The European Commission recently approved funding for two major development projects to the European field research network LTER Europe (Long Term Ecosystem Research). SLU will be involved with researchers and field stations in the projects.
The purpose of the two projects is to develop today's field research network into a permanent European Research Infrastructure (eLTER RI) for long-term ecosystem research. In total, the grants comprise € 14 million over five years.
"The network is essential to meet the need for knowledge about today's and the future's major environmental challenges, under conditions of accelerating global environmental problems. The current organisation of ecosystem research in Europe is divided into different research groups and different measurement methods. The goal of the network is to harmonise methods and increase collaboration across subject boundaries", says Ulf Grandin, who is the coordinator of the Swedish LTER network.
In Sweden, LTER collaborates with the SITES network, which is based on the Swedish Research Council's investment in infrastructure at a selection of Swedish field stations, all of which are part of the LTER network. SLU is the head of both networks and operates 12 of the 21 field research stations that are part of LTER Sweden.
"SLU will participate with researchers and field stations in the two approved projects", says Ulf Grandin.
At present, approximately 250 selected research stations in 24 European countries will be included in eLTER RI.
The selected research stations cover all biogeographical regions in Europe. These include, in addition to research and long-term measurements of the environment and biodiversity, also socio-ecology (the interaction between people and nature) and research on the so-called critical zone, that is, the extremely thin layer of the globe and the atmosphere where all life on earth exists.
The entire infrastructure will be managed from a newly established coordination office at UFZ in Leipzig.