Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 14, pp 3341–3356 | Cite as

A review and a framework for the integration of biodiversity monitoring at the habitat level

  • Szabolcs LengyelEmail author
  • Andrej Kobler
  • Lado Kutnar
  • Erik Framstad
  • Pierre-Yves Henry
  • Valerija Babij
  • Bernd Gruber
  • Dirk Schmeller
  • Klaus Henle
Original Paper


The monitoring of biodiversity at the level of habitats is becoming widespread in Europe and elsewhere as countries establish national habitat monitoring systems and various organisations initiate regional and local schemes. Parallel to this growth, it is increasingly important to address biodiversity changes on large spatial (e.g. continental) and temporal (e.g. decade-long) scales, which requires the integration of currently ongoing monitoring efforts. Here we review habitat monitoring and develop a framework for integrating data or activities across habitat monitoring schemes. We first identify three basic properties of monitoring activities: spatial aspect (explicitly spatial vs. non-spatial), documentation of spatial variation (field mapping vs. remote sensing) and coverage of habitats (all habitats or specific habitats in an area), and six classes of monitoring schemes based on these properties. Then we explore tasks essential for integrating schemes both within and across the major classes. Finally, we evaluate the need and potential for integration of currently existing schemes by drawing on data collected on European habitat monitoring in the EuMon project. Our results suggest a dire need for integration if we are to measure biodiversity changes across large spatial and temporal scales regarding the 2010 target and beyond. We also make recommendations for an integrated pan-European habitat monitoring scheme. Such a scheme should be based on remote sensing to record changes in land cover and habitat types over large scales, with complementary field mapping using unified methodology to provide ground truthing and to monitor small-scale changes, at least in habitat types of conservation importance.


Biodiversity indicators Biodiversity research strategy Ecosystem monitoring Habitats Directive Nature conservation 



We are grateful to our colleagues in the EuMon project who have helped in contacting coordinators in each EU country. We are also indebted to the many monitoring coordinators who filled out the online questionnaire or provided us data in any other form. Two anonymous referees provided constructive comments on the manuscript. Financial support for the EuMon database and this study was provided by the EuMon project (“European wide monitoring methods and systems of surveillance for species and habitats of Community interest”,, funded by the European Commission (contract number 6463).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Szabolcs Lengyel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andrej Kobler
    • 3
  • Lado Kutnar
    • 3
  • Erik Framstad
    • 4
  • Pierre-Yves Henry
    • 5
  • Valerija Babij
    • 6
  • Bernd Gruber
    • 7
  • Dirk Schmeller
    • 7
    • 8
  • Klaus Henle
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of EcologyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Department of Forest EcologySlovenian Forestry InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  4. 4.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchOsloNorway
  5. 5.UMR 5173 & UMR 7179, Département Écologie et Gestion de la BiodiversitéMuséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance
  6. 6.Jovan Hadži Institute of BiologyScientific Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and ArtsLjubljanaSlovenia
  7. 7.Department of Conservation BiologyUFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzigGermany
  8. 8.Station d’Écologie Experimentale du CNRS à MoulisSaint GironsFrance

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