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21-23 MARCH 2017

Final OpenNESS Annual Meeting in Smolenice, Slovakia

Cairngorm National Park launched as the first UK LTSER Platform

The OpenNESS case study - Cairngorm National Park, Scotland - was launched as a UK Long-term Social-Ecological Research (LTSER) Platform on Thursday 14 November 2013. OpenNESS features as a ground breaking project which encompasses many of the ideals of an LTSER Platform. Jan Dick, the case study leader of the Cairngorm National Park, explained the aims and ambitions of the OpenNESS project in Aviemore to over 40 representatives of local academic and research organisations, volunteer groups, government agencies and NGOs.

LTER is an essential component of worldwide efforts to better understand ecosystems. This comprises their structure, functions, and response to environmental, societal and economic drivers as well as the development of management options.

For the first two decades of its existence LTER built on natural sciences. The ongoing re-design of LTER aims at expanding its scope to the human dimension. Strongly coupled and integrated socio-ecological systems are driven by economic, cultural and environmental forces likewise. Their investigation requires a new generation of socio-economic and ecological research (LTSER) with adequate infrastructure.

An LTSER platform consists of sites which are located in an area with defined boundaries. Besides this physical component LTSER-Platforms provide multiple services like the networking of client 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.

The vision is to set up a European network of LTSER Platforms which represents entire regions in the sense of cultural, land-use, historical, natural, administrational and economic units, comprising all relevant agents. See also: http://www.lter-europe.net/

Photo: Case study leader Jan Dick explains OpenNESS, © Jan Dick