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Innovating Biodiversity Monitoring with a Multi-Indicator Approach

In 2022, a significant step forward was taken with the signing of the Global Biodiversity Framework, a policy comparable to the Paris Agreement, both addressing major environmental challenges facing the planet. This Framework recognizes the importance of having and preserving a diverse range of plant and animal species in all natural ecosystems, including agricultural systems. While many people may associate biodiversity with lush tropical rainforests, it is critical to understand that every ecosystem benefits from biodiversity. For example, agricultural grasslands can reap numerous advantages by enriching the land with pollinator plants instead of treating it as a monoculture.

As outlined by FarmhackNL: "Herb-­rich grassland with multiple types of grass and herbs strengthens the soil, leads to more stable production and is more resistant to drought [...] A diverse composition of grass also has a positive effect on aboveground biodiversity including through nectar as food for bees and through insect composition as food for meadow birds and other birds."

Unsustainable agricultural practices are one of the major drivers affecting both habitat and species diversity in the agricultural landscapes of the European Union. The ongoing negative impacts of unsustainable agricultural practices emphasise the need for a fully integrated approach to maintain a healthy food production landscape in Europe that ensures food security. As such, this need is put forth in the EU 2030 Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies, where advanced systems are required to monitor biodiversity features and their changes over time and in space within these farmland ecosystems.

In this light, a Horizon Europe open call was put together for proposals aiming to develop advanced biodiversity monitoring to show which agricultural practices and policies work best at evaluating and generating better future policies for conserving biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Space4Good, together with 23 other consortium partners, applied and successfully got the project funded through the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.

BioMonitorCAP for advanced biodiversity monitoring

The BioMonitor4CAP project aims to create advanced biodiversity monitoring systems to assess the diversity of target species and habitats in different regions of the world. Monitoring the state of biodiversity is vital for the conservation of natural resources and the protection of our planet's ecosystems.

Figure 1. BioMonitor4CAP Website

The BioMonitor4CAP project will develop, validate and implement affordable and reliable biodiversity monitoring systems by combining widely accepted classical indicator systems with various recently developed indicator systems.

The project will focus on designing, testing, calibrating, and demonstrating these systems in five European regions, which represent the major agroecological regions of the EU, and one region in Peru, representing one of the world's global biodiversity hotspots. By doing so, the project will help to establish a comprehensive and standardised framework for biodiversity monitoring, which can be used worldwide.

What is “advanced” about the proposition

What makes this project so interesting is the fact that we are combining multiple types of data ranging from classical indicator systems, with recently developed and applied biodiversity indicators. The project aims to generate and use new indicator species (like grasshoppers), genetic diversity (eDNA), on-site sensors (acoustic data), functional diversity (pollinators), and remote sensing techniques. This gives us a huge opportunity because rarely do all of these technologies come together in order to make inferences about their relationships. Remote sensing and classical indicators systems have been studied and have a story together that spans more than 40 years. Still, the inclusion of new biodiversity monitoring techniques leaves the opportunity to explore new innovative ways of measuring biodiversity at a regional scale.

Figure 2. In-field biodiversity monitoring. Source: DLG and field planning documents

By using a combination of these methods, BioMonitor4CAP aims to create a comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date picture of biodiversity in the regions it covers. This information will be used to inform decision-making and policy development around the world, helping to ensure the long-term survival of our planet's ecosystems.

4Good within the 4CAP

The role of Space4Good within the project is considered crucial in the early stages of the project. We will be designing a data storage solution for all consortium partners; a cloud environment in which we can store all of the captured data from the innovative new technologies that are being developed for this project.

More specifically will be involved in three key areas within the BioMonitor4CAP project:

  1. Firstly, the project will provide an organic webGIS platform and data storage solution for various stakeholders, with the aim of facilitating and promoting the sharing of data among experts and academia alike. A (static) first iteration of this objective is the project website which can be accessed here.

  2. Secondly, the team will develop replicable and reliable biodiversity indicators using remote sensing data for multiple testing sites. These cutting-edge parameters will allow researchers and conservationists to evaluate data from a site and provide a more accurate picture of the state of biodiversity at this place.

  3. Finally, Space4Good will compile a comprehensive database of European observatories for biodiversity monitoring, which will be easily accessible through the project’s website. By bringing together data from a wide range of sources, this initiative aims to offer a more complete view of the current state of Earth’s natural resources.

Next steps and pending outcomes

The BioMonitor4CAP project is a vital initiative that aims to create advanced biodiversity monitoring systems that can be used to assess the state of our planet's ecosystems accurately. The project is in its early stages as it started in December of 2022, but the consortium is well on track to deliver the first output which is the building base for what’s to come. Space4Good's and the wider consortium’s contributions will leverage these three core initiatives to deliver a comprehensive approach to biodiversity conservation that is grounded in data-driven (and in our case geospatial :) insights and expert collaboration.

Would you like more information or are you interested in collaborating with Space4Good? Visit our website or contact us via

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