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Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 743;

Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research in Practice: Lessons from Inter- and Transdisciplinary Research in the Austrian Eisenwurzen

Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universitaet, 1070 Vienna, Austria
Department for Ecosystem Research and Environmental Information Management, Environment Agency Austria, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Vegetation Ecology and Landscape Ecology, Division of Conservation Biology, Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Vienna University, 1030 Vienna, Austria
Zentrum für Migrationsforschung, 3109 St. Pölten, Austria
WasserCluster Lunz–Biologische Station, Danube University Krems, 3293 Lunz am See, Austria
Department of Nature Conservation/Research, Gesäuse National Park, 8911 Admont, Austria
Agricultural Research and Education Center Raumberg-Gumpenstein, 8952 Irdning-Donnersbachtal, Austria
Department of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
Institute for Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, 1180 Vienna, Austria
Research Centre of Expertise RCE-Vienna, Institute for Ecological Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 22 March 2016 / Revised: 1 July 2016 / Accepted: 26 July 2016 / Published: 3 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) is an inter- and transdisciplinary research field addressing socio-ecological change over time at various spatial and temporal scales. In the Austrian Eisenwurzen region, an LTSER platform was founded in 2004. It has fostered and documented research projects aiming at advancing LTSER scientifically and at providing regional stakeholders with relevant information for sustainable regional development. Since its establishment, a broad range of research activities has been pursued in the region, integrating information from long-term ecological monitoring sites with approaches from social sciences and the humanities, and in cooperation with regional stakeholders. Based on the experiences gained in the Eisenwurzen LTSER platform, this article presents current activities in the heterogeneous field of LTSER, identifying specific (inter-)disciplinary contributions of three research strands of LTSER: long-term ecological research, socio-ecological basic research, and transdisciplinary research. Given the broad array of diverse contributions to LTSER, we argue that the platform has become a relevant “boundary organization,” linking research to its regional non-academic context, and ensuring interdisciplinary exchange among the variety of disciplines. We consider the diversity of LTSER approaches an important resource for future research. Major success criteria of LTSER face specific challenges: (1) existing loose, yet stable networks need to be maintained and extended; (2) continuous generation of and access to relevant data needs to be secured and more data need to be included; and (3) consecutive research projects that have allowed for capacity building in the past may be threatened in the future if national Austrian research funders cease to provide resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER); long-term ecological research (LTER); transdisciplinary cooperation; Eisenwurzen LTSER platform long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER); long-term ecological research (LTER); transdisciplinary cooperation; Eisenwurzen LTSER platform

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Gingrich, S.; Schmid, M.; Dirnböck, T.; Dullinger, I.; Garstenauer, R.; Gaube, V.; Haberl, H.; Kainz, M.; Kreiner, D.; Mayer, R.; Mirtl, M.; Sass, O.; Schauppenlehner, T.; Stocker-Kiss, A.; Wildenberg, M. Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research in Practice: Lessons from Inter- and Transdisciplinary Research in the Austrian Eisenwurzen. Sustainability 2016, 8, 743.

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