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Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe

History and Development of LTER Italy

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.