International LTER network’s first Open Science Meeting

9-13 October 2016, Kruger National Park, South Africa

The first ILTER Open Science Meeting has taken place in the Kruger National Park in South Africa from Sunday, 9 October to Thursday, 13 October 2016. The conference has been hosted by the National Research Foundation, (NRF), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON).

More than 300 scientists from all over the world presented their work and participated to the discussions with oral presentations and posters, facing frontier themes for ecological research as nutrients and carbon cycles and their impacts, monitoring biodiversity and the effects of climate change across scales, the use of Earth systems observation and their link to environmental monitoring, as well as the use and validation of ecological models. Field trips to South African ecosystem research sites inside Kruger gave the opportunity of understanding the research conducted by the Park Authority. A session has been dedicated to the relations with other relevant global observation networks and infrastructures.

A small but active community of ECOPOTENTIAL researchers presented their work. Antonello Provenzale, coordinator of ECOPOTENTIAL, presented the project as well as the new GEO ECO initiative, which is also promoting and coordinating.

Long term monitoring activities conducted in the framework of ECOPOTENTIAL in Gran Paradiso, Kruger, Doñana and Sierra Nevada National Parks have been also presented. Indeed, more than 50% of the Protected Areas included in the project are Long-Term Ecological Research sites (13 sites out of 24); close collaboration among ECOPOTENTIAL, other H2020 projects (e.g., SWOS, ConnectinGEO and EU BON), ILTER and Infrastructures such as LTER Europe and LifeWatch are envisaged and encouraged, and ECOPOTENTIAL provides support to the ecosystem-related activities of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the data products, results and knowledge provided by the project will be made openly available through the portals of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and other dedicated project portals.