The infrastructure of eLTER-NL can be broken down in three components. (1) Carrying out long-term monitoring on animals, plants, environmental variables and socio-economic parameters within their LTSER platforms: the Wadden Sea, the Veluwe and the Schelde estuary. These monitoring schemes have been started as long as 65 years ago and include both small-scale high quality data collection as well a larger-scale monitoring. Some of this monitoring is done by stand-alone measuring equipment (mainly environmental data) but many of the animal and plant monitoring is carried out by human observers, partly using citizen science. The socio-economic parameters mainly come from desk studies, relying on national databases. This part of the infrastructure is already in place and well organised. (2) The long-term data collected by many different groups at the same LTER sites is however rarely integrated. For this, eLTER-NL will improve and set up ICT facilities to store data, using the FAIR principles, and will integrate these data in a relational database, using spatial and temporal meta-data, and also do quality control on these data, allowing a much better understanding of the multifaceted environmental system. For some of the LTSER sites this has already been organised in project that have now terminated such as for the Wadden, by WaLTER (ended March 2018), for other sites this needs to be developed, and (3) eLTER-NL will make the data available to researchers using data portals and a dedicated website. Also this part of LTER-NL needs to be developed, building om existing infrastructure for the Wadden and the Schelde (Datahuis Wadden at https://www.basismonitoringwadden.nl/datahuis/datahuis-wadden & de Scheldemonitor at http://www.scheldemonitor.be/nl).
A range of research disciplines will be facilitated by eLTER-NL. The integrated long-term data will be instrumental for interdisciplinary natural science research to assess changes in the environment, such as climate change and nitrogen deposition, and combine this with changes in animal and plant abundances. Combined with also the socio-economic data sets, the data will allow investigating human-environment-systems at landscape scales and is thereby of great interest to spatial planning and combining the various function of the landscape, such as economic activities, agriculture, tourism and nature. Furthermore, the socioeconomic experiments at the landscape scale to improve the sustainability of the landscape, such as the living labs of the Deltaplan Biodiversity, require such LTSER-platforms.
Internationally, the LTER sites covered by eLTER-NL are part of eLTER-Europe, which runs the eLTER RI (this research infrastructure is on the ESFRI road map since 2018), and in this way will also contribute to international research on these disciplines.