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

LTER Facilites

Explains the in-situ components of LTER such as LTER Sites and LTSER Platforms 

LTER Facility

An umbrella term for any location where LTER might take place (in-situ facilities: site, platform) and whatever might facilitate LTER-activities (e.g. logistics, laboratories, on-site supporting institutions). 


(“traditional” LTER-Site; Long Term Ecosystem Research Site): 

LTER-facility of limited size (up to 10 km²) and comprising mainly one habitat type and form of land use. Activities concentrate on small scale ecosystem processes and structures (biogeochemistry, selected taxonomic groups, primary production, disturbances etc.).


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LTSER Platform

(Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Platform): 

Modular LTER-facility consisting of sites which are located in an area with defined boundaries. Besides this physical component, LTSER-Platforms provide multiple services like the networking of actor groups (e.g. research, local stakeholders), data management, communication and representation (management component). The elements of LTSER Platforms represent the main habitats, land use forms and practices relevant for the broader region (up to 10000 km²) and cover all scales and levels relevant for LTSER (from local to landscape). LTSER Platforms should represent economic and social units or coincide/overlap with such units where adequate information on land use history, economy and demography is available to allow for socio-ecological research.


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Given the more specific national or regional specifications and formalisation, the categories of LTER facilities have been further developed and specified in more detail e.g. in South Africa (SAEON), Australia (TERN) and China (CERN). In Europe this formalisation is an ongoing activity in the eLTER 

ESFRI process

In general LTER facilities are provided and operated by national networks, which are members of LTER-Europe.

Access to Sites and Platforms