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Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe

Taking Europe's pulse - Research for our continent's future

Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) is an essential component of world-wide efforts to better understand ecosystems and the environment we depend on. Through research and long-term observation of representative sites around the globe, LTER enhances our understanding of the structure and functions of ecosystems, which provide essential services to people. LTER contributes to the knowledge base informing policy and to the development of management options in response to the Grand Challenges under Global Change.

LTER capitalizes on research infrastructures such as the in-situ network of sites and information technology. Thousands of research projects have been carried out taking advantage of this infrastructure. The increasing complexity of ecosystem research led to the networking and global organization of LTER.

LTER in Europe comprises three components, well embedded in the European Research Area:



LTER-Europe: The European Long-term Ecosystem Research Network. The international LTER network (ILTER) consists of formal national networks and regional groups, including the 25-member LTER-Europe. The governance structures of LTER-Europe secure permanent representation of LTER at the European scale and enable strategic activities.


LTER-Europe logo


Research & Development


eLTER H2020 project: The Horizon 2020 flagship cooperation project of the European LTER and critical zone research, developing network level Research Infrastructure services alongside exemplary research questions and analyses of data from 162 sites across Europe.



eLTER H2020 project logo




 eLTER ESFRI: The initiative to progress towards a formal eLTER ESFRI Research Infrastructure for multiple use by user groups such as the LTER and Critical Zone research community. This recently resulted in the acknowledgement as “emerging ESFRI RI” on the ESFRI Roadmap 2016 and is being progressed by the Advance_eLTER project



eLTER ESFRI initiative logo