Based in the Mediterranean Basin world biodiversity hotspot, the work will focus on the middle elevation habitats, and temporary swamps to highlight key habitats of the EU Habitat directive. This will be done in close collaboration with the French Mediterranean National Botanical Conservatory, which has rich data on the species and habitats of the territory.
Mols Bjerge National Park
The work will take place at a 1.5 km2 nature reserve known as a biodiversity hotspot in Denmark and located within Mols Bjerge National Park. Recently, the site was divided into separate zones with trophic and passive rewilding. A monitoring program for vegetation and arthropods using traditional plot surveys, time lapse cameras and drone surveys is combined with detailed records of the space use of introduced horses and cattle.
Salisbury Plain is the single largest area of chalk grassland in Western Europe and represents 45% of the remaining habitat in the UK. This military training area occupies some 38,000 ha, and of this 20,000 ha are notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which includes 14,000 ha of chalk grassland. UKCEH has led major ecological surveys commencing in 1996, establishing a long-term monitoring network for vegetation within different areas of disturbance and shrub encroachment and undertaking larval web surveys for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly. A 1m 2014 airborne LiDAR survey and a time-series of 0.25m aerial photographic surveys are available.
Oostvaardersplassen Nature Reserve
Oostvaardersplassen Nature Reserve is part of National Park Nieuw Land in the province of Flevoland in the Netherlands. It is an extensive, 5400 ha large restoration and rewilding site with reed marshland, dry scrubland, swamp forests, grasslands and open water. The area is of great importance to birdlife (breeding birds, migratory birds and wintering birds) and has a focus on rewilding and the effects of large grazing herbivores (horses, cattle, deer). It is a wetland of international importance according to the Ramsar Convention, part of the Natura2000 network and a Special Protected Area (SPA) according to the EC Bird Directive. The protected area is managed by Staatsbosbeheer, the National Forest Service of the Netherlands.
Friedeburg is a 16 km2 LTER site located in the typical agricultural area of Central Germany with comparably high habitat diversity. It is also part of the Terrestrial Environmental Observatoria (TERENO) of the Helmholtz Association and provides a wealth of long-term monitoring and environmental background data (e.g. vascular plants, wild bees, butterflies, birds).
Island of Comino and surrounding islets
The island of Comino and the surrounding islets are found in the Malta-Gozo Channel and are part of the Natura 2000 network as a Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. The site is dominated by scrub, phrygana and maquis habitats but supporting other habitats of national and community importance and various rare and endangered endemic species. Large scale habitat restoration or maquis, woodland and inland wetland habitats has also been carried out over the past 4 years.
LTER Petrohan is situated in the West Balkan range with a total area of 7192 ha. The region is mountainous, steep, with deeply cut river valleys and secondary watersheds with lowest point at altitude 350 m, and highest at 1900 m. While parts of this area are forested, higher altitude grasslands and meadows are also present. Ecosystem investigations have been carried out since the establishment of the site in 1986. Petrohan falls into the North-Bulgarian climatic zone with moderate continental climate.