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LTER Switzerland


The Swiss Long-term Ecological Network is a set of highly instrumented research platforms (LWF-sites). It is designed to collect, store, manage, analyse and interpret long-term data based on a set of key physical, chemical and biological variables, which drive and respond to environmental changes. Its mission is to improve our understanding of how natural and anthropogenic stresses affect forests and other ecosystems in the long term, and which risks for humans are involved.

The 19 forest sites (established in 1994) are part of the "International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests" (ICP-Forests). One subalpine site has been selected as the Swiss terrestrial ecosystem site for the ESFRI-initiative ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observing System). Using a network of selected study sites, we monitor the long-term response of forest ecosystem components and processes to the most relevant stress factors. Our particular emphasis is on atmospheric deposition, the biogeochemical cycle, the climate, the soil, the ground vegetation and the trees. The data are stored in a central database and are available through a variety of data access methods.

As of today, the network consists of forest sites only. However, it is planned to expand the network towards other ecosystems in the near future.