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Science. 1998 Oct 30;282(5390):893-6.

Long-term agroecosystem experiments: assessing agricultural sustainability and global change

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P. E. Rasmussen, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center, Pendleton, OR 97801, USA. K. W. T. Goulding, Institute of Arable Crops Research-Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertford.


Long-term agroecosystem experiments can be defined as large-scale field experiments more than 20 years old that study crop production, nutrient cycling, and environmental impacts of agriculture. They provide a resource for evaluating biological, biogeochemical, and environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability; for predicting future global changes; and for validating model competence and performance. A systematic assessment is needed to determine the merits of all known experiments and to identify any that may exist in tropical and subtropical environments. The establishment of an international network to coordinate data collection and link sites would facilitate more precise prediction of agroecosystem sustainability and future global change.


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