e-shape synergies! our contribution to eLTER

How does e-shape project contributes to eLTER? an article by Ulf Mallast

The integrated European Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure (eLTER RI) is now in the preparatory phase of formal implementation as a pan-European Research Infrastructure. The eLTER RI will comprise about 250 eLTER Sites and eLTSER Platforms from over 20 participating European countries. It will offer a wide range of European-level Central Services for different users, including access to sites and site data from multiple sources. eLTER RI will enable standard observations and analyses of the environment in a holistic manner, encompassing biological, geological, hydrological and socio-ecological perspectives. To secure the implementation of the eLTER RI, the European Commission has recently approved two major, complementary Horizon2020 projects: eLTER PLUS (Advanced Community) and eLTER PPP (Preparatory Phase). The projects will provide a major boost to scientific work at selected eLTER sites across Europe (eLTER PLUS) and thereby catalyze eLTER RI development (eLTER PPP). Both projects will start in February 2020 and will last five years.

Within e-shape seven showcases aim to address societal challenges, foster entrepreneurship and support sustainable development, in alignment to the three main priorities of GEO (SDGs, the Paris Agreement and the Sendaï Framework). 

One of them, the showcase myECOSYSTEM will serve focal user groups such as research, environmental assessment, reporting and management by offering seamless access to consistently scaled environmental information from various sources at benchmark sites across major European environmental and land use & management gradients. To this end, myECOSYSTEM consists of three highly complementary pilots, developed to maximize services to user groups both in their specific topical areas, but specifically through integrating and jointly using information from remote sensing (mySPACE; led by ECOPOTENTIAL), in-situ observation (mySITE; led by eLTER) and high-level indicators verification and testing with an exemplary focus on biodiversity (myVARIABLE, led by GEOBON). 

How does e-shape link to eLTER?

During a first stage, data from 12 eLTER sites and further sites in Europe will be the important basis for service development. In an extensive validation/testing procedure the same services will be tested for further eLTER sites during the second phase of the project to achieve European coverage. In general, these services will help to increase the informational value of eLTER Sites. In an European context, participating sites will also elevate their visibility and are likely to be included in future EU projects. The information from the service development work will be connected to eLTER projects (https://www.lter-europe.net/projects) making the process highly synergistic and beneficial also in developing the eLTER RI services. 

Besides the site advantages, developed services will likewise help to restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss (SDG 11, 14, 15). 

e-shape is looking for a fruitful collaboration with eLTER and other projects.

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