Integration of European habitat monitoring based on plant life form composition as an indicator of environmental change and change in biodiversity

Margit Bloch-Petersen, Jesper Brandt, Martin Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review



During the last 25 years a number of European countries have developed general landscape monitoring systems. In the agricultural landscapes of Denmark the Small Biotope Monitoring Program (SBMP), which focuses on the dynamics of small biotopes and their relation to changes in agricultural technology and structural characteristics, has been developed since 1981. From 2007, the SBMP will continue as part of the Danish nature monitoring program, NOVANA.

In Europe, during the last 10 years, several national landscape surveys have cooperated to develop a European platform for consistent landscape related habitat monitoring. This has been through the BioHab Concerted Action Framework Programme of the EU (2002-2005), and the resulting publication of a handbook for recording and monitoring habitats (Bunce et al., 2005). The focus on environmentally conditioned habitat changes at a landscape level has led to the re-introduction of Raunkiaer's plant life form concept. This approach enables the indication of changes in biodiversity based on alterations in general habitat composition and quality.

Although the objectives of the SBMP and the BioHab projects have been somewhat different, the methodologies have much in common. In this paper the background and perspectives of the two approaches are discussed, and a test of the BioHab field methodology in an area previously monitored by the SBMP is presented. It was found not to be difficult to integrate the BioHab field recording methodology with the existing SBMP methods, thus permitting the SBMP to deliver an additional European perspective, with relatively little additional effort.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeografisk Tidsskrift
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • BioHab, field recording, General Habitat Categories, stratified sampling, land use, land cover, NOVANA, Raunkiaer’s plant life forms, Small Biotope

Cite this