The FP7 project EBONE (European Biodiversity Observation Network) will have its final meeting on 12 and 13 March in Brussels that is opened by DG Research and Innovation director Manuela Soares. The project, coordinated by Alterra, part of Wageningen UR, has set major steps in harmonisation of biodiversity observation in Europe. It has had its focus on habitat information and linking field observations with remote sensing. Results are being applied already in other on-going projects and in national approaches in Switzerland and Israel.
Four major products are:
- The European Habitat Classification developed as General Habitat Categories for cost effective in situ habitat monitoring (e.g. for Habitats Directive reporting, Aichi targets) and linking existing approaches in Europe;
- The Global Environmental Stratification that provides a consistent stratification of the terrestrial parts of the globe in about 125 strata, that will allow cost efficient global biodiversity observation;
- A habitat database that allows sharing of European habitat and species data from new field observation, from existing surveys (such as the Swedish NILS survey and the British Countryside survey) for better and cost-effective European reporting;
- Remote sensing approaches such as LiDAR can be used for local habitat mapping and phenology indicators have been developed.
From the work done it can be concluded that EBONE mapping is three times faster than traditional vegetation mapping methods used before; this allows researchers and agencies to costs considerably. Habitats are a good intermediate between species composition, and also show a good correlation with several Remote Sensing (RS) categories.
For the Convention on Biological Diversity EBONE has organised the GEO BON workshop on the Assessment of Observation Capabilities for the Aichi targets. This workshop also initiated the process of discussing Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) to be developed in a comparable process as the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs).EBONE is a partnership of 18 universities and research institutes in Europe, Israel and South Africa working on the challenge of methodological cooperation and institutional cooperation.