Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA)

Working groups

Promoting Long-Term Ecological Research in Mountains (2011-2013)

LTER in mountains

Coordinator: Eva Spehn
Periods: 2011 - 2013
Status: closed

The vast majority of studies in the ecological literature last less than three years, and only 10% of studies capture unusual events. To detect changes in high mountain ecosystems, long-term research is imperative, as these areas are important bellwethers of global change. The goal of the alpine LTER sites is to capture slow processes or transient, episodic or infrequent events, reveal trends, multi-factor responses, or processes with major time lags. The network aims at expanding beyond an individual investigators' project in that the data collected by the network should become publicly available and also analysed and published in peer-reviewed journals. The key to the success of long-term research is considered to be information management. Long-term studies depend on databases that document project history, cross-site studies that require communication among the parties involved and the integration of their data.


  • 2011 - Col du Lautaret, France: In response to an invitation from the international working group on mountain LTER sites, a first meeting was held at the Col du Lautaret LTER site in France. The aim was to form a nucleus of core sites that would use common protocols to ensure comparability of data.
  • 2012 - Estes Park, Colorado, USA: During the LTER All Scientists Meeting, a mountain LTER session took place at the meeting of the working group "Resilience and Sustainability of Complex Mountain Landscapes". The mountain LTER network was presented in a talk by Laszlo Nagy.
  • 2013 - Aosta Valley, Italy: Following the conference Mountains under Watch 2013, a mountain LTER workshop was held. Thematic working groups discussed possibilities for common work and tried to identify the best procedures for testing common protocols to ensure comparability of results from different sites.