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

A five-year synthesis unleashes the ecological state and trends in largely late-successional, high-elevation ecosystems

1 March 2023

Christian Körner et al. have prepared a five-year synthesis of a multidisciplinary, highly standardized, long-term monitoring programme of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Austrian Hohe Tauern National Park and companion sites in northern Italy (Val Mazia/Matschertal, LTER site) and the central Swiss Alps (Alpine Research and Education Station Furka, ALPFOR, LTER site). The sites form a tri-national long term monitoring network in the Alpine and exemplify the wide geographical coverage and highly standardised protocols which are the cornerstones of LTER.

The publication presents the conceptual framework, the study design and first results. Replicated over five regions, different sites and a multitude of permanent plots, the abiotic (microclimate, physics and chemistry of soils and water bodies), biodiversity (plants, animals, microbes), and productivity data (alpine grassland, lakes, streams) provide a representative reference for future re-assessments. The wide spectrum of biological baseline data presented and their spatial and temporal variation also illustrate the degree of uncertainty associated with smaller-scale and short-term studies and the role of stochasticity in long-term biological monitoring.

Read the full text of the publication here.