Chile's Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) Network develops a new scientific model that permits not only the improvement of interdisciplinary research but also its integration into the decision-making and social development in Chile through the following actions
- Assure the physical and human infrastructure to conduct long-term research;
- Link projects and researchers for comparative and latitudinal studies that address relevant questions about the socio-ecological dimensions of global change; and
- Form a new generation of academics and professionals with International and interdisciplinary field course experiences.
Since the 1990s, researchers in Chile have called for the formalization of a long-term ecological research agenda. Today, based on funding from the Basal Financing Program (CONICYT), the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity's agenda extends over broad spatial and time scales. The Chilean LTSER Network was launched in June 2008 at a meeting with scientists and authorities in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve as part of the international workshop "Confronting global change with a network of long-term socio-ecological research sites in the south of the Americas." In its first phase, the network linked existing programs at Fray Jorge National Park (30˚S), Senda Darwin Biological Station (42˚S), and Omora Ethnobotanical Park (55˚S), thus uniting the entire latitudinal range of temperate forest ecosystems in southern South America, and in addition to accumulating high quality, continuous environmental data, this program provides infrastructure to conduct international and interdisciplinary research and field courses. The permanent insertion of research and academics into local and regional contexts facilitates the link between science and society, including decision-making, the implementation of two biosphere reserves, and biocultural conservation strategies.
The Chilean LTSER Network, coordinated by the IEB, provides a unique scenario to conduct interdisciplinary research about socio-ecological processes and global change, given that the network:
- extends over the largest latitudinal range of temperate forests in the Southern Hemisphere,
- corresponds to the area of the world with the least atmospheric deposition,
- includes a range of the driest, wettest and coldest sites of South American temperate forests, and
- integrate the efforts of three sites with as much as 20 years of experience in long-term research and pioneering initiatives in the integration of academic disciplines and academia with society.
In 2021, the Omora Ethnobotanical Park (55˚S)-LTSER site will inaugurate the Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center, which will undertake the role of the coordinating its field stations, and become the Cape Horn--LTSER network that includes the new sites in Diego Ramirez Islands - Drake Passage Marine Park and the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (20 million hectares of protected area). This new facility will be a global platform for long-term scientific research on sub-Antarctic marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems.