Manual for habitat and vegetation surveillance and monitoring : temperate, mediterranean and desert biomes

R.G.H. Bunce, M.M.B. Bogers, P. Roche, M. Walczak, I.R. Geijzendorffer, R.H.G. Jongman

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


The primary objective of this Manual is to describe the methodology appropriate for coordinating information on habitats and vegetation in order to obtain statistically robust estimates of their extent and associated changes in biodiversity. Such detailed rules are necessary if surveillance, i.e., recording information at a point in time, is to be repeated subsequently as monitoring, otherwise real changes cannot be separated reliably from background noise. The Manual has been produced as part of the EBONE (European Biodiversity Observation Network). There have been some modifications and additional from the previous Manual published in 2005. The basis of the General Habitat Categories is the classification of plant Life Forms produced by the Danish botanist Raunkiaer early in the 20th century. These Life Forms e.g. annuals or trees, transcend species. They are based on the scientific hypothesis that habitat structure is related to the environment. The General Habitat Categories and the Life Form Qualifiers, which are for defining habitats outside Europe, have 160 GHCs derived from 16 Life Forms (LF’s), 18 Non Life Forms (NLFs) and 24 Life Form Qualifiers. They have been field tested not only in all the environmental zones in Europe, but also in Mediterranean and desert biomes in Israel, Tunisia, South Africa and Australia. Variation within a General Habitat Category is then expressed by environmental and global qualifiers, which are combinations of soil humidity, nutrient status, acidity and other habitat characteristics. Important additional information is given by adding codes from predefined lists of site and management qualifiers. Also full lists of GHCs are added together with information on species. A procedure is described for recording vegetation plots in the GHCs. Every effort has been made to make the Manual consistent and robust, but inevitably a few errors may still be present, so please consult the authors if problems are encountered.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
Number of pages106
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1566-7197


  • biodiversity
  • habitats
  • vegetation
  • mapping
  • surveying
  • recording
  • monitoring


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