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The Monitoring of Ecosystems in the project Protected Areas: the Joint Biodiversity Monitoring Protocol and its simplified versions for local stakeholders

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The Monitoring of Ecosystems in the project Protected Areas: the Joint Biodiversity Monitoring Protocol and its simplified versions for local stakeholders

December 1st, 2018|Activities|

The monitoring of species and habitats is an indispensable tool for obtaining valid status indicators that are essential for assessing consistency, distribution and conservation status. The monitoring also gives the possibility to verify the results of the management decisions that are made in the areas of investigation: therefore,  considering the expected results of the IMPRECO project in terms of management of ecosystems (ES) and the services rendered by them (ESS), a transnational monitoring protocol was defined based on a common methodological approach. Indeed, the project offered the possibility not only to define a Joint Monitoring Protocol for species, habitats, ES functions and ESS but also to test it in the partner pilot protected areas in order to adopt a common tool for collecting general and specific data in a standardized and homogeneous way.

The monitoring of species and habitats is an indispensable tool for obtaining valid status indicators that are essential for assessing consistency, distribution and conservation status. The monitoring also gives the possibility to verify the results of the management decisions that are made in the areas of investigation: therefore, considering the expected results of the IMPRECO project in terms of management of ecosystems (ES) and the services rendered by them (ESS), a transnational monitoring protocol has been defined based on a common methodological approach. Indeed, the project has offered the possibility not only to define a Joint Monitoring Protocol for species, habitats, ES functions and ESS but also to test it in the partner pilot protected areas in order to adopt a common tool for collecting general and specific data in a standardized and homogeneous way.

As for the assessment of the ecosystems quality level, the Joint Monitoring Protocol has been based on a common approach for finding out some target species, habitats or biocenosis representative of each Protected Area. As a first step, the Biodiversity Monitoring Protocol developed in the Adriawet2000 project has been capitalized to take advantage of the previous Cross Border Cooperation experience.  Such protocol defines some common criteria for choosing target species;  those criteria have been adopted by each IMPRECO Project Partner to find a list of target species/habitats or bioceonsis  linked with the project objectives and useful as indicators of ecosystems and escosystem services quality. Some of these species have been chosen by more partners (for example the mollusk Pinna nobilis, picked from three partners who have key marine ecosystems in their pilot areas); in other cases, partners have chosen some peculiar species, present only in their protected area (such as the amphibia Pelobates fuscus, the mammal Lutra lutra, the habitat Palm groves of Phoenix (9370*in Directive Habitat)  for terrestrial ecosystems, or the mollusk Luria lurida or the habitat of Reefs (1170*) in marine ones).

Those species or habitats are monitored in two ways: with a standard monitoring protocol carried out by technicians or professionals, following international or national recognized methodologies, and with a simplified monitoring protocol, based on species presence/absence criteria, to be implemented only on some of the target species or habitat. The simplified monitoring protocols allow the involvement of volunteers (in some cases, the visitors of the protected areas themselves) in the data collection and, in a more wide view, in the conservation and management of the local ecosystems. In every case, the data provided by the volunteers should be correct and useful so that a system for verification of the information has been developed by the project protected areas by different tools (online applications, collection of pictures and/or specific forms, monitoring campaigns, etc.).

All data will be interpreted for the purpose of assessing the quality of ES and ESS, also in relation  to the pilot actions taken during the project, and collected in a proper geodatabase following the structure of Adriawet2000 geodatabase and uploaded on IMPRECO WebSite for dissemination and analysis at transnational level.