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Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe

Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) celebrated in special issue

A special issue concerning long-term ecosystem research has recently been published
Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) celebrated in special issue

Siptenfelde LTER site, Germany

"Studies featured in this special issue exemplify the particular strength of LTER sites: the co-located and coordinated measurement of a broad range of environmental variables characterizing ecosystems."
- Haase et al.

The special issue of Ecological Indicators is dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the German network, LTER-D.

In their introductory paper, the editors, Peter Haase, Mark Frenzel, Stefan Klotz, Martin Musche and Stefan Stoll, describe two main reasons which long-term ecosystem research (LTER) is essential in order to understand environmental change. First, they argue, LTER approaches can help to distinguish naturally driven change from anthropogenic change. Second, changes occur over a wide range of timescales, which requires making long-term observations in order to separate short-term variability from long-term trends.

They conclude, "...to gain a deeper understanding of the processes that drive our ecosystems and to disentangle anthropogenic and natural changes as well as short-term fluctuations and long-term trends, long-term ecosystem research and observation is indispensable."

The special issue comprises 13 articles spanning a range of marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems within and beyond Germany. In their editorial, Haase and colleagues describe the LTER development needs, pointing in particular to the essential role of the EU eLTER H2020 project in improving LTER networking within Europe, through activities such as harmonizing data and improving data access.

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