Environmental research is challenged by the question, how life supporting systems (ecosystems, the critical zone) and their services will develop in the next decades. However, addressing changes in ecosystem structure and function requires an integrated approach from the subsurface to the vegetation and atmosphere, across scales and ecosystems, and it entails combining observation, ecosystem theories and modelling. Such integrated approach depends on how environmental research and observation are shaped, comprising seamless collaborations amongst involved disciplines, the interactions of actual research with other stakeholders, research infrastructure design and operation and – as a key factor – the structures and rulesets of related funding mechanisms.
To practically implement this integration, a common conceptual framework is urgently needed. Such framework should be relevant for catalyzing integration efforts and implementing complementary modules of research infrastructures serving various user groups and disciplines towards a fundamental understanding and improved predictions of how s ecosystems and their services will evolve and adapt under global change, with climate change, land use and societal change as key drivers.
Triggered by the challenge to streamline the ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological research infrastructure at the Pan-European level in close collaboration with other ongoing European environmental RIs like ICOS and LifeWatch, the eLTER Research Infrastructure (RI) therefore strives for a Whole system Approach for In-situ & Long-term environmental System research on Life supporting Systems (WAILS), combining human-environment interactions at a given scale, and cross-scale interactions and feed-back loops across scales. The session will include presentations highlighting the theoretical basis and practical implementation.

Convener: Jaana Bäck | Co-conveners: Thomas Dirnböck, Ulf MallastECSECS
vPICO presentations
| Wed, 28 Apr, 13:30–14:15 (CEST)

vPICO presentations: Wed, 28 Apr

Chairpersons: Jaana Bäck, Ulf Mallast, Thomas Dirnböck
Introduction to WAILS and Research Infrastructures
Michael Mirtl, Ingolf Kuhn, Don Montheith, Jaana Bäck, Daniel Orenstein, Antonello Provenzale, Steffen Zacharias, Peter Haase, and Mosche Shachak

Driven by the increasing awareness that innovative approaches to solving the problems at hand in our complex human-environment interactions require closer collaboration among scientific disciplines and communities, inter- and transdisciplinary integration is continuously gaining importance in R&D agendas and Research Infrastructure (RI) development strategies. In addition, the complexity and costs of RIs have substantively increased in many realms triggered by technological developments and the need to organize beyond national and continental boundaries. This suggests cross-disciplinary collaborations, sharing and multiple usage of infrastructures. Alignments of infrastructure developments needed for this purpose require a conceptual framework for disciplinary integration suited for identifying common approaches and resulting infrastructure design and service components. We will report on recent advancements in building a common theoretical base between major communities that is – inter alia - underlying the ongoing implementation of the Integrated European Ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure (eLTER RI). An overview of considered theories  on within- and cross-scale interactions and feedback loops will be given and the pathway to the “Whole System Approach for in-situ research on Life Supporting Systems in the Anthropocene” (WAILS) will be presented. We will also expand on the potential of such unifying approach in theory-guided integration and division of tasks amongst related environmental RIs. Expected practical implications are answers to questions like where concretely existing and planned European environmental RIs are challenged to interact in response to common overarching questions, and what practical fora and mechanisms (across RIs) would be needed to bridge the gap between research teams driven (bottom-up) efforts and the centralistic RI design and operations.

How to cite: Mirtl, M., Kuhn, I., Montheith, D., Bäck, J., Orenstein, D., Provenzale, A., Zacharias, S., Haase, P., and Shachak, M.: Whole System Approach for in-situ research on Life Supporting Systems in the Anthropocene (WAILS), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16425,, 2021.

Synergies between Research Infrastruture and their representativness
Martyn Futter, Syed Ashraful Alam, Roland Baatz, Jaana Bäck, Eugenio Diaz-Pines, Jan Dick, Martin Forsius, Veronika Gaube, Matthew Jones, Nikolaos Nikolaidis, Christian Poppe, Katri Rankinen, Ed Rowe, Marcus Schaub, Ute Skiba, Harry Vereecken, and Thomas Dirnböck

Environmental thresholds. tipping points and subsequent regime shifts associated with the water/climate/greenhouse gas nexus pose a genuine threat to sustainability. Both the ongoing forest dieback in Central Europe caused by the extreme droughts of the last years and the effect of global warming on ecosystem functioning have the potential to cause ecological surprise (sensu Lindenmayer et al. 2010) where ecosystems are pushed into new, unexpected and usually undesirable states.

Formulating appropriate scientific and societal responses to such regime shifts requires breadth, depth, intensity and duration of environmental, ecological and socio-ecological monitoring. Broad geographic coverage to encompass relevant biophysical and societal gradients, consideration of all appropriate parameters, adequate measurement frequency and long-term, standardized observations are all needed to provide reliable early warnings of severe environmental change, test ecosystem models, avoid double counting in carbon accounting and to reduce the likelihood of undesirable ecological outcomes. This is especially true of events driven by simultaneous changes in climate, the water cycle and human activities.

Well-supported, site-based research infrastructures (RIs; e.g., eLTER and ICOS) are essential tools with the necessary breadth, depth, intensity and duration for early detection and attribution of environmental change. Individually, the eLTER and ICOS RIs generate a wealth of data supporting the ecosystem and carbon research communities. Achieving synergies between the two RIs can add value to both communities and potentially offer meaningful insight into the European water-climate-greenhouse gas nexus.

The unique insights into processes and mechanisms of ecosystem dynamics and functioning obtained from high intensity monitoring conducted by the ICOS RI greatly increase the likelihood of detecting signals of environmental change. These signals must be placed into the context of their long-term trajectory and potential societal and environmental drivers. The spatially extensive, long-term, multi-disciplinary monitoring conducted at LTER sites and LTSER platforms under the umbrella of the eLTER programme can provide this context.

Here, we outline one potential roadmap for achieving synergies between the ICOS and eLTER RIs focussing on the value of co-location for improved understanding of the water/climate/greenhouse gas nexus. Based on data and experiences from intensively studied research sites, we highlight some of the possibilities for reducing the likelihood of ecological surprise that could result from such synergies.

Lindenmayer, D.B., Likens, G.E., Krebs, C.J. and Hobbs, R.J., 2010. Improved probability of detection of ecological “surprises”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(51), pp.21957-21962.

How to cite: Futter, M., Ashraful Alam, S., Baatz, R., Bäck, J., Diaz-Pines, E., Dick, J., Forsius, M., Gaube, V., Jones, M., Nikolaidis, N., Poppe, C., Rankinen, K., Rowe, E., Schaub, M., Skiba, U., Vereecken, H., and Dirnböck, T.: Amplifying Signals and avoiding surprises: Potential synergies between ICOS and eLTER at the Water-Climate-Greenhouse Gas nexus, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9567,, 2021.

Jens C Nejstgaard, Stella A Berger, Katharina Makower, Robert Ptacnik, Herwig Stibor, and Iordanis Magiopoulos

To understand underlying mechanisms of aquatic ecosystem functioning in relating to the global Grand Challenges (climate change, biodiversity loss, eutrophication, emerging pollutants, etc.), it is necessary to consider processes in adjacent systems, such as atmosphere and adjacent aquatic and terrestrial systems. For freshwater and coastal systems, the aquatic-terrestrial coupling on the watershed level is specifically important. We argue that for a better understanding of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems a combination of long-term data from connected environments, coupled with experimental ecosystem-scale experiments, have a greater potential for successful model testing and development of predictive concepts, than using only long-term data (without experiments) from separate systems. This talk will present the EU-funded RI-project AQUACOSM-plus (, 2020-2024) that offers access to >60 research facilities across the EU and is linked to world-wide cooperation through the MESOCOSM.EU portal, a virtual network of >100 research facilities. These networks comprise mesocosm facilities in all aquatic systems, including rivers, ponds, lakes, estuaries and marine systems – offering unique opportunities to conduct ecosystem-scale experimental studies of relevance to aquatic-terrestrial coupling. These facilities allow for process studies to test models based on trend or response observations from long-term-data, in order to better understand underlying mechanisms of ecosystem responses to the present global Grand Challenges. The AQUACOSM-plus mesocosm facilities, are also open for conducting ecosystem solution-based experiments to enable effective management in aquatic ecosystems. The AQUACOSM network will open calls to fund access to >13.000 days for a wide range of external users. We will also present examples of developing RI-RI collaborations and development of technological solutions and instrumentation to enhance the mobility of mesocosms and increase opportunities for relevant scenario-testing by the scientific community at large.

How to cite: Nejstgaard, J. C., Berger, S. A., Makower, K., Ptacnik, R., Stibor, H., and Magiopoulos, I.: AQUACOSM-plus: an International Network for Aquatic Mesocosm Facilities Supporting Experimental Ecosystem Studies and cross-disciplinary RI- RI collaborations, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15726,, 2021.

Christoph Wohner, Thomas Ohnemus, Steffen Zacharias, Hannes Mollenhauer, Erle Ellis, Hermann Klug, Hideaki Shibata, and Michael Mirtl

The challenges posed by climate and land use change are increasingly complex, with rising and accelerating impacts on the global environmental system. Novel environmental and ecosystem research needs to properly interpret system changes and derive management recommendations across scales. This largely depends on advances in the establishment of an internationally harmonised, long-term operating and representative infrastructure for environmental observation. One example for such an infrastructure for environmental observation is the International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network. ILTER is a global network of networks consisting of research sites in a wide array of ecosystems that focuses on long-term, site-based research, and builds on a “bottom-up” governance structure. To assess the biogeographical and socio-ecological representativeness of the ILTER site network, we analysed all of the 743 formally accredited sites in 47 countries with regard to their spatial distribution. So-called “Representedness” values were computed from six global datasets. The analysis revealed a dense coverage of Northern temperate regions and anthropogenic zones most notably in the US, Europe and East Asia. Notable gaps are present in economically less developed and anthropogenically less impacted hot and barren regions like Northern and Central Africa and inner-continental parts of South America. These findings provide the arguments for our recommendations regarding the geographic expansion for the further development of the ILTER network, most notably in inner continental parts of South America, the Arctic region and Western and Central Africa.

How to cite: Wohner, C., Ohnemus, T., Zacharias, S., Mollenhauer, H., Ellis, E., Klug, H., Shibata, H., and Mirtl, M.: Assessing the biogeographical and socio-ecological representativeness of the ILTER site network, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-231,, 2021.

Thomas Ohnemus, Hannes Mollenhauer, Michael Mirtl, and Steffen Zacharias

The integrated European Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure (eLTER RI) was accepted onto the ESFRI roadmap in 2018. While several existing thematic environmental RIs in Europe focus on impacts of climate change and/or other elements of environmental change, eLTER RI will be the only research infrastructure embracing holistically the integrated impacts of such stressors on a wide variety of European benchmark ecosystems (major geo-eco-sociological systems across the continent’s ecoclimatological zones and Earth’s critical zone). In the beginning of 2020 eLTER RI entered the preparatory phase aiming at the development of the legal, financial and technical maturity required for an ESFRI Research Infrastructure.

The core of the eLTER RI will be ca. 200 selected sites covering all biogeographical zones in Europe, where biological, biogeochemical, hydrological and socio-ecological data will be collected - according to common standards - and analyzed. The European landscape of LTER sites and national networks has mainly been developed in a bottom-up manner. The sites have mostly been established for different monitoring and research purposes and are heterogeneous in terms of investigated ecosystem types, scales of investigation, complexity and instrumentation. Consequently, the transformation of the selected elements of the eLTER RI into a harmonized, high-performance, complementary and interoperable infrastructure is one of the key challenges of eLTER. Achieving the best possible representativity is on the major building blocks in eLTER’s design strategy.

To evaluate the representativity of eLTER a novel statistical approach combining information on biogeographical, ecological and socio-economic gradients with the management-relevant distribution of established sites was developed aiming at  i) identification of areas in Europe that are geographically underrepresented by the existing eLTER RI site network, ii) definition of priority regions for the geographical extension of the eLTER site network and, iii) development of suggestions for conceptual and infrastructural upgrades for existing less developed eLTER sites.

Reference datasets depicting biogeographical, ecological and socio-economical gradients were used to describe underrepresentation with a summation parameter called Aggregated Representedness. This statistical criterion was then used to classify five types of “priority regions” from very low to very high priority for geographical and/or conceptual extension. In a second step this information on priority regions was refined using additional information describing the geographical distribution based on Euclidean distances between established eLTER sites.  The combination of these two analyses allowed to identify less developed eLTER sites most suitable for conceptual and infrastructural upgrades. Thus, the presented analysis provides important information for the development of the design strategy for eLTER RI on the continental scale.

Concluding, a novel approach combining information on biogeographical, ecological and socio-economic gradients with the management-relevant information on the geographical distribution of established sites was developed. This tool allows to evaluate the strategies for further extension of established site networks. 

How to cite: Ohnemus, T., Mollenhauer, H., Mirtl, M., and Zacharias, S.: Designing the eLTER Research Infrastructure: representativity, priority regions and recommendations for development, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5273,, 2021.

Structuring, integration and visualisation of Research Infrastructures
Chak-Hau Michael Tso, Aaron Lowther, Don Monteith, Linsay Flynn Banin, William Simm, Susannah Rennie, Michael Hollaway, Peter Henrys, Rebecca Killick, John Watkins, and Gordon S. Blair

It is increasingly recognized that a whole-system approach is needed to address many challenging environmental research questions. While the whole-system approach is increasingly adopted by integrating data and models from various sub-systems, the ambition to apply this approach more widely across the environmental sciences requires infrastructure, methodologies, and a culture shift in order to facilitate seamless collaboration and re-deployment of workflows. 

We report our recent progress in addressing some of these issues. We focus our examples here on work related to the UK Environmental Change Network (ECN, an eLTER member network). A transdisciplinary project team comprised of environmental scientists, statisticians, and computer scientists collaborated through the medium of a virtual research platform (DataLabs). Within the DataLabs platform, all data and analysis code are centrally stored via a cloud service and easily accessible via an internet browser from any operating system. Access to cloud computing resources for analyses are also available. More importantly, all users have access to the same versions of the data and software running on the same hardware throughout the collaboration process.

Such close collaboration allows us to co-develop statistical/data science algorithms that are suitable for a wide range of environmental data. These algorithms are not domain-specific and are generic enough to be used on any environmental datasets. Here we demonstrate how they are used to highlight periods of data with significant change. The first example is a "state tagging" algorithm, where each point in time of a dataset is classified as belonging to an arbitrary state based on clustering of covariates. Subsequently, confidence intervals, based on the statistics of each state, are computed and any data points that lie outside the confidence intervals are flagged for further investigation. A second example is the development of an algorithm for the identification of changepoints across multiple time series comprising different sampling frequencies or misaligned sampling times.  Existing multivariate changepoint algorithms assume that each time series is sampled at the same time (a situation not commonly applicable to environmental data). Our method removes this assumption, and emerged after consultation and collaboration with domain scientists. It has many potential applications, such as confirming whether changepoints occur across sites or across multiple variables within sites, or combinations thereof. In the final example, we show how DataLabs can facilitate the acquisition and application of third-party data to improve understanding of ECN atmospheric deposition chemistry data. Specifically, it allows users to take advantage of cloud computing and storage and collaborate seamlessly; where each collaborator is not required to have independent versions of software and data, saving time and effort. 

The developments reported herein highlight the benefits of collaborative research using DataLabs to advance the integration of data, models, and methods across the environmental sciences. It provides the infrastructure, data, and culture to allow scientists to work more closely together. This in turn allows rapid incorporation of novel data science methods. It also allows the data integration workflows developed to be more readily applied elsewhere, while stakeholders can view and manipulate resultant data products.


How to cite: Tso, C.-H. M., Lowther, A., Monteith, D., Banin, L. F., Simm, W., Rennie, S., Hollaway, M., Henrys, P., Killick, R., Watkins, J., and Blair, G. S.: Integration of long-term collocated ecological datasets: examples from the UK Environmental Change Network (ECN), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2293,, 2021.

Isabelle Braud, Jérôme Gaillardet, François Mercier, Sylvie Galle, and Virginie Entringer

Implementing the Whole System Approach for long-term ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological system research requires going beyond existing structuration of scientific communities and observation networks. Indeed, existing observation networks were often built independently from each other, on a very disciplinary basis, with their own scientific objectives, funding mechanisms and institutional constraints. To tackle the observation challenges of the “new climatic regime” in the Anthropocene, a new type of observational platforms, more compatible with a scientific systemic approach needs to be built taking into account the history and institutional contexts of long-term observatories.

We have attempted to represent the diversity of critical zone observatories, sites and network of observatories that exist and that have been founded by different research institutions in France over the last 40 years and that are now gathered in the OZCAR Critical Zone network. Our representation encapsulates three main characteristics: the spatial scales of investigation (from the plot scale to the continental-scale watershed), the diversity of monitored compartments (catchments, glaciers, peatlands, aquifers…), and the institutional dimension (labeling and founding at the national level).  We found that a representation in the form of a tree, mimicking the phylogenetic tree of life, named the OZCAR-tree, was offering a visualization tool able to capture the philosophy and rationale of the network and was useful to improve the communication with the neighboring infrastructures, users and stakeholders. The branches of the tree represent the nested monitored scales, with the small branches of the tree representing monitored parcels or small catchments. The trunks represent networks of sites investigating the same compartment. For monitored catchments, the representation directly shows the various sampled scales and their nested organization from upstream to downstream. At each site, colored pie charts allow us to visualize rapidly the types of data that are collected, each part of the pie being a component of the critical zone (atmosphere, soil water, aquifers, vegetation, snow, ice…). This visualization directly shows the focus of the various sites, the completeness of measurements conducted by the different scientists, but also the missing compartments. It also shows that, if the network, as a whole is able to sample the various compartments and variables required for implementing the whole system approach, it is rarely the case when considering individual sites.

Beyond being a visualization tool, the OZCAR-tree helps representing the requirements of a “whole critical zone approach”. Because all compartments of the critical zone are connected vertically and horizontally by processes and fluxes of energy and matter, the tree is meant to represent all the components to be monitored and what should be the spatial architecture of a monitoring network fulfilling the disciplinary questions and approaches. The tree is therefore an illustration of a conceptual and idealized network (devoid of cost issues) of terrestrial surfaces monitoring infrastructure respectful of disciplinary approaches.

Finally, this representation is open to ecological and socio-ecological communities and may serve as a template for fostering collaboration with ecological and socio-ecological communities and networks and implementing observation platforms at the scale of changing territories.

How to cite: Braud, I., Gaillardet, J., Mercier, F., Galle, S., and Entringer, V.: The phylogeny of Critical Zone Observatories, or how to better structure existing observation networks to match the whole system approach, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3491,, 2021.

A Mathematical Gaïagraphy: systematizing the new visualization of the Critical Zone in the Anthropocene.
Jérôme Gaillardet, Quentin Louis, and alexandra Arènes
Specific field studies from Research Infrastructures
Urša Vilhar, Mitja Ferlan, Janez Kermavnar, Erika Kozamernik, Aleksander Marinšek, Metka Petrič, Tanja Pipan, Daniel Žlindra, and Nataša Ravbar

Karst systems represent 10–15% of land surface in the world and supply around 25% of the global demand for drinking water. In Slovenia karst areas are merely covered by forest and important for their rich and unique ecosystems. However, prevailing beech and mixed fir-beech forests in the region have been exposed to severe large-scale disturbances in the past few years, e.g., ice storms and heavy snow, windthrow, severe and prolonged periods of droughts and secondary insect damage, which have caused episodes of forest decline. Modification of the vegetation cover indirectly impacts the water balance. Despite the important role of karst water resources for supplying the population with drinking water, few studies exist that adequately evaluate the impact of predicted global changes on their quantity and quality. The effects of large-scale forest disturbances have been only marginally addressed, despite evaporation of water from the soil and epikarst being recognized as a significant process affecting hydrological cycle in karst regions. In many hydrological studies, the role and importance of vegetation in infiltration mechanisms, in particular the effect of trees and their root networks, has been widely neglected. In this study we present a holistic approach to infiltration processes research. An in-situ environmental monitoring network of the atmosphere-vegetation-soil-unsaturated zone of the aquifer has been designed to better understand infiltration in different compartments of the karst aquifer. Special focus is given to different forest development phases after large-scale disturbances and karst terrain morphology. The amount of precipitation in the open, canopy interception in mature forest and in canopy gaps with varying forest development phases, soil moisture and soil temperature are measured on the surface and subsurface. These measurements are performed in the area of an eLTER site Postojna-Planina cave system, i.e., on the top and bottom of karst depressions, while in the underground water discharge and electrical conductivity are measured in cave drips. By observing the time lag of the measured parameters to the recharge events, the effective infiltration of precipitation into the aquifer is evaluated and quantified. The results enabled to distinguish the recharge conditions under different forest development phases after large-scale disturbances and under different geomorphological conditions. The findings will in the later stage of the research serve as an input information for coupled vegetation-hydrological modelling of recharge conditions. Upscaling the modelling results from local to entire catchment scale would be useful for the evaluation of impacts of large-scale forest disturbance on the water balance of the entire karst aquifer system.

How to cite: Vilhar, U., Ferlan, M., Kermavnar, J., Kozamernik, E., Marinšek, A., Petrič, M., Pipan, T., Žlindra, D., and Ravbar, N.: Infiltration processes in karst aquifers affected by large-scale forest disturbances, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5525,, 2021.

Heide Spiegel, Julia Miloczki, Bernhard Freyer, Andreas Surböck, Jürgen K. Friedel, Hans-Peter Kaul, Helmut Wagentristl, Andreas Schaumberger, Renate Mayer, Andreas Bohner, Veronika Gaube, and Taru Sandén

Sustainable agricultural production of food, feed, fibre and fuel with limited agricultural land to cover human demands and at the same time to secure natural resources is currently one of the biggest global challenges. Changes in agricultural management to ensure fertile soils, stable yields and product qualities and to avoid adverse environmental impacts, affect various soil and plant characteristics, agrobiodiversity and the micro-climate of agroecosystems.

Long-term field experiments (LTEs) are indispensable to detect and understand impacts of climate (drought, heat, floods, frost) and agricultural innovations on soils and plants. Amongst agricultural innovations are adaptions of crop rotations to climate change, efficient fertilisation systems with and without livestock, reduced soil tillage intensity, the conversion of a whole landscape section from conventional to organic farming and introducing landscape elements like flowering strips or hegdes that serve, e.g., as habitats for pollinators and beneficials.

For the evaluation of impacts of climate change and agricultural innovations, researchers of agricultural long-term ecological research (LTER) sites in Austria have developed indicators to enable the systematic comparison of long-term trials impact on soil-plant systems in different agroecological zones of Austria and Europe, respectively, including different agro-ecosystems, e.g., arable land and grassland. Examples for soil indicators include soil characteristics like organic carbon, nutrients and contaminants, biological and physical (e.g., porosity, structure) indicators that have already been measured since many years in various field experiments. Embedded in long-term socio-ecological regions (LTSER), which allow analyzing long-term socio-economic and biophysical drivers of change in agricultural management, these agricultural LTER sites contribute crucial insights into the interaction between nature and society.

How to cite: Spiegel, H., Miloczki, J., Freyer, B., Surböck, A., Friedel, J. K., Kaul, H.-P., Wagentristl, H., Schaumberger, A., Mayer, R., Bohner, A., Gaube, V., and Sandén, T.: Monitoring agroecological transformation processes induced by climate and agricultural innovations over time and space, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12627,, 2021.

Katri Rankinen, Maria Holmberg, José Cano Bernal, and Anu Akujärvi

Browning of surface waters due to increased terrestrial loading of organic carbon is observed in boreal regions. It is explained by large scale changes in ecosystems, including decrease in sulphur deposition that affects soil organic matter solubility, increase in temperature that stimulates export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from organic soils, and increase in precipitation and thus runoff. Land use changes and forestry measures are also observed to be one reason for increased transport of DOC. The effects of brownification extend to ecosystem services like water purification, but also freshwater productivity through limiting light penetration and creating more stable thermal stratification. We studied past trends of organic carbon loading from catchments based on observations since early 1990’s. We made simulations of loading by the physical Persist and INCA models to three small catchments at the Lammi LTER area. We upscaled simulations to the Kokemäenjoki river basin (17 950 km2). Even though river processes did not play a role in small catchments, they had influence on DOC concentration at the whole river basin. Brownification was driven mainly by the change in climate and decay of organic matter in soil, with smaller impact of land use change on organic soil types. Decrease in sulphur deposition had only minor effect on brownification.

How to cite: Rankinen, K., Holmberg, M., Cano Bernal, J., and Akujärvi, A.: Modelling of long term brownification process in Southern Finland , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13014,, 2021.

Jan Frouz

Understanding how natural processes arise from complex interactions between particular processes at small spatiotemporal scales and in turn how these processes form patterns at large spatiotemporal scales is one of the current principal questions in environmental science. The problem is very complicated, as in many cases, key processes are often studied by researchers in separate disciplines such as ecology, soil science or hydrology. One of the major obstacles is that the processes at a landscape scale are difficult to manipulate and, in many cases, even measure. In particular, the belowground processes are in many cases overlooked or at least understudied. Here we briefly describe a methodological solution used to cope with this problem and describe artificial catchments designed for experimental manipulation at the level of a landscape, called FALCON. This array has two treatments: one mimics a site reclaimed using an alder plantation and the other was left to unassisted primary succession. For each treatment, there were two replicates in four similar catchments. Individual catchments are hydrologically isolated from the environment and equipped with instruments, so that all the main processes and all significant flows of substances and energy in the ecosystem can be monitored, including the cycling of water, nutrients and gas between the ecosystem and the atmosphere. In addition, in each catchment there are sets of lysimeters, which allow the study of small-scale processes and how these can be extrapolated to the catchment scale. In addition, two lysimetric fields exist alongside the catchments for monitoring the effects of the experimental manipulation.

How to cite: Frouz, J.: Controlled large scale ecosystem manipulation to explore key ecosystem components at multiple scales, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14061,, 2021.