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Connectivity of nature in the Nordic countries (CONNOR)

Assessing landscape structure in habitat monitoring in the Nordic countries - potential approaches, methods and data

image of Connectivity of nature in the Nordic countries (CONNOR)

Proceedings from the workshop at Roskilde Vandrehjem, Denmark, 14-15 May 2008 The Nordic countries have a common goal to halt the decline in biological diversity by 2010. Changes in the spatial structure of habitats are a major pressure on biological diversity. Spatial indicators can help to describe the development of biological diversity and hence evaluate the 2010-target. At a workshop held in May 2008, approaches and available data for the application of spatial indicators in the Nordic countries were discussed. It was agreed that spatial indicators are useful descriptors for biological diversity. However, indicators must be based on specific knowledge on species' requirements in terms of quality and spatial structure of habitats. Furthermore, applied map-data must contain information, which reflects these requirements. To strengthen the integration of spatial indicators in Nordic nature monitoring, critical research needs were identified. Existing approaches and available map-data need to be evaluated critically. In order to uncover opportunities, limitations and needed actions for a meaningful application of spatial indicators, specific example-studies need to be elaborated. These research activities are crucial for scientifically qualified and sound recommendations for the future design of nature monitoring in the Nordic countries.

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Objectives

The scientific and political recognition of the importance of habitat fragmentation shows that fragmentation, its effects on habitat structure and its consequences for biodiversity should be integrated in monitoring programmes. Over recent years many methods to measure habitat fragmentation have been developed. However, approaches to integrate such measures within monitoring programmes are scarce. One reason is that state and development of biodiversity depend on a variety of parameters, which affect habitat quality and thus biodiversity. Habitat structure is but one parameter of a larger number, and it can therefore be difficult to determine relationships between habitat structure and biodiversity isolated from other parameters and pressures. Furthermore, relationships between habitat structure and biodiversity highly depend on species’ specific characteristics. E.g. dispersal distances and consequently responses to changes in habitat structure differ substantially between different species. Finally, map data for habitat structure have often not been adequate to reasonably assess fragmentation.

English

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