A Rapid Method for Monitoring Landscape Structure and Ecological Value in European Farmlands: the LISA approach

  • Rainer Oppermann Institute for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ifab), Mannheim, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7253-1199
  • Ernesto Aguirre Fundación Global Nature, Madrid, Spain
  • Richard Bleil Edingen-Neckarhausen, Germany
  • Jordi Domingo Calabuig Fundación Global Nature, Madrid, Spain
  • Martin Šálek Institute of Vertebrate Biology, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic; Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2639-9745
  • András Schmotzer Bükk National Park Directorate, Eger, Hungary
  • Antonia Schraml Institute for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ifab), Mannheim, Germany
Keywords: Agricultural landscape, Biodiversity, Landscape elements, Monitoring, Common Agricultural Policy


Farmland biodiversity has dramatically declined in European agricultural landscapes over the past century. The key driver of this decline is the intensification of farming practices. In response, various policies have been developed to protect and promote farmland biodiversity, including so-called greening measures under the Common Agricultural Policy(CAP). However, there is currently very little systematically collected data on the ecological quality of European farmland. Therefore, we developed a survey method to provide repeatable and comparable data. This method comprises the mapping of land use and ecological quality of parcels in sample plots of 500 m x 500 m, vegetation transects on up to four predefined parcels in each sample plot and a photo documentation of the transects and the whole plot. Using this LISA method (Landscape Infrastructure and Sustainable Agriculture), we investigated about 25plots in each of 35 regions in 2014 and 13 regions in 2016, altogether in 10 EU countries. The methodology provides a time- and cost-efficient possibility to collect standardised data on the ecological quality of farmland habitats. We show that biodiversity in arable fields is at an extremely low level. The survey methodology proved to be applicable in all parts of Europe and thus being applied widely it could deliver a representative view on the ecological situation of all agricultural landscapes in Europe.


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How to Cite
Oppermann, R.; Aguirre, E.; Bleil, R.; Calabuig, J. D.; Šálek, M.; Schmotzer, A.; Schraml, A. A Rapid Method for Monitoring Landscape Structure and Ecological Value in European Farmlands: The LISA Approach. LO 2021, 90, 1-24.
Research Article