the history of science, ecosystem science, forestry and land management. We also hope this project can serve as a model for long-term scientific research programs in terms of managing historical records an to increase the role of historical scholarship in scientific endeavors.