LTER-Europe consists of separately governed and funded national LTER networks. These networks and their sites comply with the LTER-Europe criteria. All LTER-Europe member networks are also members of the international LTER network, ILTER.
Index to national networks
The development of long-term ecological research in Austria started with a nationwide review of projects and facilities dedicated to ecosystem research by the Austrian Network for Environmental Research. This review resulted in the foundation of the Austrian Society for Long-term Ecological Research (LTER-Austria) in 2002. LTER Austria is formal member of the ILTER Network and the regional LTER-Europe Network since 2004. In the LTER-Austria White Paper 2015 the strategic options for organizing the national long-term ecosystem research in the context of the European Research Area are described.
At present LTER-Bulgaria consists of 7 sites developing long term ecosystem research, a National Coordinating Committee and a group of Site Coordinators. The development of the LTER-Bulgaria Network and the formal admission to ILTER are strongly supported with official letters of support by:
- Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
- Ministry of Environment & Water
- Bulgarian Union of scientists
- Bulgarian Ecological Society
The Czech LTER network of 7 sites was proposed and organized by the Czech National MAB Committee. It includes 6 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and one aquatic man-made site, a reservoir in the upper Vltava River watershed. All selected sites have a long history of research. Ecological research (as well as nature protection) in the Czech Republic has a long tradition. Long-term data on biotic and abiotic parameters were gathered by research institutions and universities in specific topics and projects (intensely during the International Biological Programme in seventies of the past century). Governmental and regional organizations perform regular monitoring, for national environmental protection and for the implementation of international conventions.
LTER Denmark joined ILTER in 2015.
FinLTSER (Finnish Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research network) brings together the Finnish research sites and scientists that have conducted world-class research on long-term socio-ecological processes and problems into a coordinated Finnish research infrastructure, where the expertise and resources of both universities and main governmental research institutes are combined. These ecosystem research sites/platforms support, enhance and promote the inter-disciplinary investigation of long-term biodiversity and ecosystem processes at varying spatial and temporal scales.
The FinLTSER network was established in 2006 and consists presently of nine highly instrumented sites/research platforms, representing the main ecosystems (marine, terrestrial, lake, sub-arctic, urban) in Finland.
The Zones Ateliers: a French interdisciplinary network for long-term environmental research on human-dominated landscapes
The Zones Ateliers (ZAs) are an interdisciplinary network of researchers, involving several institutes and organisations. ZAs are supported by the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) since 2000. The ZAs conduct long term fundamental and applied researches, in the field of environmental sciences, in response to the society’s demands. The ZAs are tools for environmental science-related research around a structuring element (river, landscape, town, …). They ensure a national service of observation and research in environment in an international scientific framework.
The German network for long term ecological research LTER-D is a platform for communication, documentation and collaboration of scientists in long-term, system-oriented and interdisciplinary environmental research in Germany. It covers more than 30 sites and platforms performing long-term ecological research in all relevant ecosystem types from the high mountains to the Wadden Sea and even a marine site in the arctic ocean. The German LTER was founded in 2004 and closely linked to the activities of the European (LTER Europe) and the global LTER network ILTER. The further development of LTER-D is tightly tuned with LTER-Europe in order to make both networks powerful.
The scientific basis of LTER Hungary is formed by different research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and from departments of different universities.
There is a history in Hungary of long-term ecological research motivated either by environmental problems or by scientific purposes. Eutrophication of Lake Balaton, the maintenance of good water quality of the River Danube and the need for insect pest prediction in agriculture and forestry have all initiated mainly long-term biodiversity studies. International scientific programmes such as IBP and MAB were a stimulus for ecosystem studies from the seventies. The demand for developing a nationwide network to integrate the results of formerly separated long-term studies arose in the nineties.
The major impetus came from the cooperation with US LTER scientists. A project (Development of Hungarian-American collaborative research efforts: Biodiversity and Long-Term Ecosystem Research) was started in 1994, supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and HAS (the Hungarian Academy of Sciences). In 1997 the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, after longer negotiations, confirmed the development of a national ecological research network to increase the effectiveness of the research work.
Site-based long-term ecological monitoring and research has a central role in the scientific programme of the network. In Hungary there are three research sites which are representative of the zonal biomes of the country, and have a history of scientific research activity.
LTER-Israel (Ma'arag) is a national network of ecological research organizations. Its mission is to provide natural resource managers with the scientific information necessary to promote long-term biodiversity and sustainible development by:
- State-of-the-art long term ecological research (LTER)
- A national program of biodiversity monitoring
- A center for ecological synthesis and modeling
- Educational programs for resource managers
- A library of research data and publications
The 11 sites are located in three regions: desert, semi-arid and mediterranean. Activities include research, monitoring and education.
LTER-Israel has been a member of ILTER since 1997. Since 2007 it has operated within the MARAG consortium. This consortium operates under the auspices of the Israel Academy of Science and the funding comes from several bodies. These include most of the universities in Israel, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Nature and Parks Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Jewish National Fund and others. The sites are used to monitor biodiversity and other ecological processes, human impact especially grazing, soil and water dynamics, geo-chemical processes, forestry and other issues.
Since 1995, the idea of an Italian network of long term ecological research sites (LTER-Italy) as been considered, at the 7th Congress of the Italian Society of Ecology in Naples in 1996 it became a reality. At the end of the 1990s, a core group of scientists interested in the initiative set it up and this was the real start of the Network implementation. Through communication issues, selection criteria and activities, several other researchers and scientists became involved from public Agencies, Universities and research Institutes they spread information about the initiative and searched for suitable research sites. Favourable conditions for the start up of the Network were available thanks to the international Project ALTER-Net (A Long–Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network; www.alter-net.info) and the National Forest Service – Conecofor Office (Corpo Forestale dello Stato – Ufficio Conecofor), the Italian partner of the project. CONECOFOR have been involved in the LTER–Italy Network since the very beginning. In November 2004, National Forest Service organized a Conference in Rome, inviting researchers interested in long-term research and others involved in the implementation of the network. During the Conference, a Network Agreement was officially signed among the participants setting the goal of implementing the Italian Network.
In November 2004, the Italian National Forest Service organized a Conference in Rome, inviting researchers interested in long-term research and others involved in the implementation of the network. During the Conference, a Network Agreement was officially signed among the participants setting the goal of implementing the Italian Network - those involved were:
Institute for Agro-environmental and Forest Biology
Institute for the Study of Ecosystems
Institute for Marine Science
(all the above dependent on the National Research Council),
- National Forest Service
These organisation, along with the Italian Society of Ecology and Marine Biology Laboratory subscribed to the Agreement. The Agreement established the rules for the Network and kicked-off the setting-up of the first sites, where long-term ecological research activities are on-going. Moreover, the Agreement set the managing structure of the Network, mainly based on a Steering Committee composed of six members, one for each of the six signature parties.
The Steering Committee was expected to guide the development of the Network until 2006, working as a contact entity for all sites managers, giving them support in the starting phases of the Network implementation and establishing scientific relationships with the International LTER Network. The Network Agreement also established a Scientific Committee to be elected later, after the selection of a first core set of sites, to follow scientific issues arising from the sites and a periodic auditing of scientific activities within sites.
During 2005, through several internal meetings, the Steering Committee started to analyse the proposed sites and the on-going research activities within them. In February 2006 a ranked list of appropriate sites for LTER-Italy was produced.
In March 2006 a general Assembly was held in Rome in National Forest Service central Headquarters: all members of the Steering Committee, managers of sites and proposed candidates for the Scientific Committee were invited. During the Assembly, the selected core set of sites was presented, inputs and ideas were collected from participants and goals and objectives were set for the following months: the Steering Committee was officially enriched with three new members and changed its name to the Executive Committee; 7 members of the Scientific Committee were elected. The Executive Committee and the Scientific Committee first met in Rome in June 2006, in order to integrate knowledge on the Network structure, discuss the proposal for admission in ILTER, organize a possible review of candidate sites.
During ILTER Coordinating Committee meeting held in Gobabeb (Namibia), in August 2006, the LTER-Italy proposal was officially submitted and approved for inclusion in the international Network.
At present, LTER-Italy consists of an integrated group of 10 sites developing long-term ecological research, a secretary’s Office, a group of site managers, an Executive Committee and a Scientific Committee.
The National LTER Network of Latvia is carrying out long-term research projects focused on problems of human influence and effects of climate warming on community composition, population dynamics and ecosystem proceses. Long-term ecological research has been performed in Latvia since 1990s. Thanks to the initiative of the US LTER network, financial support from the US NSF and the Latvian Council of Science, Latvia was accepted as a member of ILTER in 2004.
The LTER Latvia network includes two terrestrial sites, two freshwater sites and one LT(S)ER platform. Terrestrial sites cover pine forest ecosystems (Mazsalaca LTER site) and coastal meadows (Randu meadows LTER site). One freshwater sites is a water reservoir of the Riga Hydropower station (RHPS), and the other is the Salaca River, a small salmon river. The LT(S)ER platform (644 sq km) represents a drainage area of the coastal Lake Engure, and includes the Lake Engure Nature Park – a Ramsar site.
Three LTER sites (Mazsalaca site, Randu meadows and Salaca River) are situated in the North Vidzeme Biosphere Reserve.
- Mazsalaca site: Mazsalaca LTER site consists of three Scots pine forest stands of different age (30-40, 50-70, and 200 year-old pine stands). There the effects of climate warming on the main components of forest ecosystems have been studied since 1992.
- Randu Meadows: Long-term changes in meadow vegetation and grass-dwelling invertebrate communities on the background of climate fluctuations and different management practices have been studied in the Randu meadows since 1996.
- Salaca River: Regular sudies of the Salaca river ecosystem have been performed since 1982. Changes in land use patterns predetermined by social and economical changes in Latvia have been reflected in aquatic communities of the Salaca River.
- Riga Hydropower station (RHPS): In 1976 a study of the process of stabilization of aquatic communities after construction of the dam was started in the water reservoir of RHPS.
- Engure Ramsar site/platform: The longest data series (since 1950s) are on the ornithofauna and water bird populations in the Engure Ramsar site. In 1995 these studies were extended to a landscape level including other components of the wetlands and terrestrial part of the region. Ecological and socio-economic studies of the territory will be integrated within the LT(S)ER platform research program aimed at working out scenarios of the region's development.
LTER Netherlands, a unique, new Dutch network for Long-Term Ecosystem Research, is currently being developed from scratch with WaLTER as starting point. Goal is to join the international umbrella organisations ILTER and LTER-Europe.
Our ambition is to form a new LTER-Europe task force for the Wadden Sea area in Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark.
In the first design the Dutch Wadden Sea area is covered with one LTSER platform (a region for long-term socio-economic and ecological research) and several LTER subsites, where long-term ecosystem research is conducted. It is investigated which sites should be selected as LTER-sites.
The Polish LTER network was established as a formal member of the International LTER network (ILTER) in 1998, as a result of a bilateral agreement between the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the then Chair of ILTER. Polish LTER is coordinated by the European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology u/a UNESCO, International Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The first network comprised these sites: Masurian Lakeland, Bialowieza Forest, Zegrzynski Dam Reservoir, Kampinoski National Park, Bieszczady Montains and Tatra Mountains. Since then, more sites have been added (see 'mind map' diagram below).
The Portuguese Ecological Society (SPECO) is developing the LTER Project in Portugal. The national network will be developed in the scope of the Iberian Peninsula in close collaboration with the Spanish Association of Terrestrial Ecology. This project is supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology.
The Romanian LTER was established in order to respond to the need of understanding and managing the complexity and the dynamics of ecological systems, including socio-economic systems. This requires the development of scientific support for restructuring the socio-economic system, and integration with other similar national and international networks.
The Serbian national network for Long Term Ecosystem Research presents the basis for communication and coordination of scientists and institutions that actively contribute to long-term research of ecological systems. It is a network of several research institutions and LTER infrastructure.
On the national level it has been established since December 2008. It was accepted as a member of the global LTER network (ILTER) in August 2009, under the condition that it will prove within two years its operational capability. At the moment 3 of 13 LTER Serbia sites are active.
LTER Slovakia is a national network for co-operation of scientists, scientific organizations and stakeholders in long-term ecological research. Our mission is to provide the research community, policy makers and society with sound scientific information, predictive understanding of ecological and socio-economic processes and inform solutions to current and future environmental problems.
Slovakia was invited to join the international LTER programme (ILTER) in 1995, becomes its member and till 2007, LTER Slovakia cooperated especially with national networks of surrounding countries in the regional ILTER network for Central and Eastern Europe. Since 2007, LTER Slovakia is member of LTER Europe and its recent development is closely linked with the progress of LTER Europe.
In order to pool resources in Slovenia in the field of socio-ecological research, and to promote international networking, we have inaugurated the LTER-Slovenija project. This is a group of several institutions with support from the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia.
Our mission in brief is
- To be the main coordinating body for networked socio-ecological research in Slovenia, which entails both running our own research program and coordinating our research with partners abroad.
- Establishment of a network of sites to allow Slovenian scientists to address ecological issues on broad spatial and temporal scales in an interdisciplinary way.
- Corollary: To understand the role of biological diversity in ecosystem processes and in the provision of services to the biosphere, including humans.
- Create a legacy of well-designed and documented experiments and observations for future generations of society.
The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network is a collaborative effort involving scientists, managers and institutions helping to investigate ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. The Network promotes synthesis and comparative research across sites and ecosystems and among other related national and international research programs. LTER Spain became a member of ILTER in August 2008.
LTER-Sweden was founded in June 2010, and adopted by LTER-Europe and ILTER in August 2010. LTER-Sweden is based on a number of established and running instrumented sites for ecological research and monitoring. The Swedish network is built on the bottom-up principle, where individual sites form the basis of the network, and a central secretariat coordinates national activities and contacts with the European and International mother LTER organisations. LTER-Sweden is governed by the member organisations through an annual meeting with one voting member per LTER site. A management board with members from a selection of the sites deals with strategic planning, grant applications and other managemenet issues. The central secretariat will run daily issues and be responsible for e.g. organising the annual meeting, maintaining the web site, updates and contacts with ILTER, LTER Europe, end users and stake holders.
The Swiss Long-term Ecological Network is a set of highly instrumented research platforms (LWF-sites). It is designed to collect, store, manage, analyse and interpret long-term data based on a set of key physical, chemical and biological variables, which drive and respond to environmental changes. Its mission is to improve our understanding of how natural and anthropogenic stresses affect forests and other ecosystems in the long term, and which risks for humans are involved.
The 19 forest sites (established in 1994) are part of the "International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests" (ICP-Forests). One subalpine site has been selected as the Swiss terrestrial ecosystem site for the ESFRI-initiative ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observing System). Using a network of selected study sites, we monitor the long-term response of forest ecosystem components and processes to the most relevant stress factors. Our particular emphasis is on atmospheric deposition, the biogeochemical cycle, the climate, the soil, the ground vegetation and the trees. The data are stored in a central database and are available through a variety of data access methods.
As of today, the network consists of forest sites only. However, it is planned to expand the network towards other ecosystems in the near future.
The Environmental Change Network (ECN) is the UK's long-term environmental monitoring programme. It is designed to collect, store, analyse and interpret long-term data based on a set of key physical, chemical and biological variables which drive and respond to environmental change at a range of terrestrial and freshwater sites across the UK.
ECN was launched in 1992. Monitoring started formally in 1993 at 8 terrestrial sites and in 1994 at most freshwater sites. A few additional sites were added since then. The data are stored in a central database and are available through a variety of data access methods.
ECN is a multi-agency programme sponsored by a consortium of 14 UK government departments and agencies. These organisations contribute to the programme through funding either site monitoring and/or network co-ordination activities.