Monitoring is an essential tool to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of nature management for both policy makers and local managers. Within this context a concept and manual with practical instructions has been produced as tool for the planning and execution of future projects for the monitoring of the nature management in the Flanders’ nature reserves. The final objective is to come to a control system for the support and steering of the policy making and management of nature reserves. The concept and applied field protocols can be found in ‘Vademecum deel I&II: Concept beheermonitoring & Methodiek met technische bijlagen en multisoortenlijsten’ (De Cock et al. 2008).
Except of setting up a framework to gather ecological data according to a tandardised methodology, this project also included a pilot study in which a first test monitoring round was conducted in 12 Flemish nature reserves in 2006. This report presents the preliminary analysis of the data that came forth of this test round. Directly related we present here initial methods for analysis by which a translation of the ecological data into distance-to-target scores to a certain aimed for nature type can be obtained. These scores allow to evaluate in what extent the targeted nature aims are reached, or even to signal if there is an evolution which calls for a reconsideration of the nature management.
We choose to elaborate and illustrate the method for Calthion grasslands. First, because this nature type is of high importance to nature conservation as a “regional important biotope“, and secondly, because we had the highest number of samples available for this type. In the first part we describe in broad outline the reference of a good developed Calthion grassland. This is subsequently trabnslated into different distance-to-target variables by which scores can be calculated in order to compare the field situation with the reference. An important element is the overview of the fauna multispecies with a detailed reasoning about the relevance of the selection for the evaluation of the Caltion grasslands. Another important facet is a proposal for tentative scores to measure the distance of the observed vegetation in relation to the aimed vegetation communities.
The second section deals with the actual data analysis and discussion. Here we give a score evaluation for each sub-aspect (flora, fauna, structure and abiotic conditions) and we try to apply it both on an overall level, which fits in on an evaluation on the level of policy makers, as well as on a more local level. The last level allows the local nature managers to interpret the results in an appropriate context, i.e. on the level of single parcels or reserves, on the basis of which they can decide whether or not to adjust management practices. The proposed analytic methods for an evaluation on a more overall level, provide a first step of how data coming from a monitoring network can be treated. However, at this stage the sample sizes are to small and to unbalanced to give statistical strong judgements about differences in the efficiency of the different applied management practices, nor to give a trustful image about the overall state of quality of the Calthion grasslands in Flanders’ nature reserves. A genuine monitoring and evaluation will be possible from the moment when time series from a statistically well-considered monitoring network are available.
The results give a good description of the points of departure of the currently measured units. These are evaluated against the previously described reference status. Next they also provide an insight about possible problems and how these could be tackled or not by an adapted nature management. The importance of a combined evaluation in which the subaspects are considered altogether is highlighted in the discussion. In this way the proposed analytic pathways can serve as examples of how the data can be analysed, interpreted and applied. To conclude, we give instructions about further fine tuning, simplification, integration and future possibilities.
|Publisher||Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek|
|Number of pages||177|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
|Name||Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek|
|Publisher||Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek: Brussel|
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