Integrated environmental monitoring Pilot project in the German Biosphere Reserve Rhön -A contribution to monitoring and development of indicators for biological diversity- Gabriele Twistel (Federal Environmental Agency), Konstanze Schönthaler (Bosch & Partner, Munich), Benno Hain (Federal Environmental Agency), 2002 Targets of integrated environmental monitoring With the aid of integrated environmental monitoring changes of processes and functions in the ecosystem are to be early diagnosed (early warning function). This is connected with the possibility of taking counteracting measures before grave environmental problems will become obvious. In Essential results of the pilot project: addition, the efficiency of existing environmental 1. The „core data set“ as set of parameters for which data monitoring programmes and measurement are to be collected or to be provided by the existing networks is to be increased by a stronger measurement and monitoring programmes for coordination of the current monitoring activities and integrating interpretations an integrating data interpretation. 2. Proposals for a harmonised collection of environmental data 3. The interpretation concept 4. The exemplary environmental report Pilot project By commission of the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) and the Bavarian State Ministry for Regional Development and Environmental Affairs a research project was carried through between 1997 Cause-effect hypotheses Cause-effect hypotheses were developed as part of the interpretation concept. They define the and 2001 which served the composition and problems to be dealt with by integrated environmental monitoring, forming at the same time the basic exemplary implementation of a concept for an structure for reporting. The cause-effect hypotheses are classified into 10 complexes by which integrated environmental monitoring. It was tested essential environmental problems are to be described (e.g. changes in biodiversity). Each cause- in the Biosphere Reserve Rhön. effect hypothesis is subdivided into partial hypotheses. The structure is oriented to indicator concepts discussed on international scale. Example: Changes in biodiversity and its consequences Methodical approach A methodology for deriving a monitoring programme Causes Primary effects Secondary effects based on a 3-piece approach was developed and Agriculture: Agro- ecosystems: Consequences for tested: • Decline in agriculturally used • Total loss of floristic and nature balance: 1. Problem-based approach: Environmental areas, decline in areas so far faunistic diversity of agro- • Variations in stability problems recognised as being relevant are cultivated extensively ecosystems, however with a and efficiency of compiled, the respective cause-effect correlations Recreational use: regionally different development ecosystems and are described, and trends of their future • Intensified use of nature and land- • Loss of genetic diversity of stock nature balance development are formulated in the form of scape for tourism, leisure time and of domestic animals and • Variations in material recreation cultivated plants and energy cycles hypotheses. Further causes: • Variations in primary 2. System-theoretical approach: Based on the Forestry, use of groundwater, Recreation areas: productivity results of ecosystem research/ecosystem theory, extraction of stones and earths, • Growing danger to and loss of hypotheses relating to basic functional processes changes of temperature and radiation species sensitive to disturban- which proceed in ecosystems (independent on regimes, introduction of alien species ces owing to intensified the ecosystem type and scale level) are ... recreational use also of formulated. On the basis of these hypotheses, protected areas important key values for the efficiency of the ... ecosystem are described. Changes of these key values provide information on changes of basic ecosystem processes. 3. Data-based approach: A feedback with the measurement and monitoring programmes Parameters are assigned to partial hypotheses already existing ensures the practicability of the Example: Recreation areas, primary effects developed programme. Animals: Parameters: The increasing use of nature and landscape for Species sensitive to breeding success of leisure time and recreation will result in an disturbances (such as large birds and increase of various impacts on areas so far raptors large birds, raptors, and birds of open areas untouched or less intensively used (e.g., areas meadow birds and wading wading and water subject to water pollution control and nature and water birds), species birds protection). On the one hand, animal species, of raw soil locations carabids which are especially sensitive to disturbances, will be affected as well as species sensitive to Plants and vegetation: trampling and eutrophication. Their population Species and populations occurrence and sizes will decrease. On the other hand, activities sensitive to trampling and abundance of of leisure time and recreation, which are depending on oligotrophy species (vegetation compatible to nature, will, on the long term, (e.g. neglected grassland, mapping, transect contribute to reducing disturbing effects on mapping, species waysides, dwarf shrub list). protected areas. heath, increase in species which are insensitive to trampling) Further information relating to the project “Exemplary implementation of the conception for integrated environmental monitoring in the cross-boundary Biosphere Reserve Rhön” (R+D project 296 91 076/01) is available at the Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environmental Agency), Postfach 33 00 22, 14191 Berlin, Germany, at www.umweltbundesamt.de, keyword “ökosystemare Umweltbeobachtung” (integrated environmental monitoring), or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
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