Landscape Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 11–25

A standardized procedure for surveillance and monitoring European habitats and provision of spatial data


    • Alterra Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • M. J. Metzger
    • Environmental Systems Analysis groupWageningen University
    • Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and Sustainability (CECS), School of Geo-SciencesUniversity of Edinburgh
  • R. H. G. Jongman
    • Alterra Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • J. Brandt
    • Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial ChangeRoskilde University
  • G. de Blust
    • Research Institute for Nature and Forest
  • R. Elena-Rossello
    • Department of ForestryPolytechnic University of Madrid
  • G. B. Groom
    • Department of Wildlife Ecology and BiodiversityNERI
  • L. Halada
    • Institute of Landscape EcologySlovak Academy of Sciences
  • G. Hofer
    • ART Agroscope Reckenholz-TänikonSwiss Federal Research Station
  • D. C. Howard
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • P. Kovář
    • Faculty of ScienceCharles University
  • C. A. Mücher
    • Alterra Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • E. Padoa-Schioppa
    • Department of Landscape and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Milano-Bicocca
  • D. Paelinx
    • Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial ChangeRoskilde University
  • A. Palo
    • Institute of GeographyUniversity of Tartu
  • M. Perez-Soba
    • Alterra Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • I. L. Ramos
    • CESUR
  • P. Roche
    • University Paul Cezanne, IMEP UMR 6116 CNRS, Europole de l’Arbois
  • H. Skånes
    • Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary GeologyStockholm University
  • T. Wrbka
    • Institute of Conservation Biology, Vegetation Ecology and Landscape EcologyUniversity of Vienna
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10980-007-9173-8

Cite this article as:
Bunce, R.G.H., Metzger, M.J., Jongman, R.H.G. et al. Landscape Ecol (2008) 23: 11. doi:10.1007/s10980-007-9173-8


Both science and policy require a practical, transmissible, and reproducible procedure for surveillance and monitoring of European habitats, which can produce statistics integrated at the landscape level. Over the last 30 years, landscape ecology has developed rapidly, and many studies now require spatial data on habitats. Without rigorous rules, changes from baseline records cannot be separated reliably from background noise. A procedure is described that satisfies these requirements and can provide consistent data for Europe, to support a range of policy initiatives and scientific projects. The methodology is based on classical plant life forms, used in biogeography since the nineteenth century, and on their statistical correlation with the primary environmental gradient. Further categories can therefore be identified for other continents to assist large scale comparisons and modelling. The model has been validated statistically and the recording procedure tested in the field throughout Europe. A total of 130 General Habitat Categories (GHCs) is defined. These are enhanced by recording environmental, site and management qualifiers to enable flexible database interrogation. The same categories are applied to areal, linear and point features to assist recording and subsequent interpretation at the landscape level. The distribution and change of landscape ecological parameters, such as connectivity and fragmentation, can then be derived and their significance interpreted.


Field recording Stratified sampling Biodiversity Monitoring Surveillance Raunkiaer plant life forms General habitat categories

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007