Habitat mapping data can fill gaps in knowledge on biodiversity

by Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
November 01, 2022

Data gathered by habitat mapping programs can make important contributions to biodiversity research. They provide insight into changes of the local flora since the 1980s – a period that is covered by hardly any other sources of information. A team from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Hamburg Authorities for the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture has now shown how research can benefit from this historic habitat mapping data using habitat maps of the city and federal state of Hamburg as an example. Their results, which have been published in “Ecosphere”, also show a clear decline of species-rich habitats due to urbanization over the last decades.

In Germany, habitat mapping programs (Biotopkartierungen) have been carried out in almost every federal state since the 1980s. Similar sources exist in many other European countries. “The mapping programs are carried out by the authorities to obtain an overview of natural and semi-natural habitats for landscape planning and nature conservation,” says Lina Lüttgert from the Institute of Biology of MLU. These datasets contain comprehensive data on all habitats of the local flora and fauna. Often, they also include information on the plant species found in these areas. This makes the data interesting for research: “They can provide insight into the changes over the last decades. Also, we do not have any other systematic surveys on local diversity from that period,” says Lüttgert.

Keep reading: https://pressemitteilungen.pr.uni-halle.de/index.php?modus=pmanzeige&pm_id=5493

Read the Ecosphere paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.4244