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Urban Long Term Research Areas (ULTRA)

Meeting the Challenges of the First Urban Century with Unique Capabilities of the U.S. Forest Service

More than 80% of the United States’ population lives in urban and urbanizing areas.  Cities are increasingly environmental leaders in addressing links between environmental health and community well-being.  Our ability to address many of the environmental and social challenges facing us this century will depend upon novel solutions and leadership from our cities.  Over the past century, U.S. Forest Service Experimental Forests have been critical to long-term understanding and stewardship of rural ecosystems. We build on this history, and our partnership in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, by joining the National Science Foundation in the Urban Longer Term Research Area – or ULTRA – program. The network of Urban Long Term Research Areas will promote and coordinate research, applications, and education to enhance urban sustainability across the country. ULTRAs will focus on long term changes and links between ecological structure and function, ecosystem services, and human perceptions, behaviors, and institutions.

Call for Proposals

On April 9, 2009, NSF released the call for proposals for an initial round of planning grants as a first step towards creating the ULTRA network. Proposals for ULTRA exploratory grants are due July 7, 2009. Find the call and more information about the program at:

Urban Long-Term Research Area (ULTRA) Exploratory Awards (ULTRA-Ex)

Available Formats: HTML | PDF | TXT

Document Number: nsf09551

Forest Service involvement in this initiative may provide broader awareness of and support for the diverse programs of the Forest Service while providing immediate and direct benefits to the majority of the U.S. population. ULTRA provides research opportunities for all of FS R&D, not just those already interested in cities. Indeed, not only does it provide these opportunities, success will require the input of expertise across a broad spectrum of FS R&D, ranging from researchers and practitioners in silviculture and wildlife, to hydrology and meteorology, to economics and recreation. Likewise, ULTRA provides opportunities for all missions areas of the agency: the National Forests, especially those near urban areas; State and Private Forestry; and International Programs.

Ultimately, the goal of this initiative is to better link the long term prospects for environmental health and community well-being in our cities and regions through research, applications, and education.

Partnering with National Science Foundation (NSF) programs — Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network and National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) — to leverage existing infrastructure and expertise

Last Modified: 05/04/2009