Table 1. Comparison of key features of LTER and LTSER.

System studied
Socioecological system
Humans are dealt with as...
...human populations, treated like populations of other species, causing disturbances in ecosystems.
...human societies/cultures engaged in an interactive process with their natural environment.
Natural sciences approach: observation–analysis–explanation. Intervention occurs only in controlled experiments.
Inter- and transdisciplinary approach: gets involved and is aware that the research may change the systems under investigation.
Expertise, measurement data, models, understanding of system dynamics.
As LTER plus socioeconomic and statistical data. Actively uses research results as a basis for participation in decision making.
Basic epistemological assumptions
Natural—scientific values: aims at objectivity and reproducibility, may sometimes have the illusion to be independent of social values and norms.
Self-reflexivity: is aware that research is a social process inextricably entangled in historically contingent social values and norms.