European Monitoring Approach

EBONE has developed an approach that allows to harmonise national and regional procedures in monitoring and that links different levels of monitoring. The outputs concern ecological aspects, technical aspects and governance aspects of a monitoring system based on the knowledge that is available in Europe, Israel and South Africa.

It links extant data from different countries to newly collected data focussing on habitat information. It includes aspects of intercalibration, upscaling and downscaling, sampling strategy and cost assessment.

Using biodiversity monitoring  data for reporting on the success and failure of European and national biodiversity policies requires linking ecological data from 27 different countries and within these countries many more regions with different approaches. Global level modelling and reporting would even ask for more harmonisation. Reporting as proposed under IPBES and on the developments of the SBA’s as is the task under GEO makes harmonisation required.

Barr et al (1993) demonstrated already for Great Britain, how environmental quality could be assessed by integrating the different levels of a landscape hierarchy as has been developed for Europe by Bunce et al (1996). Availability of data, development of knowledge and European and global cooperation helps us to achieve these goals.

A monitoring system was developed  to estimate past and future changes. In situ information is essential but the use of aerial photography and satellite information will improve the efficiency of the field survey to a large extent. Future change can be optimally tracked by repeating the field surveys every five to seven years and with a good fit between earth observation and in situ information even more frequent cycles are possible. However al this is depending on costs, technical knowledge and institutional exchange and cooperation. Requirements are the use the exchangeable procedures, correct environmental metadata such as seasonality, climate, soil information and geographical position to prevent distortion.

The concept consist among others of:

  • The scientific basis for the production of statistical estimates of stock and change of key indicators (Deliverable 1.1 and 1.2)
  • A system of General Habitat Categories methodology that allow to link extant data from different countries into a common system for comparing stack and change of European habitats (Deliverable 4.1)
  • A rule based key for identification of Annex I habitats (handbook, PDA tool, Web based application, Deliverable 4.2)
  • A Handbook for in situ monitoring of biodiversity through habitats, vegetation and selected species (Deliverable 4.3)
  • An analysis of in situ data collected throughout Europe, Israel and South Africa in the field season of 2010 (Deliverable 6.1)
  • A proposal how to harmonise and integrate biodiversity monitoring approaches in Europe (Deliverable 1.3 and 8.1)
  • The concept will include existing networks of site observations, wider countryside mapping and earth observation. Techniques are being developed for upscaling and downscaling.