The European network for field research, LTER Europe (Long Term Ecosystem Research), has been recognised as an important research infrastructure in the EU. LTER Europe includes LTER Sweden, where 11 of SLU's field stations are included.
"The inclusion of the LTER network in the EU Roadmap for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), side by side with, for example, the particle accelerator LHC at CERN, is an important development", says the SLU researcher Ulf Grandin, coordinator of the Swedish section of LTER.
There are twenty Swedish research stations in the LTER network. The LTER stations conduct long-term environmental monitoring of biology and chemistry, as well as ecological and socio-ecological research. Among other things, they aim to stimulate research collaboration and the exchange of environmental data between researchers and organisations both in Sweden and in Europe.
One important outcome of LTER Europe's ESFRI application was a closer cooperation between LTER Sweden and SITES. SITES is a network based on the Swedish Research Council's investment in infrastructure in a selection of Swedish field stations. Seven out of nine stations in SITES are included in LTER Sweden. SLU hosts both networks.
"The biggest benefit of LTER Europe's entry into the EU Roadmap for Research Infrastructures is that it paves the way for the network to become a formalised and permanently funded infrastructure for ecosystem and socio-ecological research and long-term environmental monitoring", says Ulf Grandin.
However, it is a long build-up process and it is not until 2025 that the LTER/ESFRI infrastructure will be up and running at full scale.
"Once the infrastructure is running, we will have a network of highly instrumented field stations with long time series of environmental data. The intention is that researchers will be able to use the network to carry out advanced ecosystem studies at different scales, from genes to whole ecosystems, for example to study how nature responds to major impact factors like air pollution and climate change", says Ulf Grandin.
ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures)
ESFRI is the EU Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures. The purpose of the forum is to develop scientific integration in Europe and strengthen international cooperation.
Read more: ESFRI
LTER Sweden (Long Term Ecosystem Research)
LTER Sweden is a network of Swedish research stations and areas dedicated to long-term environmental monitoring and ecological and socio-ecological research. The European network comprises 535 LTER stations and areas, of which 20 are located in Sweden.
Read more: LTER Sweden
SITES is a nationally coordinated infrastructure for terrestrial and limnological field research, which will help to strengthen Swedish research based on measurements and field experiments. Behind the initiative is the Swedish Research Council, which together with the University of Gothenburg, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, SLU, Stockholm University and Uppsala University, funds the initiative.
Read more: SITES