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Overview of the Oregon Transect Ecosystem Research Project

Peterson, David L., Waring, Richard H.
Ecological applications 1994 v.4 no.2 pp. 211-225
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, aircraft, carbon, computer simulation, coniferous forests, data collection, databases, ecosystems, laboratory techniques, nitrogen, prediction, remote sensing, simulation models, District of Columbia, Oregon
The Oregon Transect Ecosystem Research (OTTER) project is a study of ecosystem functions in coniferous forests using the methods of computer modeling, experimental and theoretical remote sensing, and ecological field and laboratory techniques. The study is focused on predicting the major fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, and water, and the factors that dynamically regulate them. The OTTER project was conceived to test two major questions: (1) Can a generalized ecosystem simulation model, designed to use mainly parameters available from remote sensing, predict the functioning of forests across an environmentally variable region? and (2) To what extent can the variables required by this model be derived from remotely sensed data? The scientific objectives and scope of the project demanded that a coordinated effort be made to link ground measurements with remote sensing and modeling requirements. OTTER was selected as a focus for a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)—sponsored Multi—sensor Aircraft Campaign (MAC; combining NASA aircraft and sensors with those of others) on the basis of experience gained in past ecosystem studies and remote—sensing projects, and the importance of the OTTER objectives to NASA's long—range science goals and plans. Having several independent approaches available, both on the ground and from various remote—sensing platforms, proved valuable in estimating and validating many of the critical variables. This experience and cross comparison should help simplify future studies of a similar nature. Edited data sets from the OTTER project are now available to the scientific community on optical disks or via on—line data banks at NASA (Washington, D.C., USA) and Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon, USA).