Monitoring is an essential tool to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of nature management for both policy makers and local managers. This manual contains the concept and guidelines for the monitoring of the nature management in the Flanders’ nature reserves with practical instructions for the planning and execution of future monitoring projects. The final goal is to come to a control system for the support and steering of the policy making and management of nature reserves. This consists of the set-up of a standardised efficient and achievable methodology for the gathering of relevant ecological data. Immediately linked herewith we prescribe a translation of these ecological data that guarantee an effective interpretation in the form of a “distance-to-target” measure. This will allow to verify if the assigned targeted nature types are indeed obtained with the currently applied management techniques and to signal if there are developments that demand for a reconsideration of policy making. The data coming forth from this monitoring are not only valuable to sustain policy making, but should also offer possibilities to evaluate the management practices on a more local level and allow for steering.
Next to the preparation of a concept and methodology, this project also included a pilot study. The pilot study not only produced first data for an initial analysis, but also contributed to the evaluation and adaptation of the field protocols which were designed according to the monitoring concept. This task partly consisted of elaborating the monitoring schemes, the coordination and guidance of research agencies during fieldwork, data gathering and storage. An initial analysis and interpretation of the data can be found in another report within this series (De Cock et al. 2008a). The set of nature reserves and measuring plots used for this pilot study form the start for the elaboration of a true monitoring network.
The first part of this report deals with the monitoring approach in which extra attention goes to the limiting conditions, current bottlenecks and suggestions for the elaboration of a monitoring network for nature management. In addition, also attention is paid how the standard methodology for network monitoring is applicable for or to be integrated within the monitoring and evaluation of single reserves for which extra modules are provided to follow up mere local management goals (local target and aimed species, nature development or conversion projects, etc.). The standard approach in which the nature management goals are transformed into measurable units, consists of three steps. First, we defined the target nature types from the management plans and maps. Then, we determined the applied management approaches per target nature type. Finally, target nature types and management effects were translated into measurable units consisting of a combination of biotic and abiotic characteristics. The evaluation of a distance-to-target to a target nature type can be split into two main aspects: quantity and quality. Landscape and structure mapping are specially designed methods to monitor the quantity and changes in surface of target nature types. Measuring the distance-to-target in terms of quality is achievable by checking for the completeness of the characteristic communities and abiotic conditions and by comparing these with a reference situation. A survey of structure and vegetation and an inventory of typical and indicating species (especially fauna) using a multispecies approach are the necessary tools to fulfil this aim. The strategy of species selection to come to nature type specific multispecies lists is discussed in detail. Most important aspects are the relevance and feasibility of the selected species. After all, the field protocols should not only be time and budget saving, but they should also allow a broad variety of potential observers, ranging from experts to initially less experienced observers, to participate in the monitoring, in the condition that some extra support is delivered. The protocols are elaborated for 13 target nature types; ponds and lakes with neutral water, reed-lands, tall herb Filipendulion communities, wet meadows (Calthion), Cynosurion grasslands, Lolio-Potentillion grasslands, dry Agrostis grasslands, inland dune grasslands, dry and wet heathlands, oak and beech woods. The choice of the target nature types was based on their relevance to nature management and on their presence within the selected nature reserves of the pilot study.
Except of some abiotic aspects which are incorporated in the structure survey, extra monitoring for water quality and groundwater levels is necessary, especially in wet and moist nature types which are dependent on (ground)water. The planning, coordination, data storage and analysis is rather a matter of the coordinators of the WATINA groundwater network. For the completeness we mention in which way the data are relevant for the distance-totarget evaluation. Accordingly, a manual for the installation of piezometres and taking water samples has been included.
The second part of this report relates to the practical manual with details of the field protocols and technical appendices for the planning and execution of the different monitoring modules. A summarised version integrating concept with field protocols can be consulted in De Cock et al. (2008b).
|Publisher||Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek|
|Number of pages||203|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
|Name||Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek|
|Publisher||Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek: Brussel|
- Management monitoring
EWI Biomedical sciences
- management monitoring