In a small session, where not only European sites where present but also people from Asia and South America, we discussed about a) standard protocols, b) open data and data repositories, c) availability and quality of social data, and d) missing ecological data. We worked out the particularities of sites present during the session and concluded on the high individuality of each site as most of them were created in a bottom-up process. As an example may be mentioned the importance of rural settlements within the Cairngroms National Park LTER, the diversity of sites and research objects in the Tyrolian and French Alps LTSER or the concentration on foodwebs done in the artic sites.
- Standard protocols
The assembly agreed that standard protocols would be a huge advantage which would allow more comparisons between sites/plate forms with less statistical pitfalls. However, monitoring efforts which were very important in the last years at many sites should be continued and if possible backed up with measurement done in a standard way.
- Open data and data repositories
Any sampling effort is vain, if the data is not stored correctly and made available to wider a scientific community and the public. Therefore data repositories should be either available at the LTSER plate form level, at a national LTER level or data repositories such as GBIF such be used. Open data is a next step towards facilitating the possible elaboration of common patterns over a larger spatial (and perhaps temporal) scale; inter-mountain rage comparison may also be favoured if the data is more easily accessible and better inventoried.
- Availability and quality of social data
Data linked to most important economic and social indicators (number of inhabitants, fluxes/movement of people, income, housing standards, etc.) is continuously sampled by most national authorities at different spatial scale. Therefore only low to no sampling effort has to be dedicated to such data. On the other hand, qualitative data on for example reasons for changes and possible adaptation of land-use done by farmers is necessary data which can only be assessed by interview or questionnaires.
- Missing ecological data
A lot of biodiversity data is already available; however, biodiversity assessments including a nearly exhaustive inventory of taxa present are only rarely done and more or less never repeated in time. Such approaches should be favoured to allow a more precise follow up of changes induced due to climate or land-use change.
We concluded the session by an outlook towards the project eLTER H2020 (http://www.lter-europe.net/projects/eLTER) which plans to perform an audit of the sites currently listed within the DEIMS database (http://data.lter-europe.net/deims/) which will probably included a questionnaire about the protocols used.