The LTSER platform ‘Tyrolean Alps’ was formally installed only in 2010. However, ecological – and to a certain degree socio-ecological research - has been carried out in the Tyrolean Alps over many decades. Databases exist on climate, glacier balances, permafrost, hydrology, biodiversity, greenhouse gas fluxes, historical land-use changes, tourism, demography, agro-economy and a wealth of comprehensive but singular studies in the region. In this area, dominated by high mountains and their sensitive ecosystems, nine LTER sites (some of which comprised several habitat types) are embedded, including two lakes, grasslands at different altitudes, a treeline site, a glacier foreland, and several glaciers.
The Tyrolean Alps LTSER platform is a part of the European long-term research network LTER-Europe. In the framework of LTER-Europe, a network is being established of 50 LTSER platforms carrying out exemplary research into the natural and inhabited areas (socio-ecological regions) of Europe. Conclusions relating to these best-researched European regions can be applied to other regions within the same socio-ecological zone. These conclusions can be viewed as recommendations for regional policy and decision making on future strategy.
Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure
Research topics include responses of organisms and of biogeochemical processes to extreme life conditions and to global changes in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. For two valleys/ valley sections socio-economic changes have been documented and past, current and possible future landscape changes have been assessed, evaluating also effects on ecosystem services. The recent research history at the Tyrolean Alps LTSER Platform has shown that a monitoring of the biogeochemistry of target ecosystems combined with an experimental unravelling of global change effects on processes, and the consideration of socioeconomic developments are a fruitful way forward increasing the value of LTSER sites also for international projects and networks.