The workpackage 1 (WP1) aimed to:
- provide a detailed description of the instrumentation, methods, experimental design, and coverage of ecosystem types and geographic regions of the ExpeER sites;
- provide regularly updated information on the technical and operational capacities (e.g. new instrumentation, improved control systems) of the infrastructure and identify synergies (and potential gaps) in terms of instrumentation, methods, models, scientific questions in order to contribute to the de-velopment of the other workpackages;
- define a roadmap for the ExpeER infrastructure which reduces current gaps and puts in place synergies and propose a modus operandi for the roadmap detailing the manner (procedures, collaborations, etc.) in which the roadmap will be carried out (during and post project).
Based on questionnaires and site visits, WP1 conducted an early review of the exemplary set of infrastructures provided by the ExpeER partners. Overviews of these results are provided in radial diagrams (see example in figure), each axis representing different capacities or emphasis of individual sites.
The ExpeER ecosystem research sites cover seven climatic zones, including humid sub-tropical, oceanic, continental, semiarid, sub-tropical (dry), subarctic and highland, with annual rainfall and air temperature ranging from 500-2500mm and < 5 - > 15°C, respectively. 50% of the sites demonstrated relatively high levels of capacity with respect to meteorological observations and the monitoring of soil physical parameters, atmospheric analyses and autotrophic organisms. In addition, the majority of sites have the high levels of technical service necessary to facilitate good quality ecosystem research. However, site responses relating to experimental manipulations, biodiversity studies, hydrology and soil characterisation indicated scope for improvement in these areas at many sites. There was also an indication that there may be the need to increase the number of ecosystem studies at some sites. Increasing the ecosystem coverage would enhance the potential for comparative research between similar ecosystems located in different cli-matic zones. Compared to the ecosystem coverage of Europe, there is currently an over-representation of forest ecosystems among the ExpeER facilities, hence ad-ditional sites should be considered for the long term European ecosystem research facility. At a workshop in year two, site managers were able to share information, identify gaps and synergies, and begin to form alliances with common interest.
Figure: Example of a radial chart of research capacities at the Harz Tereno site, which is classified as a highly instrumented experimental site (HIES), hence high scores on meteorological measurements, hydrological characteristics and manipulation axis.
For the final roadmap, three user groups with the following goals have been defined:
- Research scientists: access to experi-mental facilities that can provide sufficient and advanced technology and data needed for model calibration and validation; sufficient coverage of ecosystem/climate zones.
- Site managers: sufficient use of facility and participation in research projects; ensure complementary facilities across Europe; consistent and comparable measurement schemes; technological development.
- Policy makers and governments: ensure ecosystem research contributes to economic development, innovation, social well-being, environmental sustainability and Europe's prosperity, make sure Europe's funds are well spent, efficient use of facilities, ensure complementarities and synergy effects.