Assessing landscape structure in habitat monitoring in the Nordic countries - potential approaches, methods and data. Proceedings from the workshop at Roskilde Vandrehjem, Denmark, 14-15 May 2008
Changes in the spatial structure of habitats, such as declining habitat ar-eas and the spatial fragmentation of habitats are, together with a decreas-ing habitat quality, a major pressure on biological diversity. Spatial indi-cators can function as a suitable tool for the assessment of habitat struc-ture and its effects on biological diversity. In May 2008 the Nordic Workshop Connectivity of nature in the Nor-dic countries (CONNOR) was held. The aim of the workshop was to gather scientists and stakeholders from the Nordic and other European countries to discuss opportunities, limitations and needed research for the integration of spatial indicators in nature monitoring in the Nordic coun-tries. This report sums up the workshop results. Presentations given throughout the workshop clearly indicate the rele-vance of spatial structure of habitats for biological diversity. Furthermore, a variety of approaches exist, where spatial indicators have been success-fully applied to describe state and change in biological diversity. In order to reasonably describe biological diversity, spatial indicators must be based on specific knowledge on species' requirements for quality and spatial structure of habitats. Applied data must contain information re-flecting these requirements. Although there is a lack of data, which en-compass this information, within the Nordic countries there do exist dif-ferent spatial datasets, which are enough detailed for a biologically mean-ingful application of spatial indicators. Recommendations from the workshop suggest the necessity to estab-lish a research platform including experts with a biological, species based approach and experts with a spatial and geographical approach. Specific research needs include the establishment of a knowledge base of existing theories and methodologies. Furthermore, available spatial data need to be critically examined. Finally, in order to practically evaluate opportuni-ties, limitations and needed actions for the application of spatial indica-tors in the Nordic countries, specific example studies need to be con-ducted. These research activities are crucial for scientifically qualified and sound recommendations for the future exploitation of existing map data and for the design of nature monitoring programmes in the Nordic countries.