Roland Piquepaille writes today about the Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) now underway in Brazil, with the cooperation of NASA. The researchers claim that this is the world's largest environmental science experiment, comprising 120 projects (of which 61 are already complete). The Earth Observatory group at NASA has an extensive introduction to the LBA.
The LBA site summarizes the program in this way:
LBA will combine newly developed analytical tools and innovative, multidisciplinary, experimental designs in a powerful synthesis which will create new knowledge to address long-standing issues and controversies. LBA will provide new understanding of environmental controls on flows of energy, water, carbon, nutrients, and trace gases between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere of Amazonia to help provide the scientific basis of policies for sustainable use of Amazonian natural resources. The enhancement of research capacities and networks within and between the Amazonian countries associated with LBA will help advance education and applied research into sustainable development, and help in the process of formulating policies for the sustainable development of the region.
800 researchers involved in the project are meeting right now at the III LBA Scientific Conference, discussing the results of the completed projects and the prospects for the ones still underway. This press release from the conference gives a good sense of the scale of the undertaking, albeit with an understandable focus on Brazilian participation. A database of the abstracts of presentations at the conference is also available, for those of you particularly interested in what's going on in Amazonia.