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Landscape Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 11–25 | Cite as

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

  • R. G. H. Bunce
  • M. J. Metzger
  • R. H. G. Jongman
  • J. Brandt
  • G. de Blust
  • R. Elena-Rossello
  • G. B. Groom
  • L. Halada
  • G. Hofer
  • D. C. Howard
  • P. Kovář
  • C. A. Mücher
  • E. Padoa-Schioppa
  • D. Paelinx
  • A. Palo
  • M. Perez-Soba
  • I. L. Ramos
  • P. Roche
  • H. Skånes
  • T. Wrbka
Research Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Notes

Acknowledgements

The work presented in this paper was carried out as part of the EU Fifth Framework project BioHab (EVK2-CT-2002-20018). We thank K. Zaunberger and M. Sharman for their continued advice, support and interest. In addition, thanks are also given to the many other scientists who contributed valuable discussions and ideas, especially IALE members participating in the Ecoland Forum Working Group.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. H. Bunce
    • 1
  • M. J. Metzger
    • 2
    • 3
  • R. H. G. Jongman
    • 1
  • J. Brandt
    • 4
  • G. de Blust
    • 5
  • R. Elena-Rossello
    • 6
  • G. B. Groom
    • 7
  • L. Halada
    • 8
  • G. Hofer
    • 9
  • D. C. Howard
    • 10
  • P. Kovář
    • 11
  • C. A. Mücher
    • 1
  • E. Padoa-Schioppa
    • 12
  • D. Paelinx
    • 4
  • A. Palo
    • 13
  • M. Perez-Soba
    • 1
  • I. L. Ramos
    • 14
  • P. Roche
    • 15
  • H. Skånes
    • 16
  • T. Wrbka
    • 17
  1. 1.Alterra Wageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Environmental Systems Analysis groupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and Sustainability (CECS), School of Geo-SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  4. 4.Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial ChangeRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  5. 5.Research Institute for Nature and ForestBrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.Department of ForestryPolytechnic University of MadridMadridSpain
  7. 7.Department of Wildlife Ecology and BiodiversityNERIRoendeDenmark
  8. 8.Institute of Landscape EcologySlovak Academy of SciencesNitraSlovak Republic
  9. 9.ART Agroscope Reckenholz-TänikonSwiss Federal Research StationZürichSwitzerland
  10. 10.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyLancasterUK
  11. 11.Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  12. 12.Department of Landscape and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  13. 13.Institute of GeographyUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  14. 14.CESURLisbonPortugal
  15. 15.University Paul Cezanne, IMEP UMR 6116 CNRS, Europole de l’Arbois13545 Aix-en-Provence cedex 4, MarseilleFrance
  16. 16.Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary GeologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  17. 17.Institute of Conservation Biology, Vegetation Ecology and Landscape EcologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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