Inspired by the Green Revolution, IRRI proactively begun looking at the sustainability of intensive rice cropping systems in the 1960s with the long-term vision of determining the interactions among different components of the rice ecosystem.

IRRI has always been at the forefront of rice research using more advanced rice varieties, fertilizer management, irrigation approaches, and modern pest control methods in its Long-Term Continuous Cropping Experiment (LTCCE). It is among the few "classical" long-term experiments, being the world's longest-running triple rice cropping experiment. After almost 60 years, IRRI is still leading in what is now called sustainable agricultural intensification.

Initiated by the Deputy Director General for Research through the Long-Term Experiments Oversight Committee (LTE-OC) , the IRRI LTE was launched as a common research experiment resource for all IRRI researchers in 2017. Its operation and management are relatively stable and maintained at minimum costs. IRRI researchers are now conducting multi-disciplinary measurements and observations in these experiments, including data gathering using remote sensing and its calibration. A data access policy is now in place to allow the free use of these long-term datasets in addressing current sustainability questions towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This makes it an even rarer data resource because research around sustainability requires experiments which have been running for a minimum of ten years. IRRI LTCCE is now on its 58th year while the IRRI Rice Upland Crop Rotation Experiment (RUCRE) is on its 27th year.

Ensuring the sustainability of rice-based agroecosystems

The massive compendium of IRRI LTE data from the 1960s to the present is a valuable asset. It documents yield trends over time and reflects how the changing climate has affected the performance of intensive rice cropping systems. It identifies potential challenges that rice-based cropping systems may encounter in the future so scientists can proactively develop solutions to these challenges ahead of time.

Helping achieve the UN SDGs

IRRI LTE continues to provide evidence on how agronomic management and improved rice varieties contribute to higher system productivity and resource-use efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts under changing climates.

SDGs: Zero Hunger (2), Life on Land (15)

Serving as a rich and rare data resource for research and extension

IRRI’s Soil Archive---which started in 1983-- allows scientists to step back in time to investigate sustainability indicators using more advanced methodologies, which are now available, and has become a platform for international research collaborations.

Who we are

LTE Operations Team (LTE-OT) : Manages the long -term experiments

LTE Oversight Committee (LTE-OC): Oversees and provides scientific leadership in the evolution of long-term experiments at IRRI

The Sustainable Impact Platform (SIP): Home of the LTE and the champion for looking after the sustainability of rice-based ecosystems

IRRI’s Soil, Climate, and Water Cluster: Complements the LTE objectives and offers more opportunities for collaborations leading to more efficient resource sharing

Key partners in LTE operations: Zeigler Experiment Station for LTE management requirements and the IRRI Service Laboratories for chemical analyses