Development of a quantitative 'bioassay' approach for ecosystem mapping
Rolf, W and Lenz, R and Peters, D, Development of a quantitative 'bioassay' approach for ecosystem mapping, International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 8, (1-2) pp. 71-79. ISSN 2151-3732 (2012) [Refereed Article]
A map of ecosystem distribution is an essential reference for assessing ecosystem services. We suggest that a map of the
natural distribution of species assemblages is an ecosystem map and that multiple ecological niche models can be used to
create it. As the biogeographical context is understood to be a driving force of the character of a landscape, the need of using
it as a key criterion for landscape classification is widely accepted. For example, the ‘Map of Biogeographical Regions’ (EEA
2008) is used as a fundamental framework for the European Commissions Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC and is being taken
as a reference to assess the coherence of the European-wide nature protection system. Because of its large scale – Germany
is divided into only three regions – it is of limited use for planning at the landscape level. Landscape planners need access to
more detailed, sub-regional characteristics and environmental conditions to address local ecological and conservation issues.
The biogeographical regionalisation approach proposed by the authors allows for zooming in to a more useful scale for
planning purposes and is transparent, repeatable and transferable. The current article describes the conceptual thrust of the
methodology and some examples of its application to a variety of landscapes in Germany. In conclusion, we discuss some of
its limitations and potentials, including its potential to map probable spatial shifts of ecosystems induced by climate change.
biogeography, biodiversity, environmental planning, ecosystem mapping, GIS, SDM, model