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The Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project

DEB #0423704, 2004-2010 (Phase 2), Funded by the National Science Foundation

CAP-2 proposes to extend long-term study of central Arizona and metropolitan Phoenix, a desert region supporting agricultural and urban/suburban land uses while undergoing rapid urbanization and population growth. CAP studies human drivers and feedbacks of ecological change. Previous work concentrated on the central themes of urbanization patterns and processes altering the city's ecological conditions and surrounding environment, and ecological feedback-social system interactions. CAP-2 reorganizes the program into five new Integrative Project Areas (IPAs) to aid in the explicit inclusion of socioeconomic drivers and feedbacks: 1) land-use and land-cover change, 2) climate and ecosystem dynamics, 3) water policy, use and supply, 4) material flux and socio-ecosystem response, and 5) human control of biodiversity. The modus operandi for long-term monitoring, experiments, information management, site management, network participation and education/outreach was established during CAP-1 pilot projects. Projects continued into CAP-2 include: long-term monitoring at 200 sites across CAP; historical analyses of land use; classification of land cover; documentation of change in land cover and use; river monitoring above and below the city; and establishment of intensive sites for in-depth climatic, ecological, and social surveys and experiments. Three long-term experiments will be continued and a fourth initiated (a long-term factorial N+P fertilization along a deposition gradient). The recently established North Desert Village "experimental suburb" will be the first experimental study of its kind, with manipulations of vegetation types and irrigation methods alongside examination of people-ecological environment interactions at the neighborhood scale.

Broader Impacts. The broader impacts of the proposed CAP project include: 1) raising the profile and awareness of urban ecology in both science and society, 2) contributing to education and outreach at all levels, 3) producing and maintaining a comprehensive, long-term database of ecological and social variables for a rapidly changing socio-ecosystem, and 4) promoting knowledge exchange with community and governmental decision makers. Ecology Explorers, CAP LTER's K-12 education-outreach program, will see continued growth while maintaining its existing diversity of programs and working toward district-wide adoption of the Ecology Explorers curriculum. Two new programs are introduced to promote undergraduate involvement, including the Communities of Research Scholars and Interns. CAP LTER participants developed the ASU IGERT program in urban ecology and will continue to support graduate participation in research, introducing summer support for independent research in CAP-2. Information management will continue to develop innovative new techniques to preserve the long-term integrity and accessibility of the CAP LTER database. Finally, for knowledge exchange, CAP LTER will continue to partner with several related projects and initiatives in science-policy outreach relating to the urban environment.

CePoD Involvement: Nancy Grimm (Principal Investigator), Charles Redman (co-Principal Investigator), Sharon Harlan (co-Principal Investigator), Elizabeth Wentz (co-Principal Investigator), Patricia Gober (Senior Personnel), Scott Yabiku (Senior Personnel)

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