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Collecting in situ data for assessing changes in habitat quality over time

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Original languageDutch
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2-Mar-2016
Event15th meeting of the German Working Group on Vegetation databases: Vegetation Databases and Resurveys - Potsdam, Germany
Duration: 2-Mar-20164-Mar-2016
http://www.uni-potsdam.de/vegetationdatabases2016/index.html

Conference

Conference15th meeting of the German Working Group on Vegetation databases
CountryGermany
CityPotsdam
Period2/03/164/03/16
Internet address

Abstract

Collecting in situ data for assessing changes in habitat quality over time
Maud Raman, Patrik Oosterlynck, Toon Westra & Gerald Louette
In Northern Belgium (Flanders) in situ data is collected in several monitoring programs in order to assess the habitat quality over time. An overview of the most important projects (goals, output, relevance for policy) will be presented.
More details will be given about the monitoring scheme for Natura2000 habitat quality. Using permanent vegetation plots, indicators are measured or estimated to assess the conservation status of habitat types. According the habitat type nested plots with different dimensions are applied for assessing species composition, cover or vegetation structure. We ‘ll discuss the choice of plot dimensions in relation to the precision of indicator-values, different driving mechanisms and the scale at which vegetation quality components occur.
The habitat map of Northern Belgium is used as the sample frame and a spatially balanced random sampling is applied (the Generalized Random-Tessellation Stratified method). We will explain how the sample size was determined and why Special Areas of Conservation are monitored in more detail. Total monitoring effort comprises around 5000 sampling stations for 49 habitat(sub)types that will be revisited with a 12-year frequency.
We want to achieve maximum synergy with other monitoring program’s by harmonizing measuring techniques, by making use of existing sampling units as much as possible and, if needed, add extra sampling units to reach the desired precision level.
By linking vegetation plots with (plot-level) environmental data not only trends of vegetation characteristics and environmental factors can be observed. Also vegetation change at future combinations of environmental factors can be predicted (scenario analyses) or the data can be used for testing ecological models.
We will finish our presentation by proposing a framework for vegetation research -using in situ data- at different spatial and temporal scales aiming to create (re)surveys on a European scale.
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