WaLTER is setting up LTER Netherlands, a unique new Dutch network for ‘Long-term Ecosystem Research’.
Why ‘LTER’ in WaLTER?
At the beginning of the WaLTER project the WaLTER-consortium agreed to set up an LTER-network for long term ecological research and to register the Netherlands as a member of the international research network ILTER and LTER-Europe. WaLTER adds a sound scientific foundation for sustainable use of the Wadden Sea. Within the project, the conditions required for the registration of the Dutch Wadden Sea as LTER-site are being met, including the development of a data portal, scientific toolkits, and conceptual models and guidelines for monitoring and research in support of sustainable use of the international Wadden Sea.
What is ILTER?
ILTER stands for International Long Term Ecological Research Network. It is a worldwide network of researchers who focus on long-term changes in ecosystems and the interpretation of such changes in relation to anthropogenic uses and the slow-working large-scale processes, such as climate change and sea level rise. Important aspects include improving the accessibility of multiannual datasets and a research approach aimed at sustainable use of the ecosystem, based on the interaction between ecology and socio-economics.
What is LTER-Europe?
ILTER is divided into regional networks per continent, including the European LTER-network LTER-Europe. 21 established and 5 upcoming national networks are working together to realise the named targets within the European context.
What is a national LTER-network?
A national LTER-network commits to realise the LTER goals at the national level. The organisation of the network is flexible and differs per country according to circumstances. A national network primarily consists of research institutes and their researchers, but the collaboration can be extensive with other parties that contribute to the goals such as land management organisations, users, and others. The members of the network carry the costs of their activities and collaborate based on an agreement of cooperation.
Why registration and founding of LTER Netherlands?
Registering with the ILTER-network offers new opportunities for European funding, for example from the Horizon 2020 Programme. With its extensive network of Natura 2000 areas, the existing Ecological Monitoring Network, and numerous scientific research programmes, the Netherlands can offer an important contribution to the international ILTER network.
How is the registration progressing?
In December 2014 the Netherlands was successfully listed with the LTER Commission and accepted as a new member of the international LTER network. The Dutch Wadden Sea is hence now registered as the first LTER site. As part of the growth strategy of LTER-NL, the possibility of registering the Western Sheldt and the Veluwe as LTER-stes is now being explored. The Dutch Minsitry of Economic Affairs supports the initiative.
Bruno Ens Sovon, Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology.