Back to biodiversity monitoring

In early January 2023, Biodiversa+ launched 3 biodiversity monitoring pilots:

  • Monitoring of invasive alien species with image-based methods, for a two years long duration
  • Monitoring of soil biodiversity in protected, near-natural forests, for a two years long duration
  • Towards national biodiversity monitoring coordination centres: comparison of governance, data interoperability and standards, for a one-year long duration

Building on this successful first wave of pilots, a second wave of two-years long pilots was launched in January 2024:

  • ABMS: Automated monitoring of birds, bats and nocturnal insects through sound and image recognition
  • EuRockFish: Toward a European Rocky reef Fish Monitoring Network
  • Habitat: Mapping and monitoring of grassland and wetland habitats through remote sensing methods to better identify quality in these habitats

21 Biodiversa+ partners from 20 countries are involved in these pilots.

Monitoring invasive alien species

This pilot is developing new methods to monitor species, focusing on plants and insects. It focuses on invasive alien species, but additional emphasis is put on the wider group of non-native species whose impacts are not fully understood, enabling proactive detection of invasive alien species.

It uses image recognition techniques based on computer vision and deep learning to quickly and cost-effectively identify species of concern.

The pilot is a cooperation with Pl@ntNet and EASIN.

IAS Pilot Midterm Report

Soil biodiversity in protected, near-natural forests

Biodiversa+ aims to expand soil biodiversity monitoring protocols developed by LUCAS Soil in Europe and SoilBON, and to fill their gaps by collecting soil data in protected, near natural forests.

The pilot combines traditional morphological and DNA-based methods into a unified framework and develops standardised procedures for soil biodiversity assessment and reporting, in Europe and beyond.

Soil Biodiversity Pilot Midterm Report

Governance, data interoperability, and standards

Biodiversa+ aimed to support the creation of a European Biodiversity Monitoring Coordination Centre, with an emphasis on the centre’s connection to its (sub-)national counterparts.

To achieve this, the pilot examined and evaluated the current state of biodiversity monitoring governance, data management and interoperability, and data standards across participating countries and regions.

Strong links with EuropaBON, our key collaborator, as well as with GBIF were ensured.

Governance Pilot Conclusions

Automated Biodiversity Monitoring Stations (ABMS)

Biodiversa+ aims to deliver automated ways to monitor biodiversity on a transnational scale.

This pilot focuses on:

  • setting up a coordinated acoustic and image-based monitoring scheme across different European regions;
  • improving image recognition for nocturnal insects and sound recognition for nocturnal birds and bats;
  • assessing the advantages and challenges of using sensor-based tools to monitor common species in real-time;
  • demonstrating how sensor-based monitoring can be used more widely in the future.

Monitoring rocky reef fish around Europe (EuRockFish)

Biodiversa+ aims to standardise and extend the monitoring of rocky reef fishes in European and contiguous seas.

This pilot will study the complementarity of three sampling methods (visual underwater census, baited remote underwater video, and metabarcoding on eDNA) to monitor the multiple facets of rocky reef fish biodiversity along environmental and anthropogenic gradients. Data collected in the field by six Biodiversa+ partners will be used to fill current knowledge gaps, calculate Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), and design and initiate a long-term observation and monitoring network.

This network will allow the assessment of changes in fish biodiversity over space and time, and better inform marine policy and stakeholders from local (e.g. Marine Protected Areas) to European (e.g. Marine Strategy Framework Directive) and international (e.g. OSPAR, HELCOM) scales.

Mapping and monitoring of grassland and wetland habitats (Habitat)

Biodiversa+ aims to assess current methods for mapping and monitoring grassland and wetland habitats across Europe. This pilot’s main objectives are to evaluate the effectiveness of these methods under different environmental conditions and to develop approaches to establish a harmonised habitat monitoring system that can be universally applied within and across different scales.

Specifically, the pilot focuses on exploring various remote sensing tools, while also using in-situ data from designated grassland and wetland study sites as validation and (possibly) training references.

This pilot involves 11 active Biodiversa+ partners and will draw on the knowledge, expertise and identified synergies from previous and ongoing projects such as EU Grassland Watch, MAMBO, EuropaBON and EEA/Eionet survey on habitat mapping and Earth Observation methods.

Pilot news