N Ohte1*, H Shibata2 and N Saigusa3
*1Dept. of Social Informatics, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
2Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0811, Japan
3Center for Global Environ. Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba 305-8506, Japan


A Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program was originally established in 1980 by the National Science Foundation to support research on long-term ecology in the United States. The LTER network was founded with the recognition that long-term and broad-scale research is necessary to understand various environmental phenomena. This necessity has become increasingly pressing with the increased human effects on populations, communities, ecosystems, and the biosphere. Following the activity by the US-LTER, in 1993 international LTER networks initiated global activities to develop mutual linkages and assemble knowledge among the world’s LTER networks (International Long Term Ecological Research Network, 2011). The International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) is a “network of networks,” a global network of research sites located in a wide array of ecosystems worldwide that is used to help understand environmental change across the globe. Currently, 37 countries (networks) are affiliated with ILTER (Africa 2; Central/South America 3; East Asia-Pacific 7; Europe 24; North America 2).

JaLTER (Japan Long-Term Ecological Research network) was established in 2006 to provide scientific knowledge, which contributes to conservation, advancement and sustainability of environment, ecosystem services, productivity and biodiversity for a society in Japan by conducting long-term and interdisciplinary research in ecological science including human dimensions. JaLTER has nation wide network of ecological observation sites, which consists of 54 field sites including university forests, lake and marine observatories, and agricultural experimental sites. JaLTER is closely linked with ILTER Network. Own database, JaLTER Data Base is managed and operated in the Center for Global Environmental Research in National Institute for Environmental Studies. We use the Metacat system as a database server application, which handles EML (Ecological Metadata Language) for data organization and searching processes.

Since the establishment of JaLTER, the Committee for Large and Long-term Ecological Research of the Ecological Society of Japan has worked with JaLTER to encourage ecological scientists to make networks for field observations and monitoring. At the same time, in order to build up the framework for data opening by ecological scientists not only for the research communities, but also for the public and governments, the committee and JaLTER have worked cooperatively to establish the publishing procedure of Data Papers. The reason of this cooperation has been due to mutual benefits: Ecological Society of Japan can facilitate to open ecological data previously stored individually and/or institutionally through the data base facility of JaLTER, and JaLTER can yield high quality data through the authorization by editorial board of the Ecological Research.

Since the beginning of the Data Paper editorial, twenty-five data papers have been published in Ecological Research, and several manuscripts are currently under review. Those included datasets related to forest ecosystems, lake ecosystems, and agricultural ecosystems. Most of them were made by field oriented monitoring, and one consists of remote sensing data. Review process of data paper is performed mainly to evaluate the quality (accuracy and usefulness) of metadata and the organization of datasets.


We thank E. Maita of the National Institute of Environmental Studies and the executive group of the Japan Long-Term Ecological Research Network for their contributions to the JaLTER database activities.


International Long Term Ecological Research Network (2011) About ILTER. Retrieved on August 10, 2017 from the World Wide Web: