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Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe

More on research and monitoring

More on research and monitoring

One of the peculiarities of LTER relates to the unique interdependency between research and monitoring once a research project can – by definition – not gather all the data it requires. Long-term Ecosystem Monitoring ought to comply with high standards of quality assurance and be continued over decades in order to deliver reliable data series for use in science. This implies severe restrictions with respect to short-term adaptations of methods, experimental designs and the possibilities to specifically work towards a narrow hypothesis. Given their funding and staff, policy scientific institutions face problems in carrying out long-term ecosystem monitoring, whereas environmental monitoring agencies rarely have a strong focus on research. Thus, providing high quality time series and running high level research projects at the same time, referring to the same locations and working on the same question, appear to be conflicting tasks, which lead to the current fragmentation of activities across Europe and within individual countries.

It belongs to LTER-Europe´s most challenging mandates to maximize synergies between research and monitoring, and ecological and socio-economic approaches, thereby decreasing fragmentation, supporting institutional and disciplinary integration of a new generation of ecosystem research. The overarching goal is to provide a sound synthesis of knowledge explaining processes at variety of scales and facilitate its implementation.

 

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