Long-term socio-ecological research in southern Patagonia: interdisciplinary strategies to achieve natural resource conservation by sustainable management under scenarios of global change.
The ecological, social, institutional and political dimensions of environmental problems encompass spatial and temporal scales that exceed the majority of scientific research projects. An alternative that has increased over time throughout the world is the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) or Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) approach, but this initiative has thematic and geographic gaps. One of these is Argentina, but there is a great quantity of experience that can be brought to bear on the integration of our country into this network. The objective of this work is to evaluate the general framework of long-term ecological research in Argentina, particularly southern Patagonia. We take two lines of investigation as case studies (i) the ecology and conservation of native forests via forestry management, and (ii) the ecology and management of biological invasions. A summary of research (past and present) is presented, the principal results obtained, strategies applied and lessons learned. This review allows us to make inferences regarding the feasibility of implementing this type of program in Argentina, which can be sustained over time and be integrated between disciplines and with decision-makers. We conclude that there are both great potential and opportunities to consolidate an LTER/LTSER type network in Argentina.