LTSER Veluwe - Netherlands
The area defined as ‘the Veluwe’ lies in the province of Gelderland, the Netherlands, West of the river IJssel and North of the river Rhine. The region hosts the largest connected nature area of the country: around 91.947 ha are part of the Natura 2000 area. The natural landscape consists of a mix of forests, heathlands, sand drifts, lakes, and moorlands. The Veluwe was settled a long time ago, and the area is now densely populated (van der Zouwen, 2006). Traces of burial mounds and agricultural fields are indicators of former human settlements. During prehistoric and medieval times, extraction of iron and timber took place on the Veluwe. After the start of the 19th century, large scale deforestation occurred, with several consequences for the nature and the landscape of the area. Human colonization increased rapidly in the 20th century. This resulted in increased infrastructure, intensified agriculture, and increased water extraction, with consequences for the groundwater levels and biodiversity (Jongmans et al., 2012; Schaminée and Jansen, 2009). As it stands, the present nature regions are surrounded by agriculture, settlements, or infrastructure. This means there is a lot of interaction between humans and nature. For example, the National Park De Hoge Veluwe and the Kröller-Müller museum and surrounding attractions get more than half a million visitors per year (ZKA Consultants & Planners, 2013). The unique circumstances of highly populated areas combined with nature provide great opportunities for research on the varied interactions between nature and humans to be carried out. A great array of different ecological and socio-economic research has already been carried out in the Veluwe, which makes it a good quality LTSER platform right from the start. One criteria for a LTSER platform is the definition of relevant themes or research questions (ILTER, 2014).
General Characteristics and Status