Plant life form based habitat monitoring in a European landscape framework for early warning of changes in land cover and biodiversity

Jesper Brandt, Martin Olsen, Margit Bloch-Petersen

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


    During the last 25 years different programs for detailed landscape surveys based on stratified area covering sampling in landscape grids of ¼ to 4 km2 have been carried out in a number of European countries with slightly different methodologies and perspectives, developing towards permanent landscape monitoring systems. In the intensively used Danish agricultural landscape it has been natural to concentrate on the dynamics of small biotopes. An area covering landscape monitoring program with emphasis on small biotopes (SBMP) has developed since 1981, and a continuation of this monitoring within the NOVANA program is planned for the future. During the last many years these different national landscape surveys have cooperated to develop a European platform for consistent landscape related habitat recording and monitoring. This has been realized through the EU BioHab concerted action in the preparation of a common European Field Monitoring Handbook as a user-friendly tool in support of implementing the Habitat Directive, including NATURA 2000, and linking scientific and policy-oriented European projects. The overall European monitoring role of the BioHab framework is to establish a landscape-based connection between the remote sensing-based monitoring of the environment and the site-specific indicators of biodiversity. The landscape-based framework permits a methodology for an operational monitoring that can serve as an early warning system, relating changes in biodiversity to changes in land cover and habitat composition and quality. The focus on essential features of the habitat that can be expressed easily and quantitatively for identification and mapping of small but significant changes at a landscape level has resulted in the reintroduction of Raunkiaers plant life form concept from 1907 as an essential approach in the BioHab project, since plant life forms to a high degree define the structure of the habitat and thereby the habitat’s quality for the species assemblage. Although plant life form has only partly been included in the Small Biotope Monitoring Program (through the registration of agricultural land use, general land cover and tree and shrub cover of small biotopes), it has not been difficult to integrate the BioHab framework in the SBMP-monitoring system, thus permitting the monitoring system to deliver an additional important European perspective with only very limited extra resources involved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2005
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventLaSyS Workshop: Processes, drivers and scales of global change - Danish land system research in a global perspective - Tune, Denmark
    Duration: 24 Oct 200526 Oct 2005


    WorkshopLaSyS Workshop

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