The main goal of the infrastructure measure TERENO will be to create observation platforms on the basis of an interdisciplinary and long-term aimed research program with a close cooperation between several facilities of the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft for the investigation of consequences of Global Change for terrestrial ecosystems and the socioeconomic implications. TERENO will provide long-term statistical series of system variables for the analysis and prognosis of Global Change consequences using integrated model systems, which will be used to derive efficient prevention, mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Important system variables are amongst others fluxes of water, matter and energy within the continuum of the groundwater-soil-vegetation-atmosphere system, long-term changes of the composition and functioning of micro-organisms, plants and fauna as well as socioeconomical conditions, which have to be determined with an adequate temporal and spatial resolution in dependence of the dynamics of the involved processes.


The complex interrelations and feedbacks of the different parts of the terrestrial systems require an interdisciplinary approach. In this context important questions are:

  • Which consequences have the expected climate changes on the terrestrial compartments (groundwater, soils, vegetation, surface waters)?
  • In which way will the feedbacks of the exchange processes of terrestrial systems (e.g. feedbacks between land surface and atmosphere) affect the terrestrial fluxes of water and matter?
  • Which direct influences have soil and landuse changes (e.g. due to EU Cross Compliance Directive, promotion of energy crops) on water balance, soil fertility, biodiversity and regional climate?
  • What are the consequences of large anthropogenic interferences (e.g. open mining, deforestation) on terrestrial systems?


The homogeneous long-term data sets provided by TERENO will significantly foster the validation, advancement and integration of terrestrial models (e.g. groundwater and soil water balance models, regional climate and weather prognostic models, air quality models, runoff and forest/agronomic models as well as diversity and socioeconomical models). Integrated model systems will significantly support the management of agronomic and forest ecosystems (e.g. optimisation of irrigation systems as well as development of warning systems for extreme weather occurrences and flooding, integrated control systems of water management constructions, and monitoring systems for air, groundwater and surface water quality).