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What does LTER stand for?

LTSER, long-term socio-economic and ecological research, tries to answer how human livelihoods can be secured sustainable while at the same time facing global change (e.g. climate change, land use change, etc.). Through long-term ecological research it can be identified how ecosystems respond to these changes in the long term. Ecosystems provide many so-called ecosystem services, of which humans vitally depend on. Examples of such services are the provision of fresh water, oxygen, protection against natural hazards, natural pollination, landscape aesthetics and many more. The provision of those essential services is greatly affected by global changes. Only if ecosystem processes are better understood, a sustainable maintenance of ecosystem services can be guaranteed.

Having this in mind the LTER (long term ecological research) idea was born back in the 70s. But, since ecosystems often strongly interact with human activities, the concept has been extended in turn of the millennium by the human factor and LTER became LTSER. Especially the Tyrolean Alps show up a long using history and much of the land cover is used more or less by humans. The LTSER concept combines social, economic and historical usage aspects with the classical long-term ecological research. Entire landscapes with their diverse interactions between society and the natural environment are the object of study. In order to achieve the best possible results LTSER’s aim is that scientists from different disciplines as well as scientists and other stakeholders work closely together in order to jointly develop issues of regional relevance whereas results are applied regionally. Hence, LTSER contributes significantly to an integrated sustainability research.