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The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

Schlumprecht, H., Laube,

Schlumprecht, H., Laube, J. MONITORING BIODIVERSITY OF THE THURINGIAN GREEN BELT Belt. The following text presents this concept and the results of the first survey rounds in the years 2010 and 2011. 1.2 Concept Outline The monitoring programme covers 30 monitoring areas. This number was chosen to assure validity and representativeness on the one hand, and to meet long-term funding possibilities on the other hand. The final number of 30 areas is the result of a power analysis based on preliminary results in 2010. Power analysis is a statistical method to identify the minimum required sample size to obtain meaningful results. The monitoring consists of a spatially explicit and comprehensive survey of biotopes (land use types and valuable biotopes for nature conservation, according to Article 30 of Federal German Nature Conservation Law and the manual for the Thuringian biotope mapping [2]). All areas of minor conservational value were noted as land use types solely. For all valuable biotopes, a detailed documentation is given (biotope structure, land use, threats, shrub cover, management proposals). A detailed evaluation (with 3 levels: excellent, good or poor conditions) of the parameters habitat structure, plant species composition, and impairments is given, and then summed up for a comprehensive evaluation of each biotope. Additionally, a comprehensive list of characteristic and threatened plants (species lists including an estimate of abundance) is compiled for each valuable biotope. The evaluation scheme was developed with reference to the evaluation scheme for habitat types of the Habitats Directive [3]. Furthermore, three animal groups are investigated. A survey of breeding birds is done according to the German standard method for territorial bird mapping [4] with 5 survey dates. The survey of butterflies and grasshoppers follows the German standard of butterfly monitoring: 500 m long transect of 10 reaches, counting individuals at 4 survey dates (see [5]). Zoological surveys were done in 7 selected monitoring areas. The number of 7 sites again are a compromise between costs for field work, accuracy and limited funding. For each species, the reproduction status is assessed. The evaluation is based only on confirmed and probably reproducing species. The areas of valuable biotopes as well as land use types of minor conservational value were mapped and digitized in a scale of 1:2500 on aerial photographs using GIS (ArcGIS 9.3), detailed information on valuable biotopes were documented in a database. One monitoring area can consist of up to 20 land use types and valuable biotopes. 1.3 Selection of monitoring areas The selection of monitoring areas followed several aims. Every natural geographic unit should be represented with at least one area, and large natural geographic units with at least two areas. Main biotope types should be represented in all the natural geographic units in which they are common. Thirdly, it was aspired to represent different elevations of the Thuringian Green Belt. Therefore, the 30 monitoring areas are scattered along the Thuringian Green Belt (see Figure 1). Within this framework, the monitoring areas should not represent the „best“ or „most valuable“ sections of the Green Belt per natural geographic unit, but were chosen to give reliable information of the actual state habitats and biotopes within the Green Belt. Therefore, strongly degraded open land areas were included as monitoring sites, but areas of the Green Belt completely covered by forests were not surveyed. The monitoring areas (2010 and 2011) 34

Schlumprecht, H., Laube, J. MONITORING BIODIVERSITY OF THE THURINGIAN GREEN BELT are on average 900 m long (from 480 to 1680 m length) and cover the complete width of the former inner-german border strip. The mean area per monitoring site is 8.0 hectares, leading to a total area of 239.6 ha [6]. Figure 1: Overview monitoring areas (status as of September 2011) 2 RESULTS OF THE MONITORING SURVEYS IN 2010 AND 2011 2.1 Vegetation and biotope types 2.1.1 Overview on biotope types The total monitoring area of 239.6 ha is predominantly covered by 122 ha of grassland, about 43 ha of forest and 19 ha of tall herb stands, followed by pioneer stages of young forests (12.5 ha). Large areas are covered by biotope types protected by law (Art. 30 German Federal Nature Conservation Law). Regarding only those biotope types of high conservational value, there is a total of 90.2 ha of protected grassland types: fresh to dry mesophilic grasslands (45.7 ha), calcareous dry grasslands (30.5 ha), and montane meadows (9.4 ha). Dwarf shrubs and broom heaths cover 10.6 ha. In total about 47.7 % of the investigated area are of high conservational value and protected by law, the largest part consisting of protected biotopes of open land. The proportion of valuable biotope types in the different monitoring areas display large variations (extremes from 4.6 % (Monitoring-ID 22) to 97.3 % (Monitoring-ID 18, see Figure 3). 35

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The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps
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