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See the details of the project Actions: objectives and results

In detail, the project will be implemented by mean of the following actions:

Action 1 - Data collection and management. The action will consist in the collection of available metadata and data with respect to environmental quality parameters for selected indicators and the methodologies applied in the relevant European Networks (LTER-Europe, EIONET, EU Forest Focus & ICPs of UNECE/CLRTAP/WGE, Natura2000, etc.) as well as environmental and societal pressures influencing ecosystem quality. The action aims to support the network of long-term ecosystem monitoring sites with the necessary metadata and data data infrastructure and will serve as a technical and procedural test case for Shared Environmental Information Systems (SEIS).

Action 2 - Parameter and method elaboration. This action consists in the elaboration of a core set of ecological parameters to be sampled considering the data collated. It aims at producing two manuals: 1) de-novo, as concerns new parameters and 2) a revised version of pre-existing manuals, including improved harmonization and adaptation to the new scales of investigation, as concerns the other parameters. This action is essential for one of the main objectives of the project: the elaboration and harmonization of assessment methodologies for the selected environmental quality parameters at EU level.

Action 3 - Cause-effect analysis and scientific evaluation. This action focuses on the analysis of historical and newly gained ecological monitoring data coming from a series of LTER sites. It aims at evaluating status, trends and cause-effect relationships at different spatial and temporal scales. The evaluation is taking regional variability and differences between freshwater, marine and terrestrial habitats into account. The existing LTER network will provide a series of pilot sites of historical as well as new monitoring data (in situ biodiversity and environmental observation, trend data, interaction of driving factors). State, trends and cause-effect relationships will be communicated to the political arena, the relevant managers, the general public, and the scientific community.

Action 4 - Network Design. The main output will be a new optimized network that will be based on selected sites representative at European level, reflecting environmental and economic stratification of Europe and key ecosystem types, connecting it to other site-based environmental networks (as CLRTAP ICPs, in-situ component of GMES, etc.), taking also into account a cost-effective network design.

Action 5 - Testing in the field. This is the experimental phase of the project, based on the sampling in the field of new and pre-existing parameters and indicators at different level/scales of investigation. The implementation of a multi-level and multi-functional monitoring approach, allowing for the up- and down-scaling of results, is one of the keystones of the project. The action has a view to contribute to a better assessment of European environmental quality, contributing to data collection for GMES (e.g. providing ground-truth data for remote sensing of ecosystem structure, productivity and status). Data will be collected having in the background the Shared Environmental Information System for Europe, in order to contribute to data sharing and publicity.

Action 6 - Strategic actions and dissemination. Ad hoc international meetings will be arranged, aiming at coordinating the comparable actions and ensuring the best information. Reporting of results will be done regarding the needs of different groups (policy makers, broad public, scientific community, national experts and environmental managers). The test phase and final proposal of methods and monitoring design for reporting status and changes in ecosystem quality in Europe will be evaluated and disseminated contributing to the SEIS process and GMES initiative.

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