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ALTER-Net: A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network

Europe’s ecosystem research network


Developing new ALTER-Net initiatives

Side event for ALTER-Net members to discuss new initiatives for the network

Organizers: Andrew Sier (CEH)
When: Wednesday 17 April 2013, afternoon
Duration: 0.5 day

ALTER-Net is a large grouping of institutes, representatives of which meet a few times a year in the Network Council, to decide on the general direction and activities of the network. We would like to complement this top-down approach by encouraging more bottom-up ideas for network activities. Therefore, this side event is an opportunity for ALTER-Net members to discuss their ideas for activities (scientific, communication, etc.) that the network could undertake.

The Network Council wishes to support – as far as it can – good ideas. Although ALTER-Net funding for any new initiatives cannot be guaranteed, the Council may invite proponents of promising ideas to submit their proposals, with a view to providing seed funding in some cases.

Therefore, in this session, we invite staff and PhD students of ALTER-Net member institutes to briefly present any ideas for small projects or initiatives which fit with ALTER-Net’s overall remit of supporting biodiversity and ecosystem research. If you wish to take this opportunity, please contact Andy Sier by 7 April at the latest.

One activity which the Network Council already wishes to support is inspired by the successful ‘Back to the Future’ project, which was funded by the International Polar Year (see the special issue of Ambio: The project involved scientists who had studied field sites many years ago teaming up with younger scientists to revisit the sites, and collect new data, take new photographs and compare old and new information to infer about change. The teams involved in the Back to the Future (BTF) project talk about its legacy: “Furthermore, knowledge has been transferred from older researchers, who established sites many decades ago, to young researchers … BTF … has built capacity for future research in a rapidly changing environment.”. I feel this is a concept that ALTER-Net could build upon. The Network Council have ear-marked a small budget (€14K) to help establish a similar kind of initiative which teams up senior and junior researchers. However, the exact nature of that project has yet to be determined. I hope we can spend some time in this side event discussing the idea further. There are potential links with LTER-Europe and activities such as digitisation of old maps (perhaps to quantify past ecosystem services), ‘rescuing’ old datasets and inter-generational knowledge exchange can all be considered. Again, if you have an ideas on this theme, please contact Andy Sier by 7 April at the latest.

Provisional programme

This programme is subject to change. Times are approximate.

14:00-14:20 Andrew Sier Welcome and introduction

Presentation of project ideas - 'Back to the future' type projects

14:20-14:40 Andrew Sier Introduction to the 'Back to the future' concept
14:40-15:00 Michael Mirtl Examples of the historical ecology approach
15:00-15:20 Weronika Maslanko Changes in hydrogenic landscapes and wetland ecosystems in different European biogeographic zones:
land use structure; biodiversity; ecosystem services
15:20-15:30 Jutta Stadler / Geert de Blust Report from Multi-Site Experiments side event - main outcomes
15:30-16:00 Discussion of ideas
16:00-16:30 Coffee/Tea break
16:30-17:30 Continue discussion of ideas. we may split into smaller groups.

A related side event is on ALTER-Net Multi Site Experiments.