Natura 2000 Monitoring Workshop 2013

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Terrestrial Natura 2000 Monitoring Workshop

Nature, Pictures and People Swansea, South Wales, United Kingdom, 12-14 March 2013


NATURA 2000 MONITORING WORKSHOP REPORT 2013

Funding This workshop was made possible with funding support, which Eurosite receives, from the European Union.

Contributing organisations • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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DG Environment, the European Commission Eurosite The Countryside Council for Wales, United Kingdom Krkonoše National Park, Czech Republic Staatsbosbeheer, The Netherlands Metsähallitus, Finland Västerbotten County Administration, Sweden Estación Biológica de Doñana, Spain Natuurmonumenten, The Netherlands Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic Ekologigruppen, Sweden Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom EIS, The Netherlands Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden Plantlife,UK Swedish EPA, Sweden exeGesIS SDM Ltd, United Kingdom Specto Natura Limited, United Kingdom CNR-ISSIA, Italy Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, UK INBO, Belgium The National Trust, United Kingdom Technical University Berlin, Germany Other members of Eurosite Other supporting organisations and individuals


NATURA 2000 MONITORING WORKSHOP REPORT 2013

Introduction

Contents

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Keynote presentation

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Setting the Scene

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Presentation summaries

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Non-invasive large-scale monitoring for large carnivore management across Scandinavia

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Monitoring the Narrow-mouthed whorl-snail (Vertigo angustior) in sand dunes in the Netherlands

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Habitat mapping of terrestrial habitat types in protected areas in Finland

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Iteratio: translating vegetation maps into thematic maps of site conditions

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Unmanned Aerial Systems: their application for wildlife monitoring

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Monitoring Natura 2000 sites in Sweden

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Entry-level Remote sensing workshop

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Integrating remote sensing and field recording at DoĂąana in SW Spain

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BIOSOS - A new approach to Natura 2000 site monitoring using Earth Observation data

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MS MONINA

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Estimation of coverage and status of infrequent habitats with a two-phase sampling design in Sweden

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Developing habitat monitoring protocols for volunteers

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Monitoring the management of the mountain meadows in KrkonoĹĄe

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The use of media and the general public in the monitoring of the stag beetle in the Netherlands

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Monitoring common plant species using volunteers and suggestions for adapting the methodology for use on Natura 2000 sites

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Poster summaries

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Swedish monitoring for the Habitats Directive – an overview

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Remote sensing of Habitats Directive wetlands in Sweden

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Establishing baselines of ecosystem extent utilising remote sensing data: A case study for Cors Fochno lowland raised bog

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Heathland monitoring with high resolution satellite imagery

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Using volunteers in conservation site monitoring programmes

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The monitoring system for Conservation Status monitoring of Natura 2000 habitats in Flanders

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Site based measures of habitat condition using EO; case studies from Norfolk

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Heathland restoration monitoring at Woorgreens nature reserve Forest of Dean

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Other posters presented

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How much is protected? – A detailed analysis of habitat occurrences inside and outside protected areas in Sweden

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The use of unmanned aerial vehicles for imaging and digital surface modelling of protected areas

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MS.MONINA: Monitoring Europe’s most precious ecosystems

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Bird, amphibian, reptile and dragonfly monitoring initiatives in the Basque area

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Detecting and understanding invasion impacts of the Argentine ant in Doñana cork oak trees and their breeding waterbird colony

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Assessment of structure and function of habitat types based on a national vegetation monitoring program

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Referencing reference values: FRV’s for population and range of species as a basis for Natura 2000 monitoring

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NATURA 2000 MONITORING WORKSHOP REPORT 2013

Introduction Across Europe, as attention shifts to the need to ensure stronger implementation of Natura 2000 monitoring, questions concerning what to monitor, who should be involved, and when and how it should be done, will become increasingly important. This workshop aimed to help organisations and individuals involved in nature conservation across Europe gain a better understanding of effective practices in field monitoring, including remote sensing, open-sourced software, ‘citizen science’ and volunteer engagement. The main aims of the workshop were: 1. The practical application of Natura 2000 monitoring 2. The practical application of remote sensing in Natura 2000 monitoring 3. The development of citizen science in Natura 2000 monitoring This three-day workshop was held in Swansea, Wales, UK on 12-14 March 2013. 110 people attended the workshop from 17 countries across Europe. The most represented countries were the United Kingdom (58), the Netherlands (22), Belgium (7), and Sweden (7). The first day of the workshop included an introduction from Angelika Rubin from DG Environment, followed by a series of presentations on topics including non-invasive monitoring of large carnivores and the applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems for wildlife monitoring. The day closed with an interactive discussion session. Day 2 also included a number of presentations covering the workshop’s main themes, as well as simultaneous workshops on remote sensing for beginners and for those with more advance experience. The workshops covered how to get started with remote sensing and provided the attendants with examples of how remote sensing can be applied at the site level. Again there were opportunities for networking and discussions throughout the day. On the final day the workshop attendants took part in site visits on the Gower Peninsula to the ‘Limestone Coast of South West Wales SAC’; Whiteford Burrows, which is part of the ‘Carmarthen Bay Dunes SAC’; and the Burry Inlet SAC. These locations offered attendants the possibility to see first-hand a number of important Natura 2000 habitats and their flora and fauna. Alongside the presentations and workshops, a poster exhibition displaying 15 posters provided attendants with the opportunity to learn from case studies from across Europe. The feedback provided by the workshop delegates was very positive with a majority finding the workshop to be stimulating and very relevant to their work. Attendants enjoyed the valuable networking opportunities provided by the workshop and went away with new ideas to implement in their own work and a better understanding of how their work fits into the wider Natura 2000 network.

Keynote presentation Setting the Scene

Angelika Rubin, European Commission, DG ENV The wider context for biodiversity protection Looking at the different levels framing biodiversity protection, the first to mention is the Convention of Biological Diversity that works along its Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (Nagoya 2010). At EU level the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (May 2011) sets the current frame, defining 6 sub-targets. The first of the 6 relates to the full implementation of EU nature legislation. It requires halting the deterioration in the status of all species and habitats covered by EU nature legislation and sets out to achieve a significant and measurable improvement in their conservation status by 2020. The EU Nature Legislation The Habitats Directive of 1992 & the Birds Directive from 1979, both have two pillars: 1) Species protection; 2) Site protection – Natura 2000. The objective of both is to ensure a favourable conservation status for habitats and species. This concept stretches beyond Natura 2000, i.e., we must look at the conservation status of protected features not only at the site level but overall on the European territory and seas. This has implications for the monitoring requirements. 5


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Monitoring conservation status In its Art.11 the Habitats Directive requires surveillance of conservation status. Therefore Member States need to establish Monitoring Programmes that can give information on the parameters needed to assess conservation status every 6 years at least. Also the regular updating of the Standard Data Form is very important to ensure an up-to-date documentation of the Natura 2000 network. Future challenges – for you and the EU In general – the monitoring of EU features needs to: • Improve data quality (better - from monitoring systems, more coherent, comparable, robust) & fill the gaps (marine - but not only!) • Do more with less: cost-efficient monitoring methods • Continue work on definition of favourable status (reference values, etc.) – in biogeographic context • Streamline – collect once – use often

Presentation summaries Non-invasive large-scale monitoring for large carnivore management across Scandinavia Dr. Michael Schneider, Västerbotten County Administration, Sweden

Much of the monitoring work within Natura 2000 is done at the scale of individual sites. This approach, however, does not work for large carnivores, as they need vast areas of habitat. Sweden is working intensively with the conservation and management of Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Wolf (Canis lupus), Wolverine (Gulo gulo), Lynx (Lynx lynx) and Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). For all of these species, Sweden shares a common population with Norway. Large carnivore management should be done at a population scale and the background surveillance necessary should therefore be conducted with similar methodology in both countries. Methods should be non-invasive, as the animals should not be disturbed and as handling them can be dangerous for humans.

Figure 1. Trends data for large carnivores in Sweden originates from several sources

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The surveillance of large carnivores is complicated and different surveillance systems can be applied to meet these species’ ecology and behaviour. When a species occurs in low numbers, a system of professional surveyors is affordable and renders detailed results. When a species is more numerous, a system of professional surveyors gets too expensive. In this case, expert NGOs or well-trained volunteers can be involved instead. Costs per surveyed animal are lower, as surveyors are reimbursed for parts of their costs only. When a species is widespread, a system involving the public can be used. Costs for surveillance will be relatively low, but so will the accuracy of the results. Sweden and Norway currently merge surveillance systems for carnivores and are developing a single, common methodology. There is an on-going transition from a professional surveillance system towards a system involving the public more and more. This may cause problems in the future, as the Swedish compensation system for reindeer killed by carnivores demands complete, correct and undisputable data on large carnivore numbers and distribution. A filter system has to be developed, through which the quality of observations can be assessed. Key points • Large carnivores in Sweden do not easily fit into the usual system for monitoring within Natura 2000, as their distribution has little to do with designated sites and as parts of their populations dwell in Norway, which is not a member of the European Union. • Sweden and Norway are currently developing a common system for carnivore surveillance, where a transition from a solely professional system to a more public system is on its way. • There is a trade-off between the costs of a surveillance system and the accuracy of the results it renders. The new methodology may not be sufficient for the needs of the existing compensation system for reindeer killed by carnivores.

Monitoring the Narrow-mouthed whorl-snail (Vertigo angustior) in sand dunes in the Netherlands Wouter Langhout, Natuurmonumenten, the Netherlands

Figure 2. A segment of carpet showing the locations of narrow-mouthed whorl-snails

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The Narrow-mouthed whorl snail is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive and is found in a wide variety of humid, base-rich environments. The snail occurs in salt marshes, sand dunes, wetlands, grasslands and forests throughout the European Union. The snail was previously monitored using a leaf litter sampling method, which involves drying and searching through leaf litter. This method has a high chance of detecting snails, but is destructive, labour-intensive and difficult to standardize and the measured densities of snails are ecologically hard to interpret. A new monitoring method was developed by Natuurmonumenten and Stichting Anemoon. This method uses carpet patches which are left in the field for a short time period, after which the snails can be found under the carpet. The measured densities of the new method were correlated with the leaf litter method, albeit weakly. This method is nondestructive, non-labour-intensive, is easy to standardize and the measured densities of snails are easy to interpret. The carpet monitoring method can answer questions about the population ecology and the autecology of Narrowmouthed whorl snails but needs careful testing to examine its performance under different weather conditions, i.e. in areas with low snail densities, and in habitats other than sand dunes. Key points • Monitoring Narrow-mouthed whorl snails using patches of carpet is a non-destructive, non-labour intensive and easily standardized method, and offers a promising alternative to the established leaf litter sampling method. • The new monitoring method using carpet can answer questions about the population ecology and the autecology of Narrow-mouthed whorl snails. • The new monitoring method using carpet needs careful testing to examine its performance under different weather conditions, especially in areas with low snail densities and in habitats other than sand dunes.

Habitat mapping of terrestrial habitat types in protected areas in Finland Jussi Päivinen, Natural Heritage Services, Metsähallitus, Finland

Around 2000, Metsähallitus defined the data needed from protected areas and then made the necessary alterations in their geographical information systems (GIS). As a consequence, the new data are quite different from the old, especially the inventories on mires, poorly productive land, unproductive land and other lands that are more specific than before. Most of the information is gathered by field surveys. In the north of Finland, remote sensing is the most common method of inventory, but field surveys are also carried out there. This is especially true in the high diversity areas, notably for stands of trees and shrubs. In total, 3.8 million hectares (95%) have already been mapped. Data on Natura 2000 habitat types are also collected in all the areas, as well as the information about the habitat type’s representativeness and closeness to the natural state. In 2004, a similar inventory began of privately-owned nature reserves. This inventory employed the same method, designed by Metsähallitus. To date, 80,000 hectares (75%) have been mapped. Metsähallitus uses the data on natural habitat types for management planning in the protected areas. With this information it is possible to allocate the restoration measures and nature management work to the areas where they are necessary, and to classify them by urgency. The data also enables Metsähallitus to limit hiking in sensitive areas, for example, and is also used for research and, among other things, as a part of Habitats Directive monitoring. The data on natural habitat types is also important background information for assessing threatened habitat types in Finland. Why is the new extensive data needed in Finland? • The previous data were collected for commercial forestry purposes, which are different from the needs of management of protected areas. • In some of the areas, the data are as old as 20 years, and are partly outdated. • Metsähallitus has inherited or purchased some areas where little or no information exists on their natural features. • In some areas, there were data on vegetation, which had been collected for nature conservation purposes, but they could not be transferred directly to the geographical information systems of Metsähallitus.

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Iteratio: translating vegetation maps into thematic maps of site conditions Jan Holtland, Staatsbosbeheer, the Netherlands

Iteratio is a database application that can be used to obtain a coherent spatial overview of specific environmental conditions from a comprehensive vegetation survey of a specific area. It calculates environmental indicator values for vegetation samples (relevés) on the basis of known indicator values of a limited number of plant species. The outcome is then linked to a digitalised vegetation map (map of plant communities) which results in a spatial overview of site conditions. Iteratio requires the indicator values of a minimum of 10-20% of the species present. These species are given a relative weight according to their amplitudes: species with a narrow range are weighted stronger; species with a broad range are weighted weaker. Initially, the relevé data are imported into the database application, and then the known species indicator values and species weights. Next, an iterative calculation process is started. In the first run, Iteratio calculates per relevé a weighted average on the basis of the known indicator values of the species occurring in the relevé, their cover/abundance degrees and their given weights. In a second run, the program calculates for each species with unknown indicator value a weighted average on the basis of the averages calculated for those relevés in which the species occurs as well as the species cover/abundance degrees. These calculated values are then used as additional indicator values in a next iteration which calculates a new weighted average per relevé. The known species indicator values that formed the basis of the first run are kept constant during all iterations. After a certain number of iterations, usually between 20 and 40, the weighted averages for species and relevés remain constant. At this stage, all the species have acquired stable relative positions within the environmental range represented by all the relevés. The program then calculates two indices which characterize the amplitude (niche breadth) of each species: a numerical value and a standard deviation. The program presents the amplitudes graphically. Key points • To maintain and improve N2000 habitat quality we need to know the actual abiotic conditions and processes in our nature areas. • Vegetation maps with vegetation samples analysed with Iteratio appear to be a useful information source in addition to direct abiotic measuring • Iteratio is a strong tool for obtaining or improving indicator systems in regions where abiotic measurements can be linked to vegetation samples.

Unmanned Aerial Systems: their application for wildlife monitoring Mara Mulero Pazmany, Aeromab Project, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Spain

For conservation monitoring purposes at least, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are flying vehicles that can carry cameras and other sensors that are controlled by a Ground Control Station, which is typically composed of a computer and a communication system. UAS have been used for a long time in military applications and more recently they have started to play a role in civilian tasks, including wildlife monitoring. The lack of global consensus over legislation is the main limitation for UAS expansion. However, the UAS market is growing exponentially and there is a huge variety of equipment available. For wildlife monitoring purposes, considering a) the scale of work, b) the funding limitations and c) the sensor requirements of the stakeholders, small and light UAS are the most convenient. Our team worked with a low cost UAS (rotary and fixed wings) for four years in Doñana National Park, evaluating its advantages and limitations for different wildlife monitoring applications. We used the fixed wing UAS for monitoring bird colonies, particularly for species that nest in remote areas of the marshlands like Glossy Ibis and Slender Billed Gull. It is difficult to access these colonies by other means without disturbing the birds, so UAS proved to be a useful tool, providing high-resolution geo-referenced imagery that was used to locate and count both the nests and the individuals. Our group used the UAS for several studies on habitat selection, e.g. to determine the areas of dune that Greylag Geese visited for gritting and to characterise the habitat of Baillon’s crake, a cryptic bird that lives in the Doñana marshlands. We used the UAS to study the effect of water availability on disease transmission in ungulates. Another experiment replicated quasi-real time Lesser Kestrel’s flights. The birds carried a GPS datalogger which allowed us to replicate the trajectory with a UAS, obtaining high-resolution imagery of the habitat overflown by the birds. We also used fixed wing 9


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Figure 4. The UAS used during the Aeromab project at Doñana National Park. UAS to locate Montagu’s Harrier nests, allowing them to be marked and avoid destruction by harvesters. We used a rotary wing UAS to photograph a White Stork nest to determine the nestling age before deciding to access the nest and ring the bird. This avoided having to climb with no prior information and risking the bird jumping out the nest if he was not young enough. We also cooperated with the Park rangers to detect dead birds after a massive death event caused by a cyanobacteria bloom. Our conclusion, after more than 600 flights using different systems for a variety of wildlife monitoring applications, is that UAS are very useful for environmental studies, providing reliable scientific data and helping in management tasks. However, users should not underestimate the operator training needed or the limitations associated with range, endurance, and weather.

Figure 5. An image illustrating how UAS can be used to track the seasonal distribution of deer on the marismas at Doñana.

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Monitoring Natura 2000 sites in Sweden

Anders Haglund, Ekologigruppen AB - Project-leader and consultant for Swedish Environmental Protection Agency & Conny Jakobson, Swedish EPA, Sweden In Sweden monitoring biodiversity is done in three different programs, each with a different scope and budget. 1. Protected areas and Natura 2000. Main aim - to monitor conservation objectives at the site level and determine the protected areas’ contribution to favourable conservation status. Budget €2.2 million = 5% of the management grant. 2. Bio-geographical monitoring program. Main aim - to meet the demands of article 11/17 of the Habitats Directive. Monitoring is conducted on a landscape level, both outside and inside protected areas. Budget €2.8 million. 3. National /regional environmental surveillance program. Main aim - to monitor the 16 national environmental objectives. National budget €22 million. The long-term aim for monitoring protected areas is to apply the system of knowledge based, quality-assured adaptive management in all the protected areas in Sweden. This program focuses on managed habitats at the site level. We use standardised target indicators, with a standardised method. Some important target indicators are compulsory to monitor. In this way we harmonise the monitoring in protected areas in Sweden, making it possible to compare data between areas, regions, and with the biogeographical monitoring program. This meets the aim of monitoring the protected areas’ contribution to favourable conservation status, and provides data to the article 17 reporting at the same time. The major challenge for monitoring in Sweden is the large area of protected areas in the country. An area of some seven million hectares is protected, most of which is unmanaged forests and alpine habitats. Objectives for the habitats and species with non-intervention management regimes are evaluated at a national level. The approach does not give sitespecific answers to conservation objectives, but it does answer whether the non-intervention management regime is successful at the national level. Target indicators for habitats are often measured by remote sensing, while field based surveys tend to focus more on typical species. In Sweden we use different species groups as indicators. Lichens and mosses are often used for forest habitats and birds are used for marine habitats and semi-natural grasslands. Key points • Focus the monitoring at site level on things that you can influence with management. • To reduce the costs of monitoring, evaluate objectives on a regional or national level for habitats and species that are under non-intervention management regimes. • Consider using species groups, e.g. mosses, lichens and birds, to assess habitat status if they are important indicators of the conservation status.

Entry-level Remote sensing workshop Alan Brown, CCW, UK

The introductory workshop showed how to get access to free LANDSAT imagery for anywhere in the world, and introduced two open-source software programs suitable for looking at satellite imagery and air photography. LANDSAT is now readily available and important because it has wide coverage, an unrivalled archive stretching back to the 1980s, a comprehensive set of spectral (colour) channels and excellent calibration. A new satellite in the same series has recently been launched, giving continuity over the next decade. QGIS was used to read in a stack of individual LANDSAT channels to form a false colour image. After a description of the channels in relation to the way vegetation reflects light, the image was then cropped, registered to the local projection, and the colours stretched and balanced to optimise the colour information shown on screen. A second programme, Imagej, was used to further enhance the colour information in a satellite image or air photograph, by decorrelating the three channels corresponding to red, green and blue on screen. This showed the potential information hidden in apparently uniform or low contrast air photographs. Marine examples were used to illustrate this. Finally, the concept of pan-sharpening was briefly introduced.

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The workshop showed how free software available to everyone can be used to look at freely available images, enabling anyone interested to start understanding the properties of satellite imagery. For example, the colours corresponding to features of interest, the spatial resolution and the potential to map objects by analysing not only shape and texture but colour information. Though remote sensing analysis will need expert help, anyone can do a great deal towards understanding in a visual way the information content of imagery in its most familiar context: field observations.

Integrating remote sensing and field recording at Doñana in SW Spain Ricardo Diaz-Delgado, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Spain

Ground-truth is essential for remote sensing empirical studies. Ground-truth consists of field sampling of training areas for digital image analysis and model accuracy assessment. Empirical approaches benefit from an adequate ground-truth design enabling the correct thematic class assignment to spectral classes. In Doñana marshlands, the LAST-EBD (Estación Biológica de Doñana) systematically uses satellite and airborne images to map the flooding dynamics, hydroperiod changes, turbidity, aquatic plant communities and alien species distribution and abundance. Many logistic issues arise when field sampling. Ground-truth must be carefully planned and has to look for homogeneous areas to sample as well as for transitional areas (ecotones). In addition, radiometrically contrasted features should be located and spectrally sampled (with spectroradiometers) to help in atmospheric corrections. Planning airborne campaigns with hyperspectral sensors, such as AHS or CASI, requires precise scheduling of tasks such as the flight design and permissions. Suitable equipment for wetlands remote sensing has to be water-proof. In Doñana marshlands we use water probes, differential GPS, PDAs, portable spectroradiometers and cranes, drones or UAS to enhance data acquisition. We use portable GPS stations in the field to enable precise geometric correction through post-processing when no permanent stations are available near the area.

Figure 6. Image showing the link to the Ricardo Diaz-Delgado presentation online. A major advantage of this planning is the achievement of a multi-scale approach to reaching the monitoring goals. Multi-scale approaches allow radiometric signal integration when up-scaling from spectral signatures of the monitored feature at field level up to broad pixel sizes from the coarse resolution images that are widely available for remote sensing monitoring. Quantitative remote sensing may be addressed by identifying end-members (pure elements) and their reflectance contribution to spectral signatures with laboratory spectroscopy. Finally, Cybertracker (an open-source software) is a very helpful tool that enhances field data acquisition through a customized sequence of screens. It has already been implemented in Android, and can run on mobile devices with GPS. The current version can be uploaded online to datawarehouse and can be used for citizen science initiatives. Our experienced sequence designer, Hugo LeFranc (h.lefranc@gmail.com) is developing and programming hundreds of sequences for biodiversity and ecological monitoring and could help you to customise standard field protocols.

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Key points • Ground-truth is essential for empirical studies based on remote sensing. • In Doñana marshlands, the LAST-EBD (Estación Biológica de Doñana) systematically uses satellite and airborne images to map the flooding dynamics, hydroperiod changes, turbidity, aquatic plant communities and the distribution and abundance of alien species. • Open-sourced Cybertracker software is a very helpful tool and the current version can be uploaded online to datawarehouse for citizen science-based projects.

BIOSOS - A new approach to Natura 2000 site monitoring using Earth Observation data Richard Lucas, Aberystwyth University, UK

Research undertaken through the EU FP7-funded Biodiversity Multi-Source Monitoring System: From Space To Species (BIO_SOS) project has led to the development of the Earth Observation Data for Habitat Monitoring System (EODHaM). This system uses multi-source remote sensing data to first classify landscapes according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Land Cover Classification Scheme (LCCS). Classification of the broad LCCS categories of terrestrial, aquatic, vegetated and non-vegetated is achieved within the EODHaM 1st Stage, with this based on spectral data and derived indices alone. The EODHaM 2nd Stage integrates both spectral and contextual features and focuses first on the classification of LCCS Level 3, which establishes whether the landscape is either cultivated, managed or artificial or natural or semi-natural. Classes beyond Level 3 are then formed by first generating over 30 separate ‘layers’ relating to key descriptors (e.g., vegetation life form, cover and height, water characteristics) within the LCCS classification and assigning codes to each of these. These codes are then combined to generate a summary class code and an associated descriptor. In the EODHaM 3rd stage, the LCCS classes are translated to General Habitat Categories (GHCs) which can then be combined to map Annex I habitats. Change is detected on the basis of a change in the codes (e.g., height) used to form a class (e.g., tall broadleaved deciduous forests) and also in continuous surfaces relating to biophysical attributes such as vegetation productivity, surface moisture and amount of woody material. Methods for assessing classification accuracy have also been developed, with these combining accuracies in the classification of the component layers used to generate the LCCS classes. The method was developed on Natura 2000 sites and their surrounds in Wales, the Netherlands and Italy and is being evaluated at other locations in Greece, Portugal, India and Brazil. The EODHaM System is implemented within open source software and uses a diversity of remote sensing and also ancillary datasets. The System can also be readily adopted by managers of conservation sites and their surrounds for land cover, habitat and ultimately biodiversity monitoring. Consistent classifications can also be generated within and between sites. Key points • The BIOSOS EODHAM system provides an approach to the classification of land covers from very high resolution remote sensing data. • The FAO Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) forms the basis of the land cover classification whilst habitats are defined through the General Habitat Category (GHC) system. • The approach allows consistent mapping of Natura 2000 sites and surrounds throughout Europe.

MS.MONINA

Jeroen Vanden Borre, INBO, Belgium MS.MONINA is an EU FP7-project aiming to support those responsible for Natura 2000 policy implementation, by providing remote sensing based services for Natura 2000 habitat monitoring. The project targets stakeholders at three different levels: (1) local authorities and site managers responsible for appropriate management and conservation of protected sites; (2) national and sub-national (regional) authorities responsible for reporting on the implementation of the Habitats Directive; and (3) EU authorities, to acquire a better overview of the general progress in Europe towards the objectives of the Habitats Directive. The presentation focused on results from remote sensing applications that provided detailed information at the site level. Examples of habitat mapping, indicator mapping for conservation status assessments, and change detection for monitoring were shown, applied to different habitats and in different biogeographical regions of Europe. Despite the 13


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wide array of remote sensing based tools described in literature or elsewhere, many have not been tested more widely, and may be ‘overfit’ to the context (site, image, habitats) they were developed in. This potentially hampers the wider application of remote sensing in Natura 2000 monitoring. Therefore, special focus in MS.MONINA is on transferability and general applicability of tools and methods to other sites. The presentation used a case study to demonstrate a ‘push-button’ transfer of a method previously successful for heathland habitat mapping, to a structurally (but not floristically) similar habitat (coastal dunes). This yielded unsatisfactory results, which emphasises the difficulties of an automated transfer of detailed remote sensing applications, and highlights the continuous need of additional input from remote sensing professionals and terrain experts to achieve useful outcomes. MS.MONINA will continue to work to identify operational solutions, and to provide site managers and other users with objective information about the potential applications of remote sensing in Nature 2000 habitat monitoring. Website: www.ms-monina.eu.

Figure 7. An image classified using the EODHaM approach showing the raised bog at Cors Fochno SAC: the semi natural habitats (yellow-brown) have been isolated from the more productive areas surrounding them (varying degrees of red)

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Key points • Remote sensing has high potential as a tool for Natura 2000 habitat monitoring, but there are obstacles to it being operational. • The high variety of sites, habitats, and corresponding information needs, leads to a multitude of different approaches (often tailor-made), but hinders a wider applicability. • Potential users should not passively wait for remote sensing to come up with solutions, but need to actively engage with remote sensing professionals from an early stage, to make the tools work for their specific needs.

Estimation of coverage and status of infrequent habitats with a two-phase sampling design in Sweden

Hans Gardfjell, Sven Adler, Åsa Hagner, Helena Forsman, Anton Grafström, Department of Forest Resource Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden; and Johan Abenius, and Conny Jacobson, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Stockholm, Sweden In many European countries with a long history of intensive land use, habitats of community interest rarely occur outside protected areas and the monitoring and assessment can focus on occurrences within the Natura 2000 network. In Sweden and other North European countries the situation is different. Lower historical human population densities and less intense land use has resulted in many patches of high value habitat still existing in the wider landscapes. However, little is known about the exact distribution and status of habitats outside the protected areas, which implies the need for habitat surveillance both outside as well as inside the Natura 2000 network. Ongoing monitoring programs give valuable information across the whole territory. The National Inventory of Landscapes in Sweden (NILS) and the Swedish Forest Inventory (Swedish NFI) form the base layers for terrestrial habitat assessment in Sweden and these programs provide good quality data on the cover, distribution and status of many habitats. However, the precision and quality of the data are directly linked to the cover of the habitat and, since many of the Annex I habitats are generally less common, the usefulness of the available data will be limited. To improve the sampling of sparse habitats we have developed two-phase designs where remote sensing and field sampling are combined. They are based on a principle where a large number of plots will be categorised and measured using remote sensing (phase 1) and later a subset of these will be surveyed in the field (phase 2). In phase 1 all plots will be classified with use of manual interpretation of aerial infra-red images into general habitat categories. Note that in most cases an exact identification of habitat is not possible with photo interpretation alone, but with a two-phase design grouping will work well for most habitat groups. In phase 2, a subset of the plots is randomly selected from each aerial category for field survey: a larger proportion from aerial categories consisting of more ‘interesting’ habitats, and a smaller proportion from categories with less important or already well known habitats. We have developed two different ‘two-phase’ designs. The first is a general method used for most of the terrestrial habitats, where the aerial interpretation is made in a large cluster of points, and the field survey is done in circular plots with a diameter of 10 meters. The sea-shore inventory is based on a novel design where the sea-shore transects are randomly selected by a line-intersect method. Here, the field sampling of habitats and other variables is done along a transect along the whole shore gradient. For a description of the designs see: www.slu.se/moth. The values used in the Article 17 report will come from a mix of different data sources. In many cases valuable information for a given habitat will exist in several data sources and instead of choosing the result from the ‘best’ data source it is possible to improve the results by making a combined estimate. The surveys based on random sampling designs gives both an estimate of the actual value (coverage or status variable) as well as a variance estimate. This can be used to estimate the relative weights for the different surveys and make a combined weighted estimate. Key points • The nation-wide surveys can improve the understanding of how much the Natura 2000 network contributes to the overall conservation status of the habitats. • By using a ratio estimator it will be possible to calculate the relative proportion of the habitat that exists within the protected areas. • Using the two-phase sampling design it will also be possible to compare different status variables inside versus outside the protected network.

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Developing habitat monitoring protocols for volunteers Clive Hurford, CCW, UK

When we design a monitoring project, we should be confident that a) it will deliver a consistent result, and b) the result is the correct result. The challenge when using the volunteer workforce is to ensure that we use their time, enthusiasm and varying levels of expertise to best effect without compromising the validity of the monitoring project. Before we can do this, we must understand the key sources of observer variation and the levels that we would experience if we were using a professional workforce. Habitat monitoring has traditionally focussed on two forms of recording: • Estimates of vegetation cover – typically the cover of individual species, but also groups of species such as ericoids, grasses and herbs. • The diversity of plant species present, based on a subset of the plant species recorded in the habitat type. However, the results of multiple observer sampling trials using professional recorders have found that these recording methods incur high levels of observer variation. Tests on estimating vegetation cover found that we should allow a minimum of 35% either side of a cover estimate in order to accommodate the expected range of observer variation. Similarly, tests on recording species diversity found that even experienced recorders rarely noted more than 63% of the species present in a 1 x 1m grassland relevé, and in rivers no recorder noted more than 54% of plants in a 100m sample. In summary, these tests found that a) we cannot reliably detect changes in species-richness and b) that we can only reliably detect gross changes in vegetation cover – typically greater than any real change that we would be prepared to accept for practical conservation purposes. These results suggest that we should think carefully about what we need to know before developing habitat monitoring protocols for volunteers (and indeed professional recorders). Two practical options for doing this include 1) focussing recording on species with high detection rates, 2) using species of both animal and plants as indicators of habitat condition, i.e. those species that we would expect to be associated with a habitat if it was in a favourable state. A case study illustrated how the combination of a) assessing the minimum area of vegetation cover in a river and b) recording the co-occurrence of a suite of indicator species could be developed to assess the condition of Ranunculion habitat. The indicator assemblage in this example comprised all animal species and included otters (Lutra lutra), dippers (Cinclus cinclus), four species of fish and a small suite of pollution-sensitive freshwater invertebrates.

Fig. 8. An exercise designed to assess the levels of observer variation associated with recognised river vegetation sampling methods found that almost half of the plant species in a 100m stretch of river had a less than 20% chance of being detected by experienced recorders. 16


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Key points • Habitat condition depends not only on the composition and structure of the vegetation, the habitat must also support the animals that should be associated with it. • Select attributes that a) can be reliably assessed and b) give a true indication of habitat condition. • Provide volunteers with an appropriate level of training and with respect.

Monitoring the management of the mountain meadows in Krkonoše Stanislav Brezina, Krkonoše National Park, Czech Republic

The presentation gave an overview of a project designed to monitor management carried out by the NPA in the Krkonoše Mountains and identified strong and weak aspects of the projects. The situation with monitoring plant species in the Krkonoše meadows is satisfactory: we have long-term population data for almost all nationally endangered plant species growing in the meadows and we use the data to adapt the management to the needs of these species. In contrast, there is a lack of monitoring data on the management of habitats and for the associated invertebrate populations. The absence of monitoring data for habitats and invertebrates is not solely a consequence of limited resources (finances or time) and involvement of the public is unlikely to solve the problem per se. The problem seems to be more conceptual. We would like to conserve the total biodiversity of the meadows but we have difficulties transferring this general aim into clear management aims for discrete localities. However, the consequence of using vague terminology to express the aims is low motivation to develop schemes for monitoring the management. This is because the main purpose of management monitoring is to help deliver management aims, and if the aims are not clearly stated the management monitoring loses its reason for being. The presentation also described a field workshop held in 2012 in the Krkonoše Mts. where the employees of the NPA worked closely with Clive Hurford from CCW (Wales) to develop a meaningful management monitoring scheme for the meadow habitats. We established several phytosociological relevés in vegetation in the most valuable (in this case ‘species-rich’) part of the locality and also in parts with more degraded vegetation. After that we looked for the plant species which differentiate the ‘best’ meadow vegetation from the degraded grassland. Finally, we developed an exact definition for the best part of the meadow, i.e., vegetation where you can find at least four of a set of six listed species within a 0.5 x 0.5m sample area. This clear definition enables us to express the management aim for the locality in a manner which can be easily grasped by those involved in the management monitoring. Not accidentally this kind of monitoring caught the attention of many employees of the NPA and is in principle suitable also for engaging members of the public. Key points • Habitat conservation can help to maintain or restore biodiversity but needs to operate via clear aims, because vague aims prevent us from monitoring management success. • Defining groups of indicator species proved to be the first crucial step towards formulating clear management aims and developing a clear methodology for management monitoring in the montane meadows of the Krkonoše Mts. • Clear aims and a clear methodology for management monitoring motivated various employees of the NPA to do the monitoring by themselves and thus enhanced the chance of the monitoring surviving in the long-term.

The use of media and the general public in the monitoring of the stag beetle in the Netherlands John Smit, EIS, the Netherlands

Citizen science, e.g. the use of the general public, for instance, in monitoring and nature conservation, can be very successful if executed correctly. Not all species are suitable for monitoring by the general public. Some may be too elusive, by keeping odd hours or living in places people never visit, and some may be too difficult to recognize, or generally too hard to find. Hence choose your species carefully, especially when using the general public instead of specific groups of volunteers, who may have received some training. In the Netherlands, we have used citizen science to monitor the stag beetle: a species that is too elusive to be monitored by professionals. We have published articles, notes, posters, leaflets etc. especially in areas where the species is likely to occur. These included photos, distribution maps, and information on those species that it is most likely to be confused with. Records increased from less than 5 records per year (pre 2000) to more than 170 per year after that.

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However, with this many records, validation becomes an issue, because members of the public are not trained and may feasibly mistake any creepy crawly of reasonable size for a stag beetle. Therefore, try to make it as easy as possible for them by providing simple identification tools, preferably a leaflet, meanwhile educating them. It is also vital to provide feedback to the volunteers on the purpose and the use of their data: in this case the conservation of the stag beetle in the Netherlands. Citizen science, if well executed, not only provides more knowledge but also increases public support. Key points • Cherish your volunteers. • Involve your volunteers and thus increase public support. • Educate your volunteers.

Figure 9. A male stag beetle Lucanus servus, the focus of a successful citizen science project in the Netherlands.

Monitoring common plant species using volunteers and suggestions for adapting the methodology for use on Natura 2000 sites Sue Southway, Plantlife, UK

Plantlife is very keen to have volunteers help with our work. The major project to do this is the annual Wildflowers Count survey, running since 2010: this took over from the Common Plants Survey started in 2002. At present well over 1, 500 people have been involved, and in 2012 over 900 people took part surveying over a thousand 1km squares across Britain. We have found that communicating with our volunteers is very important and send out a quarterly E-newsletter. We also ran a survey asking how else they would like to be involved with Plantlife, as a result we are now training volunteers to train others in how to do the survey. As part of a conservation project in Breckland, a Natura 2000 site in the east of England, we have approached Plantlife members and Wildflowers Count volunteers to form a monitoring group in the area. They will be monitoring a suite of species, although none are on the UK Natura 2000 list. We appreciate that not all species can readily be surveyed by citizen scientists, particularly as several of those on the UK Natura 2000 list are lichens and mosses, and it is not easy to find those skilled in the identification of these taxa. However, in South Wales at another Natura 2000 site, Kenfig Burrows, there is a project to restore the dunes so that they will be a moving system rather than the present static system and one of the species it is hoped to benefit is the Fen Orchid (Liparis loeslii). The model used to recruit volunteers for the Breckland project will be used to create a monitoring group for the orchid and for other species that may benefit from the work. We have been delighted to find that, as part of the Natural Networks project co-ordinated by Plantlife, other European countries are beginning to use citizen scientists to monitor Natura 2000 species, a good example being in Romania where volunteers are trained to identify and count single, easy to recognise species.

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Key points • Good planning for a citizen science project is essential even with the volunteering ethos that exists in the UK. • Communication is essential as volunteers need support and to know that they are appreciated. • Realistic expectations are needed as to what can be achieved by volunteers.

Figure 10. Training young volunteers in Romania

Poster summaries Swedish monitoring for the Habitats Directive – an overview Conny Jacobson, Swedish EPA, Sweden

The Swedish EPA is developing a new monitoring programme to enable more accurate and transparent assessments of the conservation status of habitats and species listed in the Habitats Directive. This includes monitoring in the landscape outside protected areas, as well as increasing the density of the samples in protected areas.

Remote sensing of Habitats Directive wetlands in Sweden Johan Abenius & Conny Jacobson, Naturvardsverket, Sweden

The Swedish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is the coordinator of the work to achieve the 16 national environmental objectives. One of them is “Thriving Wetlands” for which it is stated: “The ecological and water-regulating function of wetlands in the landscape must be preserved, and valuable wetlands must be preserved for the future.” A satellite based two-step change detection method is the backbone of the national wetland monitoring program since 2007. Using Landsat TM data, every pixel of unforested mire is analysed for unnatural changes in a 10-yr revisit schedule. End users are regional, national and international bodies responsible for biodiversity related objectives for wetland quality. The habitat types of the Annex 1 mire series account for the majority of wetlands in Sweden. The method is designed to differentiate hydrological and physical impacts of mainly anthropogenic origin on single wetlands from any general trends affecting wetlands. This makes the results directly useful for evaluation of conservation status of the targeted habitats. 19


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Figure 11. Girth measurements of logs and snags contribute to the data set collected for Habitats Directive monitoring in Sweden Since 2007, the Swedish wetlands have been monitored using satellite data operationally within the national environmental monitoring program. In 2012 a new indicator for the Swedish wetland objective was proposed, based on the results of the first round of surveys. The 21 County Administrative Boards participate actively, facilitating the program with their regional expertise and using the data to evaluate progress towards corresponding regional objectives.

Establishing baselines of ecosystem extent utilising remote sensing data: A case study for Cors Fochno lowland raised bog Rebecca Charnock, Aberystwyth University, UK

This research investigates the potential of using VHR optical and LiDAR data to assess the distribution of indicators of biodiversity for establishing a baseline of the extent of habitats in the lower Dyfi catchment. The study focuses on the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve core conservation zone of Cors Fochno, a rare example of an estuarine raised mire, which encompasses the largest intact, primary surface of lowland, raised bog in the UK. For the site, Worldview II and LiDAR data (Fig.1) were acquired over the period 2009 to 2011 with a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Canopy Height Model (CHM) derived from LiDAR. Three seasonal satellite images, a March, July and November image for pre-flush, peak-flush and a post-flush were used for classification. In order to formulate some of the LCCS classification rules in eCognition and Python, several indices were extracted from the VHR data, with these relating to biophysical attributes. The use of indices with discriminant analysis, seasonal imagery (fig.1.), LiDAR and UAV data were shown to be important to establishing baseline extent, land cover and habitat classifications.

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Heathland monitoring with high resolution satellite imagery

Ann Clasen, Geoinformation for Environmental Planning Lab, LUP-Potsdam / Technical University Berlin, Germany Across Europe, the project MS.MONINA provides operational tools for the assessment and monitoring of biodiversity for the protected area network (Natura 2000). This subproject develops standardised services for heathland monitoring at site level. The pilot site Kleine Schorfheide is a nature protection site situated in the northern part of Brandenburg/Germany. Due to its former long-term military use, it was protected from fragmentation and transformation into agricultural land. Today, it includes wood, dry sandy heaths, semi-natural grasslands, humid meadows, wetlands and fens partly not accessible due to military deposits. Military activities drove the deforestation of the area and helped to keep large areas open, allowing sandy dunes, heathlands and dry grasslands to evolve. The aim of this subproject is to evaluate Natura 2000 habitat types and to assess some indicators of their conservation status for the Environmental Agency Brandenburg. Studied habitat types are: • 2310: Dry sandy heaths with Calluna and Genista • 2330: Inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands • 4030: European dry heaths

A. WorldView II image from 24.09.2011, Resolution 0.5 m pansharpened B. Indicator map 2011 C. Habitat type map for 2310, 2330 and 4030 D. Conservation status for 2310 and 4030

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High resolution Satellite Imagery is used to classify the following indicators to derive habitat quality: • Bush/ tree encroachment • Grass encroachment • Percentage of open soil • Area dominated by cryptogams • Area covered by Callua-heath • Area covered by Genista-heath • Areas covered by dry grassland (Agrostis and Corynephorus) Reference data for heathland habitats was collected all over Brandenburg in the field and on satellite imagery. For these samples a knowledge base was created, including spectral and textural information, as well as old biotope type maps. With this knowledgebase, training pixels for all relevant classes are identified automatically. These training pixels are clustered to create homogeneous signatures as input for a maximum likelihood classification. The output classes are intersected with habitat-polygons and the percentages of coverage are computed for habitat evaluation. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s 7th Framework Program under grant agreement n° 263479.

Using volunteers in conservation site monitoring programmes Andy Fairbairn, Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, UK

This poster outlined the extent to which the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) engages (and is dependent upon) volunteers. The Trust particularly focuses on using them to gather biological records as part of our planned survey schedule, using specific methodologies. Volunteers gather data for us both within our reserve boundaries and increasingly in the wider countryside, as part of projects such as the Water Vole Recovery Project.

The monitoring system for Conservation Status monitoring of Natura 2000 habitats in Flanders Paelinckx D., Oosterlynck P., De Saeger S. & Westra T, INBO, Belgium

Questions to be answered at the level of the whole of Flanders for the six-yearly reporting of the conservation status to the European commission: 1. Is the range and the area of the habitat large enough and does it evolve in a positive way? 2. Does more than 75% of the area of a habitat type have a locally favourable status with respect to its structures and functions? 3. Is there a decrease in pressures and threats with significant impact at a regional level? The monitoring network to answer these questions consists of two pillars. Both are organised in a twelve-year cycle (18 years for forests mapping). Distribution, range and area are followed up by an area wide field-driven land cover mapping of Habitat and Birds Directive areas and of habitat locations outsides these areas. Although all land cover types are included in the legend, special attention and more detail is gathered and presented for the Natura 2000 habitat types (and local subtypes) and other (semi) natural biotopes. For feasibility reasons it is important that the field campaigns become more and more remote sensing aided. Specific structures and functions and environmental conditions are monitored by a random sampling scheme for each habitat type. The sample scheme is randomly divided in 4 subsets to spread the field work. To get more robust results on the network of Habitat Directive areas, the sampling density is higher within these zones. On a subset of sites environment variables are measured (e.g. groundwater levels, nitrogen load). For each sample plot the local conservation status is assessed, based on: • Structural variables (e.g. ages classes of Calluna vulgaris); • Vegetation development (e.g. abundance of typical species); • Disturbances (e.g. dominance of Molinia caerulea, large amount of tree encroachment; direct measure of desiccation or nitrogen pollution).

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Site based measures of habitat condition using EO; case studies from Norfolk Katie Medcalf, Environment Systems, UK

1. The MEOW project has been looking at using satellite and aerial imagery for the habitat surveillance and monitoring needs of the UK. 2. Nationally, there remain gaps in knowledge about the location and quality of semi-natural habitats, which because of their scarcity, fragmented nature, their occurrence in complex mosaics and their often remote location are particularly difficult and expensive to map and monitor using traditional survey techniques. 3. We have been undertaking pilot work in Norfolk, mapping habitats at a landscape scale and in more detail at a case study level. 4. Using common indices and metrics the potential for identifying features pertinent to site condition has also been investigated. 5. These metrics could be used at regular intervals to assess risks to the site and the condition of the significant habitat features: (a) The extent of the habitats which could be used for monitoring changes. (b) A wetness classification important in looking at the condition of mire features. (c) Where high productivity within and surrounding the site may pose a risk to the site. 6. Phase 1 of this project reviewed recent activity, reporting the potential of EO techniques and geoinformatics for operational biodiversity surveillance of terrestrial and freshwater habitats. It resulted in the development of the Crick Framework. 7. The Crick Framework facilitates users in addressing the questions “Have I got the information I need to use EO in my situation?”, “What information/data do I need?” and “What techniques are available?” More information on the Making EO Work for UK Biodiversity project can be found on the project pages: http://jncc. defra.gov.uk/page-5563

Heathland restoration monitoring at Woorgreens nature reserve Forest of Dean Kathy Meakin, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, UK

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is monitoring how heathland communities re-establish after clear felling a conifer plantation at its Woorgreens reserve. The felling was conducted over the winter of 2011-2012 in collaboration with the Forestry Commission. A 25 m grid system geo-referenced to our GIS software and the OS grid is used to locate stratified random grid cells for vegetation community sampling. The grid also allows us to map the locations of key plants and subsequently to map the extent of developing habitats and allow comparisons with the emerging distribution of other mapped taxa. This information will be used to inform the reserve manager in planning any subsequent adaptive management to achieve the full potential of the reserve for wildlife. The poster will present the results from the first year of monitoring.

Other posters presented How much is protected? – A detailed analysis of habitat occurrences inside and outside protected areas in Sweden Hans Gardfjell, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles for imaging and digital surface modelling of protected areas Jon Young, exeGesIS SDM Ltd, UK

MS.MONINA: Monitoring Europe’s most precious ecosystems

Lena Pernkopf, Stefan Lang, Christina Corbane, Olivier Buck & Jeroen Vanden Borre, INBO, Belgium

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Bird, amphibian, reptile and dragonfly monitoring initiatives in the Basque area Francisco Javier Zabala Albizua, Ihobe, Spain

Detecting and understanding invasion impacts of the Argentine ant in Doñana cork oak trees and their breeding waterbird colony Ricardo Diaz-Delgado, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Spain

Assessment of structure and function of habitat types based on a national vegetation monitoring program Anne Schmidt, Alterra Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), Netherlands

Referencing reference values: FRV’s for population and range of species as a basis for Natura 2000 monitoring Fabrice Ottburg, Alterra Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), Netherlands

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