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Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe

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Categories of LTER Sites and LTSER Platforms

What is meant by Sites and Platforms?

 

  • LTER Site: (Long-Term Ecosystem Research. Synonyms: 'traditional' LTER site): LTER-facility of limited size (up to 10 km²) and comprising mainly one habitat type and form of land use. Activities concentrate on small-scale ecosystem processes and structures (biogeochemistry, selected taxonomic groups, primary production, disturbances etc.). There are often unique long-term datasets associated with LTER sites Read more ...
  • LTSER Platform (Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research): Modular LTER-facility consisting of sites which are located in an area with defined boundaries. Besides this physical component, LTSER-Platforms provide multiple services like the networking of client groups (e.g. research, local stakeholders), data management, communication and representation (management component). The elements of LTSER Platforms represent the main habitats, land use forms and practices relevant for the broader region (up to 10000 km²) and cover all scales and levels relevant for LTSER (from local to landscape). LTSER-Platforms should represent economic and social units or coincide/overlap with such units where adequate information on land use history, economy and demography is available to allow for socio-ecological research. Read more ...

 

Classification of LTER Sites

LTER-Europe distinguishes 3 classes of LTER Sites with respect to infrastructure, comprehensivness of ecosystem approach and age:

  • Master LTER Site (Synonyms: 'top site'; 'supersite'; 'LTER hub'; 'HIS=Highly Instrumented Site'; M-Site): Highly instrumented and permanently operated sites, featuring an ecosystem approach in terms of combining regular sampling (weekly as standard), permanent measurements and inventories at appropriate intervals across drivers and ecosystem compartments . Design of sites customized according the ecological profile of the site and enabling integrated analyses across system strata (geosphere to atmosphere) and covering therefore required spatial scales. Experimental approaches shall be existent or possible. All year access and power supply must be secured in order to enable e.g. measurement of climate data according to international standards. A maximum of other networks and/or related projects shall have been using this category of site (e.g. EMEP, CarboEurope, UNECE ICPs, national monitoring networks...). Operation for at least 10 years. The intention is to flag sites, which can be considered as key ecosystem research infrastructures on the European scale.
  • LTER Site (Synonyms: 'regular' LTER site; R-Site): In principle, these sites comply with the description of Master LTER Sites, but differ in volume of instrumentation as well as multi use and availability of long-term data across all ecosystem compartments and disciplines.
  • Emerging & extensive LTER Site (Synonyms: 'pilot LTER site'; E-Site): This class represents:
    a) Emerging = recently established LTER Sites (3-5 years of observation) being developed towards a higher category OR
    b) Extensive = LTER Sites with specific long-term monitoring  and scientific foci and therefore not following the full ecosystem approach (e.g. for reasons of limited considered spatial scale). Extensive LTER Sites may emphasize the long-term monitoring (observation), but there must be an explicit research component.

 

Access to Sites and Platforms

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