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CORDIS - Resultados de investigaciones de la UE

European long-term ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological systems research infrastructure PLUS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - eLTER PLUS (European long-term ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological systems research infrastructure PLUS)

Período documentado: 2021-08-01 hasta 2023-01-31

Earth’s ecosystems are life-supporting systems on which human existence depends. Understanding the functioning of these systems at both local and global scales represents a profound research challenge that no single discipline can fully address. The social and bio-geo-physical dimensions of these challenges are intimately intertwined. This calls for the development of a holistic whole-system approach that brings together multiple knowledge bases to confront sustainability challenges. This is pivotal if we want to reverse ongoing environmental degradation and steer socio-ecological systems toward sustainability.

To this end, eLTER RI offers a continental, integrated ecosystem research infrastructure for multiple user communities to address the Global Grand challenges related to ecosystems, biodiversity loss, climate change and environmental sustainability. eLTER PLUS is the Advanced Community project testing services and engaging users of eLTER RI. eLTER RI is unique in its coverage both geographically and with respect to multidisciplinarity, and comprises terrestrial, freshwater and coastal systems research to address complex, trans-disciplinary research questions relevant to modern society.

eLTER PLUS strives to engage the best expertise and infrastructure available for integrated research on European ecosystems, and to optimize and advance the collaborative use of these services by key user groups. The outcomes of eLTER PLUS provide key input to the eLTER ESFRI process through adjacent Preparatory Phase Project, particularly in relation to understanding the requirements of the wider scientific communities, agreeing a feasible site design, and establishing optimal protocols and service portfolios required to sustainably develop eLTER RI operations. eLTER PLUS uses the transdisciplinary Whole Systems approach for analysing biodiversity loss, climate change adaptation, food security and the related social changes. It serves as a testbed for delivery and optimisation of data production and promotes the use of eLTER in situ data, for example in remote sensing applications.

In order to ensure impact, eLTER PLUS focuses on creating tools for an efficient, innovative and specialized set of observation sites that prove research- and policy-relevant, accessible data on ecosystems, and improve its operations and relevancy through effective collaboration and consultation with wide range of stakeholders. With eLTER PLUS the society will have an improved and more efficient pool of sites and platforms, capable of addressing the future research questions on the functioning of our critical, life supporting systems and on the sustainability of human-ecosystem interactions.
Opening access to sites and their data, and the TA, RA and VA calls are an elementary part of the services to be provided in future eLTER RI. Altogether 3 TA calls have been launched and 65 proposals have been received, of which 47 were accepted. Eight TA projects have been totally finalised with the results published.

The collection of the needs for parameters was identified and VA data calls for the site-specific and pan-European science cases were launched. eLTER Digital Asset Registry is being prepared for cataloging and making these data available. eLTER Data Integration Portal (DIP) integrates metadata provided by the wider LTER network with the DEIMS-SDR (Dynamic Ecological Information System Site and Dataset Registry). The ICT needs and requirements from the eLTER PLUS science cases were collected and will be used to develop information system tools for future work. The Central Data Node (CDN) has been tested and populated with site-specific datasets, and will form an integral part of the eLTER Service Portfolio.

eLTER is well embedded to the RI landscape both in Europe and globally, and the dialogue between eLTER RI and other environmental RIs is continuously ongoing for ensuring the integration and complementarity. The Collaboration letter with ICOS ERIC has been signed and the discussions are ongoing e.g. with AnaEE ERIC and LifeWatch ERIC. The global, long-lasting collaboration includes also promoting conceptualizing the vision of a GERI (Global Ecosystem Research Infrastructure). eLTER is already profiled with its integrating Whole System approach, spanning from long-term in situ observations to experimentation and remote sensing at a continental scale, and bringing together inter- and transdisciplinary researchers in Europe.

eLTER PLUS aims at further engaging the national LTER networks to contribute to the development of the RI. To this end, the Site and Platform Coordinators Forum (SPF), a bottom-up channel to facilitate the information flow between the eLTER ESFRI process and Site and Platform Coordinators (SPCs), has been active (general (bi-)annual meetings, regular webinars, working groups, training events).

A key step forward in the eLTER RI development is harmonization and standardization of observations done at the sites, which is a fundamental requirement for regional and continental scale analysis. The Standard Observations Discussion paper has been updated with wide consultation with national networks and external experts.

In addition to the internal in situ data, also external data, especially concerning socio-ecological research, is valuable to research at the eLTER Sites and LTSER Platforms. The workflows for retrieval and harmonisation of data from official statistics (D4.2) and of legacy data (D4.3) were explored for this purpose.

To increase the visibility and branding of eLTER, several videos (eLTER Sites, training material) were produced and are available in eLTER YouTube channel. Novel dissemination material (e.g. brochures for the four communication target groups) and the continuous presence in social media and quarterly Newsletter were part of the outreach done in eLTER PLUS.
eLTER responds to the challenge of understanding the complex interactions between people and nature over the long term, and eLTER PLUS is developing tools for reaching this goal. In the end of the eLTER PLUS lifetime the eLTER RI will be operational and providing piloted services to an engaged and wide user community.

eLTER PLUS aims to catalyze scientific discovery and insights through developing the state-of-the-art research infrastructure, collaborative working culture, and transdisciplinary expertise. This enables the development and application of evidence-based solutions for the wellbeing of current and future generations. The pan-European, in situ research infrastructure will serve multiple scientific communities with high-level central facilities and distributed, well-instrumented eLTER Sites and socio-ecological eLTSER Platforms. Optimized overall operation will coordinate between the central and national components, and facilitate their integration under one coherent and sustainable RI. Continent-wide, novel data services and products will result from combining harmonized standard observations at the sites with information from a wide range of other sources. These services will be accessible to a broad diversity of stakeholders from local to continental scales. As a fundamental component of eLTER´s identity, we will synergistically collaborate with diverse ecosystem/environmental research infrastructures and networks across Europe and the world.