Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research


eLTER responds to the challenge of understanding the complex interactions between people and nature over the long term. Environmental sustainability can only be achieved on the basis of the robust knowledge and empirical evidence needed to identify and mitigate human impacts on ecosystems. eLTER catalyzes scientific discovery and insights through its 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 mission of eLTER is to facilitate high impact research and catalyse new insights about the compounded impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, pollution, and unsustainable resource use on a range of European ecosystems and socio-ecological systems, representing the “critical zone” in which we live. With our distributed physical infrastructure and scientific expertise, we aspire to provide Europe and the world with the scientific capacity to improve our understanding of terrestrial, freshwater, and transitional water ecosystems. Combined with our socio-ecological approach to studying integrated human-nature systems and our commitment to integrating stakeholder knowledge, we provide a solid foundation to inform evidence-based policy making and management solutions for addressing current and emerging environmental challenges.

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 (henceforth called eLTER facilities). 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.