The U.S. Long Term Ecological Research program (hereafter US-LTER) concentrates on ecological processes that play out at the time scales spanning decades to centuries. This focuses US-LTER research between the most common time scales for ecological studies (1-3 years; Tilman 1989; Figure 1) and the much longer temporal fact of disciplines such as paleoecology. The importance of the decade-to-century time scale is particularly evident in light of the rapid changes in ecological forcing functions that are occurring at a broad range of spatial scales (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007). Long-term data sets from programs such as US-LTER provide a context to evaluate the pace of ecological change, to interpret its effects, and to forecast the range of future biological responses to change.
Gosz, James R.; Robert B. Waide; and John J. Magnuson. "Twenty-eight years of the US-LTER Program: Experience, results, and research questions." (2010). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/lter_reports/160