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Finnish Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research network FinLTSER

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Basic project information


FinLTSER (Finnish Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research network) brings together the Finnish research sites and scientists that have conducted world-class research on long-term socio-ecological processes and problems into a coordinated Finnish research infrastructure, where the expertise and resources of both universities and main governmental research institutes are combined. These ecosystem research sites/platforms support, enhance and promote the inter-disciplinary investigation of long-term biodiversity and ecosystem processes at varying spatial and temporal scales. The long-term perspective helps to determine the impacts of drivers and pressures of environmental change and to investigate ecosystem processes and their response to environmental pressures. Finland is also intentionally stressing socioecological and socioeconomic research components in the national and international LT(S)ER networks. 

The FinLTSER network was established in 2006 and consists presently of nine highly instrumented sites/research platforms, representing the main ecosystems (marine, terrestrial, lake, sub-arctic, urban) in Finland. The core infrastructure of the FinLTSER infrastructure is formed of:  

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) acts as coordination body of FinLTSER. 

National and internation research infrastructure

FinLTSER is a part of international LTER-networks i.e. being a formal member both in the LTER-Europe ( and International LTER (ILTER, -networks. FinLTSER network also forms national observatories component in the international ESFRI-initiative LIFEWATCH (E-Science European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research) research infrastructure.

FinLTSER and LIFEWATCH were formally accepted as key national-level Research Infrastructure (RI) and included into national RI-roadmap in December 2008.

Research themes  

Research and monitoring themes within national and international LTER networks cover a wide spectrum of ecosystem studies:  

  • Research and monitoring related to the LTER-Europe and ILTER core areas (global water circulation, biogeochemical processes, changes in biodiversity)   
  • Other ecosystem processes and disturbances   
  • Ecosystem services (e.g. photosynthesis, regulation of climate, soil health and soil fertility, insect pest control, forest and agricultural production, carbon assimilation, water resources, regeneration of habitats, recreation)  
  • Societal and other socio-economic pressures on the functioning of the ecosystems (e.g. political decisions, land use)   
  • Effects on the local communities of nature conservation and resource exploitation  
  • Local environmental conflicts  

Aims of FinLTSER 

  • To provide a national infrastructure for long-term site-based ecosystem and biodiversity research in Finland, including climate change impacts   
  • To provide the Finnish contribution to the recently established European LTER-network (LTER-Europe). FinLTSER is part also of the global LTER-network (ILTER)   
  • To provide the Finnish contribution to observatories component (terrestrial and marine observatories) of the LIFEWATCH project under construction. The European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) published on 19 October 2006 its selection of the most promising next generation large-scale Research Infrastructures (RI). In the area of biodiversity and ecosystem research the LIFEWATCH plan was selected. The preparatory phase of the project was started in 2008, and will be ended in 2011. LIFE WATCH is accepted for the Finnish RI Roadmap as a new international RI
  • To collaborate with the international ESFRI-initiative ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observing system)  
  • To become an attractive alternative for cooperation and visits by talented researchers from abroad   
  • To facilitate stakeholder learning and education in all levels in the area of conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services  


A high level coordination group for Finnish environmental research, appointed 25.1.2006 by the Ministry of the Environment, endorsed the network in their meeting in 12.12.2006.  The initial composition of the network (9 sites/research platforms) was also confirmed.  The decision was based on an international evaluation of the proposed sites.  According to the decision of the Coordination Group, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) acts presently as the coordination body of the network.  

FinLTSER was formally accepted as a member network in ILTER and LTER-Europe at the ILTER meeting in Beijing 20-23 August 2007. 

FinLTSER and LIFE WATCH were formally accepted as key national researchInfrastructures (RI) and included into national RI-roadmap in December 2008.

Key publications  

Publications highlighting the cutting-edge of research carried out in the FinLTSER framework are listed below: 

Fu, B., Forsius, M. and Liu, J. 2013. Ecosystem services: climate change and policy impacts. Editorial overview. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 5: 1-3. doi:

Fu, B., Wang, S., Su, C. and Forsius, M. 2013. Linking ecosystem processes and ecosystem services. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 5: 4-10. doi:

Forsius, M. Anttila, S., Arvola, L. Bergström, I., Hakola, H., Heikkinen, H.I., Helenius, J., Hyvärinen, M., Jylhä, K., Karjalainen, J., Keskinen, T., Laine, K., Nikinmaa, E., Peltonen-Sainio, P., Rankinen, K., Reinikainen, M., Setälä, H., Vuorenmaa, J. 2013. Impacts and adaptation options of climate change on ecosystem services in Finland: a model based study. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 5:26-40. doi:

Holmberg, M., Vuorenmaa, J., Posch, M., Forsius, M., Lundin, L., Kleemola, S., Augustaitis, A., Beudert, B., de Wit, H.A., Dirnböck, T., Evans, C.D., Frey. J., Grandin, U., Indriksone. I., Krám, P., Pompei, E., Schulte-Bisping, H., Srybnyn, A. and Vána, M. 2013. Relationship between critical load exceedances and empirical impact indicators at Integrated Monitoring sites across Europe. Ecological Indicators: 24:256–265.

Vihervaara, P., D’Amato, D., Forsius, M., Angelstam, P., Baessler, C., Balvanera,P., Boldgiv, B., Bourgeron, P., Dick, J., Kanka, R., Klotz, S., Maass, M., Melecis, V., Petřik, P, Shibata, H., Tang, J., Thompson, J., and Zacharias, S. 2013. Using long-term ecosystem service and biodiversity data to study the impacts and adaptation options in response to climate change: insights from the global ILTER sites network. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 5: 53-66. doi:

Aherne, J., Posch, M., Forsius, M., Lehtonen, A. and Härkönen, K. 2012. Impacts of forest biomass removal on soil nutrient status under climate change: a catchment-based modelling study for Finland. Biogeochemistry 107: 471-488.

Forsius, M., Saloranta, T., Arvola, L., Salo, S., Verta, M., Ala-Opas, P., Rask, M., Vuorenmaa, J. 2010. Physical and chemical consequences of artificially deepened thermocline in a small humic lake - a paired whole-lake climate change experiment. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 14: 2629-2642.

Nickus, U., Bishop, K., Erlandsson, M., Evans, C. D., Forsius, M., Laudon, H., Livingstone, D. M., Monteith, D., Thies, H. 2010. Direct Impacts of Climate Change on Freshwater Ecosystems. In: Kernan, M., Battarbee, R. W., Moss, B. (eds.). Climate Change Impacts on Freshwater Ecosystems. Hoboken, NJ, Wiley-Blackwell. P. 38-64.

Nyberg, K., Vuorenmaa, J., Tammi, J., Nummi, P., Väänänen, V.-M., Mannio, J., Rask, M. 2010. Re-establishment of perch in three lakes recovering from acidification: rapid growth associated with abundant food resources. Boreal Environment Research15 (5): 480-490.

Rask, M., Verta, M., Korhonen, M., Salo, S., Forsius, M., Arvola, L., Jones, R. I., Kiljunen, M. 2010. Does lake thermocline depth affect methyl mercury concentrations in fish? Biogeochemistry 101 (1-3): 311-322.

Blenckner, T., Adrian, R., Livingstone, D.M., Jessings, E., Weyhenmeyer, G.A., Geaorge, G., Jankowski, T., Järvinen, M., Aonghusa, C., Nõges, T., Straile, D. and Teubner, K. 2007. Large scale climatic signatures in lakes across Europe: a meta-analysis. Global Change Biology 13:1314-1326.

Monteith, D.T, Stoddard, J.L., Evans, C.D., de Wit, H.A., Forsius, M., Høgasen, T., Wilander, Skjelkvaale, B-L., Jeffries, D.S., Vuorenmaa, J., Keller, B, Kopacek, J. and Vesely, J. 2007. Dissolved organic carbon trends resulting from changes in atmospheric deposition chemistry. Nature 450: 537-540.

Jonzén, N., Lindén, A., Ergon, T., Knudsen, E., Vik, J. O., Rubolini, D., Piacentini, D., Brinch, C., Spina, F., Karlsson, L., Stervander, M., Andersson, A., Waldenström, J., Lehikoinen, A., Edvardsen, E., Solvang, R. and Stenseth, N. C. 2006. Rapid advance of spring arrival dates in long-distance migratory birds.  Science 312: 1959–1961.

Kankaala, P., Taipale, S., Grey, J., Sonninen, E., Arvola, L. and Jones, R. 2006. Experimental δ13C evidence for a contribution of methane to pelagic food webs in lakes. Limnol. Oceanogr. 51: 2821-2827.

Tunved, P., H.-C. Hansson,  V.-M. Kerminen, J. Ström, M. Dal Maso, H. Lihavainen, Y. Viisanen, P.P. Aalto, M. Komppula  and M. Kulmala 2006. High  natural aerosol loading over boreal forests. Science 312: 261-263.

Hooper, D.U., Chapin, III F.S., Ewel, J.J., Hector, A., Inchausti, P., Lavorel, S., Lawton, J.H., Lodge, D.M., Loreau, M., Naeem, S., Schmid B., Setälä H., Symstad, A.J., Vandermeer, J., Wardle, D.A. 2005. Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current knowledge and needs for future research.  Ecological Monographs 75: 3-35.

Karpetchko A., E. Kyro, B. M. Knudsen 2005. Arctic and Antarctic polar vortices 1957-2002 as seen from the ERA-40 reanalyses, J. Geophys. Res., 110, D21109, doi:10.1029/ 2005JD006113.

Yli-Pelkonen, V. and Niemelä, J. 2005. Linking ecological and social systems in cities: urban planning in Finland as a case. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14: 1947-1967.

Wardle, D., Bardgett, R., Klironmomos, J., van Putten, W, Setälä, H. and Wall, D. 2004.  Linkages between aboveground and belowground biota: community- and ecosystem-level implications. Science 304: 1629-1633.

Hannonen, M. and Sundström, L. 2003. Worker nepotism among polygynous ants. Nature 421: 910.

Ebert, D., Haag, C., Kirkpatrick, M., Riek, M.,Hottinger, J.W, Pajunen, V.I. 2002. A selective advantage to immigrant genes in a Daphnia metapopulation.  Science.  295: 485-488.

Key national contacts

Finnish Environment Institute

Martin Forsius, main coordinator (martin.forsius(at)
Eeva Furman (eeva.furman(at)
Jussi Vuorenmaa (jussi.vuorenmaa(at)

FinLTSER sites and platforms

Western Gulf of Finland LTER-site WelFin

Coordinator: Marko Reinikainen (marko.j.reinikainen (at)
University of Helsinki, Tvärminne Zoological Station

Helsinki Metropolitan Area, HMA-LTSER

Coordinator: Jussi Kulonpalo (jussi.kulonpalo (at)
University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research

Lepsämänjoki agricultural watershed area LTSER

Coordinator: Juha Helenius (juha.helenius (at)
University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences

Lammi LTER, Southern Boreal Aquatic and Terrestrial Long Term Ecological Research Area

Coordinator: Lauri Arvola (lauri.arvola (at)
University of Helsinki, Lammi Biological station

Päijänne LTER site

Coordinator: Juha Karjalainen (juhakar(at)
University of Jyväskylä, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Northern Häme LTER

Coordinator: Jaana Bäck (jaana.back(at)
University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences

Bothnian Bay LTSER-platform

Coordinator: Jouni Aspi (jouni.aspi(at)
University of Oulu, Department of Biology, Bothnian Bay Research Station

Pallas-Sodankylä LTER observatory

Coordinator: Jussi Paatero (jussi.paatero(at)
Finnish Meteorological Institute

Northern LTSER-platform

Coordinator: Kari Laine (kari.laine(at)
University of Oulu, Thule Institute
Published 2013-05-06 at 13:56, updated 2014-03-28 at 15:09