“Monitoring and conservation status assessment of boreal forest habitat types:
Networking of Baltic and Nordic experts, NGOs and authorities”
November 23-24, 2006, hotel “Lepanina”, Kabli, Estonia
Opening and introduction
By Ms. Heidrun Fammler, BEF
Ms Fammler briefly reflected on previous BEF events and projects related to
management of forest habitats. There has been a series of meetings/workshops/
publications within 3 projects since 2001 and the key issue for all those events has
been the meaning of Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) for boreal forest habitat
The main goal of the Phare CBC project “FCS of boreal forests – experience
exchange among Baltic and Nordic experts” (Oct. 2005 – July 2006) was to facilitate
expert discussions and work on defining FCS for boreal forest habitat types and
elaborating indicators for assessing the conservation status. The project also aimed at
facilitating networking of Nordic and Baltic experts, NGOs and authorities as well as
contributing to the European discussion on the forest management strategy and easing
the reporting and monitoring system set up in the Baltic States.
The organisers observed great motivation of experts to discuss and contribute, high
quality recommendations from experts were received and results published in the
publication. However, there has been less involvement from authorities’ side and not
much progress regarding monitoring systems in the Baltic States during this year. The
reasons can be unclearness regarding responsibilities and methodologies, lack of
financing or other resources for monitoring, insufficient guidance and requirements
from EC. The Baltic States have also been quite passive regarding participation in the
development and commenting of EC guidance. It is expected that reporting in 2007
might be not so difficult since best expert opinion is accepted. On the other hand, it
should not be forgotten that the assessments reported in 2007 will be the baseline for
the next reporting.
Ms. Fammler emphasized that the main goal of this seminar was to follow up the
discussion on FCS assessment and indicators, and to discuss together with experts and
authorities how to proceed with further practical steps concerning monitoring,
conservation status assessment and reporting on forest habitats.
Introduction to the Phare project publication “Favourable conservation status of
boreal forests: monitoring, assessment, management”
By Ms. Anda Ruskule, BEF
Ms. Ruskule introduced the purpose of the publication, the process of its
development, the content of the publication as well as the conditions and main
challenges regarding EC reporting. The publication is available at
She informed that the aim of the publication was to contribute to the European
discussion on definition of FCS for Boreal forests, to bring the project results to a
wider round of interested parties, to support national authorities and nature
conservation experts in assessment and achieving of FCS by explaining EC reporting
needs, proposing a set of indicators for assessing the conservation status of Boreal
forests and providing tools for achieving and maintaining FCS, through
communication and management.
The publication has been developed in cooperation of Baltic and Nordic experts,
based on discussions in two expert meetings and the round-up seminar of the Phare
CBC project, as well as based on expert work and communication between those
The publication includes a short overview on Boreal forests in the Baltic and Nordic
countries; introduction to reporting needs on implementation of the Habitat Directive
and readiness of Baltic and Nordic countries for reporting in 2007; explanations and
recommendations regarding conservation status assessment of boreal forest habitats
including description of the proposed set of indicators; description of management
measures for achieving/maintaining FCS of boreal forest habitats and
recommendations for stakeholders information and involvement.
In the annexes there is information about availability and potential sources of data for
the proposed indicators in the Baltic States; draft proposals for typical species (9020,
9080) and FCS values (9080 in Lithuania) as well as an overview table about
management activities in forest habitats.
The reports to EC have to be submitted by 20 June 2007 and they shall include
evaluation of conservation status of species and habitats for the whole country. This
time best expert judgement is accepted but next reporting in 2014 will have to base on
monitoring results from 2007-2013. EC reporting format defines the basic parameters
to be assessed – area, range, structure & functions and future prospects.
Based on discussions so far it can be concluded that the most difficult task will be the
assessment of specific structures and functions of habitats since there is no clear
guidance on this issue. The other problem is ensuring comparability of results when
different methodologies are applied for assessments in 2007 and 2014.
The developed set of indicators follows EU reporting requirements and the
parameters set in the EC reporting format. In order to assess, if the habitat type is in
FCS, the threshold values of the each parameter shall be defined based on ecological
knowledge, existing guidelines or agreement of experts.
Ms. Ruskule also gave a brief overview on management measures for
achieving/maintaining FCS of Boreal forests and recommendations for stakeholders’
involvement described in the publication.
She highlighted that this publication should help to realise the complexity of the issue
as well as to show some solutions and data needs. The publication might help to focus
the national monitoring programmes and methodologies for assessment of the habitat
conservation status as well as initiate further thinking about threshold values of the
FCS of forest habitats.
The participants concluded that habitat monitoring in the Baltic States is not yet
focused on conservation status but reorganisation of monitoring programmes has
started in all three countries. Gathering biodiversity data has been included in
Statistical Forest Inventory in Estonia and it is planned to do the same in Lithuania
Choosing methodology and indicators for assessment of structure and function is
up to each country. While developing indicators in frame of the Phare CBC project,
their practical applicability and data availability was also considered but still there is
need to select, which indicators are relevant for which habitat types and what is
practically feasible to measure.
Proposal of values of FCS for forest habitat (9080)
By Mr. Raimondas Čiuplys, Institute of Botany, Lithuania
Mr. Čiuplys presented the draft threshold values proposed for Fennoscandian
deciduous swamp woods (9080) in Lithuania based on indicators developed in the
Phare CBC project. This habitat type was selected because it is present in all Baltic
States, it is quite clearly defined and there are comparably good data available from
forestry databases for this type.
The main challenges for defining FCS values include lack of knowledge on habitat
types and their ecology (including habitat distribution, quality and favourable
reference values). For assessing habitat quality there are no good data, however some
data from Woodland Key Habitat inventory and/or monitoring programmes of rare
habitats and species can be used. Difficulties appear also with interpretation of
available data because they are scattered in different published sources, remote
sensing data have to be interpreted to local conditions and there is lot of non-coherent
data (different figures in different sources).
Concerning distribution and range the data are quite good. For 9080 in Lithuania the
range (as well as Favourable Reference Range) is the whole country without big gaps.
The surface area is more challenging; two sources (calculation from forestry database
and expert opinion) give different results. However, expert opinion should be more
precise because forestry database does not take into account younger stages and
habitats dominated by birch.
Indicators for structure & function include:
Mean habitat size – based on data from several mapped N2K territories, favourable
habitat size would be more than 10 ha to include all typical elements of this habitat.
Age class distribution – based on data from forestry statistics; as a threshold value
for FCS it was suggested that 25% of 9080 black alder stands (and 15% of birch type)
should be older than 80 years.
Standing dead trees – the minimum amount to sustain viable woodpecker population
would be more than 5 % of all standing trees and snags (or appr. 15 m³/ha).
Total amount of CWD (Coarse woody debris) - absolute minimum for broad leaved
forest habitat types is 20 m3/ha but for FCS at least 40 m3/ha would be needed.
Lying dead wood in different decaying stages - Conclusions were made based on
natural situation. For FCS at least 10 m³/ha (20 %) dead wood in early decay stages,
25 m³/ha (50 %) in middle and 15 m³/ha (30 %) in end stages would be needed.
Typical species are country specific. Baltic experts proposed 27 typical species for
this habitat type, including vascular plants, mosses and lichens. It was proposed that
for FCS at least ¼ of the proposed typical species should be present.
Trends – The types of usage of this habitat type were assessed, which would not
endanger its conservation status. It was concluded that the area of clear cutting
should be less than 0.5 % of total habitat area per 6 year reference period; the area of
selective cutting should be less than 1 % of total habitat area per 6 year reference
period and the area of final cutting should be less than 3 % of total habitat area per 6
year reference period. The rotation period should be 120 years for black alder and 90
years for birch type. 10-20% of the total habitat are should be strictly protected and
30-40% should be included in Natura 2000 sites. Currently this habitat type is not
sufficiently represented in Natura 2000 network in Central and Northern Lithuania,
intensive restoration work would be needed to achieve the proposed targets.
Mr. Čiuplys concluded that many thresholds of FCS are difficult to establish because
of data deficiency or interpretation problems; gap analysis is required in many cases;
investigations of WKH sites can provide good data for establishing FCS values; best
expert judgement remains the main solution for designing the FCS of forest habitats
and monitoring is required for revealing trends.
For the “mean habitat size” the main indicator could be the “change of mean
habitat size”, which can be detected by monitoring or analysis of historical data. Since
there are no historical data about mean habitat size then it is possible to find out the
change only after first cycle of monitoring.
The FCS values proposed by Lithuanian experts are quite strict but they are
reference values to assess the conservation status of the habitat type in the country,
which are established based on scientific/ecological criteria. Another thing is setting
conservation objectives that might take into account also other interests and practical
It would be important to test these values also in the fieldworks.
Monitoring of conservation status of forest habitats in Sweden
By Mr. Erik Hellberg, Swedish Environment Protection Agency
Mr. Hellberg informed that monitoring of conservation status of forest habitats is
based on the report of Abenius et al (2005) “Natura 2000 Monitoring in Sweden”
(available at www.naturvardsverket.se).
It is an objectives-based monitoring system founded primarily on biological
parameters. The objectives are formulated according to the Habitats Directive’s
definitions of FCS and primarily taking into account the factors that can be influenced
by management. Conservation objectives at the level of bio-geographical region form
the basis for site level objectives.
Three strategies for monitoring are used on bio-geographical level: monitoring on
all sites, within a random selection of sites or using random sampling both within and
outside of Natura 2000 sites. If some negative indication appears in sample of sites
then all sites will be monitored.
As example, Mr. Hellberg presented the objectives and relevant monitoring strategies
set for Western taiga on bio-geographical and site level. For example, for assessing
structure and function on site level the burned area (prescribed burning or natural
fires), the ratio of dead to living wood and the proportion of deciduous trees and non-
native tree species will be monitored. The typical species will be monitored on
selection of sites (if negative indication then on all sites) and the assessment is based
on presence/absence on a number of sites (e.g. at least three typical species should
occur in at least 25% of sample plots). Separate objectives are set for pine forest
subtype of Western taiga since this subtype is decreasing as result of less forest fires.
The monitoring data from sites will be accumulated to see if the set objectives have
been reached. The frequency of monitoring as well as threshold values are not yet
decided. It will be done based on WKH and baseline survey results. The frequency
will be based on 6 years period (e.g. monitoring cycle 18 or 24 years).
The principle for choosing monitoring strategy is that actively managed habitats and
parameters that can be influenced within sites will be assessed on site-by-site basis
while for unmanaged (stable) habitat types monitoring of most parameters will be
performed in permanent plots within random sample of sites.
Monitoring methods on bio-geographical level include remote sensing (mostly IRF),
National Forest Inventory (NFI), National Inventory of the Landscape in Sweden
(NILS, mostly used for monitoring typical species for forest habitats), Breeding Bird
Survey, reporting systems (e.g. national database for forest fires and prescribed
burning), field surveys. On site level remote sensing and field measurements and
inspections are used.
Current situation in Sweden:
The baseline inventory (2005-2008) is still going on, the conservation objectives are
formulated for all sites but not quantified yet; amendments to NFI and NILS are under
discussion and the manual for site-level monitoring of forest habitats is under
development and will be field-tested in 2007.
It was concluded that for assessing the overall situation in the country it is
important to set also national objectives for each habitat type, not only site
The Swedish system seems to be too complicate (too many parameters) and
resource consuming (especially concerning human resources) to implement in
the Baltic countries. However, everything depends on methods used. Also
Swedish criteria will be still tested and adapted to reality.
Planning of monitoring of conservation status of habitats in Finland
Prepared by Ms. Anne Raunio, Finnish Environment Institute, presented by Ms. Merle
In Finland the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) is developing system for
monitoring conservation status of Annex I habitats of the Habitats Directive,
including 11 forest habitats occurring in Finland. Thereby national needs for
monitoring of rare and endangered species are taken into account as well as the
principle that sample of monitoring sites has to include sites both in and outside
Natura 2000 network. Intensity of monitoring depends on priority assessment.
For setting priorities for monitoring, the biological as well as administrative criteria
are used. Biological criteria include international responsibility (habitats or their
subtypes for which Finland has special responsibility), important habitats for
threatened species, habitats in non-favourable conservation status or threatened
habitats in Finland.
Administrative criteria include priority habitats of Annex I, important habitats for
species listed in Habitats or Birds Directive, habitat types listed also in national
Based on those criteria all habitats are classified into four priority classes. Most of
forest habitat types have high priority for monitoring (belong to priority class A or B).
After setting monitoring priorities, the existing monitoring was analysed (0-no
existing monitoring, 1- some monitoring/extensive inventories, 2- countrywide
monitoring) and practical possibilities for monitoring were assessed (0-poor, 1-
moderate, 2-good). Based on this assessment proposals for monitoring were
developed. Depending on habitat type either habitat-specific monitoring programme
will be started, the existing monitoring schemes will be used or repeated inventories
and reviews of threats will be performed (for habitats of low monitoring priority) to
get data about conservation status. For most of forest habitats (9010, 9020, 9030,
9050, 9060, 9070, 9080, 91D0, 91E0) it is proposed to start special monitoring
programme and for 9010 and 91D0 also existing monitoring can be used. For 9180
and 9190 the data should come from repeated inventories.
SYKE will submit the report “Principles of monitoring habitats and species of
Community interest in Finland” in beginning of 2007. After that the Ministry of the
Environment will start negotiations about responsibilities and implementation of
For conservation status assessment of habitats for EC reporting in 2007 Finland will
use inventory data from state-owned Natura 2000 sites (carried out by Metsähallitus
in 2002-2006), general habitat data collected by SYKE and the data from an ongoing
SYKE’s project “The Assessment of Threatened Habitat Types in Finland” (results in
Updating forest inventories in Estonia
By Mr. Jaan Liira, University of Tartu, Estonia
Mr. Liira explained that the reason behind the idea to add biodiversity indicators to
forest inventories was to get maximum information with minimum costs. Since
National Forest Inventory (in Estonia it is called Statistical Forest Inventory) covers
the whole Estonian forest land by random sampling, it is good opportunity to get
general data about more common forest types all over the country. Fore rare habitat
types still specific studies are needed.
The analysis and selection of forest biodiversity indicators was done with help of
different experts and taking into account different requirements, project reports and
scientific papers, existing monitoring etc. There is still need for scientific research to
define the functional (ecologically justified) threshold values for indicators.
Ca 20 indicators were added to the Statistical Forest Inventory or improved in
2005. For example area of forests and protected forests by Natura 2000 habitat types
and area of “nature forest” communities on national level; area of forest stands older
than 100 years by Natura 2000 habitat types, dominating land-use type around the
stand, presence and vicinity of specific habitats on landscape level; and presence of
the second tree layer and the prevailing tree species, number of tree generations inside
a stand, spatial variability of the stand structure; forest regeneration; different features
of dead wood (amount, type, decay classes, diameter distribution), cavities in standing
trees, biologically old trees, proportion of graminoids, presence of selected indicator
species on stand level. Also some functional indicators were added (number of fresh
and old stumps, area of monoculture forest stands, social pressure (garbage etc.), area
of different natural abiotic and biotic disturbances).
The principle was that registration of additional indicators should not require much
additional work (e.g. registration on presence/absence level).
The preliminary results from NFI show that 74% of forest patches are surrounded
with forests and the connectivity is 91%! Since the whole sampling scheme is five
years, more precise results can be expected after three years but it is clear already now
that for common forest types like 9010, 9020 it is the best way for getting
Mr. Liira also introduced a study aiming at identifying nature value indicators by
forest type using paired sampling (pairs of areas with very low management and more
intensive management). This study covered only old forests.The results show that
stand age and forest type can be more important factors for biodiversity than
management. It was also concluded that indicators are forest type specific. For boreal
forest the following nature value indicators can be used: basal area, canopy closure,
number of tree age classes, deadwood, presence of woodpeckers, DCA1 of the herb-
In Estonia it is estimated that the minimum area of strictly protected forests, which
could maintain species of “management-incompatible forests” (i.e. not surviving in
timber production areas) should be ca 10% of the forested area (Lõhmus, A., Kohv,
K., Palo, A. and Viilma, K. 2004. Loss of old-growth, and the minimum need for
strictly protected forests in Estonia. – Ecol. Bull. 51: 401-411).
The article is attached to the seminar report.
Forest types should be protected proportionally. Currently most of protected
forests in the Baltic States are unproductive mire forests, so there is a need to include
more productive forests.
Some experts expressed opinion that presence/absence registration might be not
sufficient for conservation status assessment. However, if the number of sample plots
is high then the methodology has to be simple.
Plenary discussion on reporting in 2007:
Sweden plans to report only information that they are sure about, to avoid errors.
The preliminary areas/range of habitats are known, also some data about structure
are available. It is planned to use also NFI data (gives good picture about 9010 but
not rare forest types). Conservation status assessments will be done by SEPA in
co-operation with expert working groups of scientists (separate working groups
for different types of habitats and species).
In Estonia the Nature Conservation Department of the Ministry of the
Environment is responsible for filling reporting forms but different subordinated
institutions will be also involved. It is planned to contract experts for making
conservation status assessments and organise them a tutorial/info day in very
beginning of the next year. It is also planned to continue discussion on
conservation status assessment with Finns (a joint seminar is planned in January
2007). Currently the correction of mistakes in the database is going on.
The area data for habitat types 9010, 9020, 9050, 9080. 91D0, 91E0 and 91F0
should come from national Forest Register; for 9060 it will be calculated using
forest data and distribution data of eskers; for 2180 the data will be asked from
experts of dune communities and for 9070 from Estonian Semi-natural
Community Conservation Association. The data about conservation status of
habitats should come from Statistical Forest Inventory for more common habitats
and from State Biodiversity Monitoring programme for more rare forest habitats.
In Latvia Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Agency is responsible
for filling reporting forms. Currently they are preparing a tender to hire a
consultant to fill the reporting forms. The consultant should work in close
cooperation with LEGMA and will be paid from Environmental Fund.
In Lithuania the Ministry of Environment is responsible for reporting but so far
there has been not much discussion on how to manage it. It is planned to hire the
experts for making the judgements. Probably a working group will be established
who will gather the necessary data and make the conservation status assessments.
The basis for evaluation in 2007 and the next reporting should have the same logic
and the same methodology to ensure comparable results. Therefore, the criteria to
be used for evaluation should be agreed.
For 2007 reporting the best expert judgement can be used as the Member States do
not have monitoring data for all habitats and species, but the Member States
should indicate the data quality accordingly and report only the reliable
Discussion on organising monitoring for the next reporting period:
In Estonia the responsibilities concerning biodiversity monitoring are still
unclear. Concerning monitoring of forest habitats, it is planned to continue with
simplified methodology and tripled number of monitoring plots (including areas in
and outside protected areas in proportion 4:1) that was used in 2005-2006. For
more common forest habitats (e.g. 9010, 9080, 91D0) it is planned to use data
from NFI (Statistical Forest Inventory).
In Latvia the new biodiversity monitoring programme was developed recently. It
includes monitoring on three levels:
o Monitoring of Natura 2000 sites – a standard survey plan will be
developed for each site, should give data about rare values.
o Background monitoring – covers mainly dispersed values (species and
habitats outside of protected areas). Random selection of plots is
required to get representative data for the whole country.
o In-depth monitoring – monitoring of ecological processes, dispersed
values, umbrella-role species/habitats, species on the top of ecological
pyramids, habitats with high anthropogenic pressure. All Latvian
territory must be represented but deviations from random selection are
allowed due to practical considerations.
In Lithuania the biodiversity monitoring programme has been approved until
2010. The methodology for all species has been developed but not yet for habitats.
Habitat monitoring is planned to be launched from 2008.
Assessment, monitoring and reporting of conservation status of European
habitats and species – recommendations of the European Habitats Forum, EC
guidance and IT tool
Overview by Ms. Merle Kuris, BEF
Ms. Kuris introduced the European Habitat Forum report “Towards European
Biodiversity Monitoring. Assessment and reporting” (available at
This report was produced to test the EU reporting format and the guidance
documents; to collect some best practice examples and to disseminate preliminary
results concerning the conservation status of European protected habitats and species.
Experts from different countries filled the reporting format for 8 Annex I habitats
(including 1 forest habitat 9330) and 14 Annex II species of the Habitats Directive
and also for 5 bird species of the Birds Directive. The results showed that more than
60% of habitats and species were assessed as being in “bad” conservation status; 22%
“unknown” and only 6% “favourable”.
The report also provides a lot of recommendations on monitoring and assessment of
FCS based on experiences of experts who filled the reporting formats. The factors to
be considered by setting Favourable Reference Values are listed as well as detailed
steps for evaluation of the conservation status. EHF also recommends organising
similar bio-geographical seminars as there were for site selection also for the
monitoring and conservation status assessment (starting from 2008).
The final draft of Explanatory Notes and Guidelines on Assessment, monitoring and
reporting under Art. 17 of the Habitats Directive was approved by the Habitats
Committee in October 2006. The document is available at
It is planned to be a developing document where amendments and new examples can
be added when available.
IT-tool for reporting
European Environment Agency in cooperation with European Topic Centre on
Biological Diversity and European Commission DG Environment is developing the
tool for electronic reporting to make easier the synthesis of national reports into one
European report. Detailed presentation about the tool is available at
Seven Member States are involved actively in development of the IT-tool and also
others are welcome to join. The tool should be ready by the end of 2006. Information
can be uploaded in xml format from national systems or compiled online or both
options can be used for different parts of the report, including GIS data.
Authorized person(s) can complete and submit national report on web. Draft report
can be edited online until final submission. Electronic report can be filled in national
language but the IT-tool itself and instructions are in English.
Reports from national working groups
The participants of the working group identified available information sources for
parameters in the reporting format.
For estimation of area and range the data from the Inventory of Annex I habitats
from 2004, species management plans, State Forest Service and updated Natura 2000
database can be used.
For structure & functions there will be no quantitative evaluation in 2007 but
Woodland Key Habitats database, the project Bio-Soil (first analyses will be available
in December 2006), State Register of Forests and data from forest resource
monitoring can be used.
The participants concluded that the publication and indicators developed in frame of
the BEF Phare CBC project should be used as recommendation for contracted experts
to define the parameters for conservation status assessment. Agreement on
parameters, compilation of information and filling of database by contracted expert
should take place in close cooperation with LEGMA. Also a supervision board (SB)
would be needed to control the process.
Tender for contracting the consultant will be closed on 08.12.06. The next steps
1. Establishment of supervisory board (can consist only of authorities or
authorities and experts);
2. Study of reporting format, analyses of available information;
3. Seminar with experts on methodology, strategy, gap analysis
4. Work of experts on filling the forms, monitored by the SB:
a. 1st SB meeting in beginning of April 2007 on raw material;
b. 2nd SB meeting in beginning of May 2007;
5. Final deadline for report 31.05.07.
The participants identified the following potential problems regarding reporting:
lack of time (LEGMA should start preparing contract right now) and human
resources; contracting procedure and risk with the winner of the tender; quality of
available data and distribution of roles and responsibilities (Who is the main
responsible institution for the process - LEGMA or Ministry of the Environment?)
The solution to insure quality of the report could be very competent supervisory board
including representatives of Latvian Fund for Nature, Latvian University Forest
Supervisory board should be for control not for advising. Latvia should take
Swedish approach as example – working groups on different parts of the
report are established and SEPA is the responsible/supervising organisation.
Contract holder should be involved in task implementation. In the contract
roles and responsibilities should be set.
The participants concluded that certain monotypical data are available in existing
databases (e.g. forestry database), however there is a need to seek for experts
agreement regarding evaluation criteria and filtering and for certain parameters
additional information gathering is needed. The process to gather information about
most complicated habitat types would include screening forestry data, linking them to
geographical parameters and covering filtered areas with fieldwork.
Quite good data are available for the following habitat types: 91D0, 9080, 9060,
91T0, 9180 and 9190 (very specific location) but data situation is not very good
regarding 9010, 9020, 9050 and 91F0.
FCS parameters and values
FCS values for indicators will not be defined for 2007 report, mostly due to lack of
time. However, for the next reporting period such values should be defined. The
results of the coming national habitat inventory will be used for the next report.
The following steps would be needed for 2007 reporting:
Establish a working group regarding the 2007 report (consisting of
representatives of the Ministry of Environment, State Protected Areas Service,
Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry institute, Institute of Botany,
Forestry service, NGOs);
Set criteria for analysis and treatment of available data;
Inventory of databases, filtering, gathering of missing data;
Experts should provide factual data, which will be assessed and evaluated by
the working group;
Reporting format will be filled by Ministry of Environment (the EPA role is
not really clear);
Information to the public about the report results.
The main problem identified was lack of human recourses in state authorities for
managing the 2007 report.
It was recommended that working group should provide expertise and
responsible authority control the process. These roles should not be mixed.
The opinion of Lithuanian participants was that NGOs should be involved for
controlling that scientific approach is followed in evaluation of the
conservation status (not economic criteria).
Comment from Sweden: state documents are anyway open for public, so there
is no need to make special efforts to ensure transparency.
The following information sources were identified that can be used for reporting
about forest habitats: Natura 2000 database, map layers of habitat types; Forest
register; Statistical Forest Inventory; soil maps; Environmental register.
Necessary steps for 2007 reporting:
1. MoE should formulate tasks and establish expert group – latest by the end
2. Analysis of existing database, correction of rough errors – by February 2007;
3. Send corrected database to institutions related to management of Natura 2000
sites – by March 2007;
4. Expert group makes assessments – March- May 2007;
5. Compilation of the report – June 2007.
The following problems were identified by the participants of the working group:
errors in the Natura 2000 database; no coordination of monitoring and responsibilities
have been set; the experts have no clear view about plans of the Ministry of the
Environment because of inadequate communication and cooperation between
Ministry and experts.
By analysing information from different sources considerable corrections could be
done in the Natura 2000 database.
It was also concluded that in future all data should be gathered into Environmental
Register. A working group should be formed also for planning further monitoring,
coordination of monitoring and setting of principles and strategy.
Discussion on FCS is not finished: each country has to define most appropriate
parameters to measure for each habitat type and set the threshold values for FCS;
Sweden has decided on parameters to be measured but not yet on values;
Reporting 2007: Baltic and Nordic countries are facing similar task and challenge
in the same time. Sweden seems to be a bit further regarding planning of
implementation of this task, they seem to have good organizational structure and
more human resources in the authorities to manage the task.
Sweden plans to report only sound data and ensure that all reported information
can be tracked back – good procedure also advised for the Baltic States;
There is no need to be afraid of showing unfavourable conservation status because
habitats and species of Community importance were include in the Annexes of the
Directives because they were rare in Europe and probably the report on EU level
will show unfavourable conservation status for many habitats/species with
The reporting should show also administrative tasks for future (regarding
protection and management of habitats) and lead to future direction and allocation
It turned out that the Baltic States do not have yet a clear vision on implementing
the 2007 reporting: Latvia has started the contracting procedure for a consultant to
fill the reporting forms; Lithuania promised to start planning/implementation on
authority level right after the seminar; Estonia has discussed it on authority level
and started correction of mistakes in the Natura 2000 database but experts have
not been involved yet and there is no clear vision on how the assessments will be
It was concluded that there is no extraordinary problem with data availability and
potential for expertise for reporting in 2007. However, there seem to be a major
problem with management and coordination of the process in the Baltic States.
Ideas for future joint activities on Baltic-Nordic-Baltic Sea level
At the moment it was the last planned event on forest issues but lots of ideas for
future joint activities on Baltic-Nordic level were proposed by the participants,
including cooperation and experience exchange on monitoring and assessment
methods; exchange of monitoring data and homogenization of databases; publishing a
joint illustrated manual of Natura 2000 habitats in the Baltic and Nordic countries;
further cooperation on developing FCS values; expert discussion about species that
are on the border of their distribution area in the Baltic States; best practice examples
and experience exchange on management/protection of forest habitats; long term
assessment of forest habitat management results; discussion about the balance of
ecological, economical and social functions of forests.
It was pointed out that BEF is one of the few possibilities to keep contacts with
different experts from neighbouring countries (outside one’s institutional contacts),
thus such seminars should be continued (preferably including all countries of the
Report by Merle Kuris, BEF-Estonia