Monitoring of species
Monitoring of species refers to the regular monitoring of species’ status at different sites. In Sweden there are a number of such long-term observations. These are carried out at different geographical levels, in different habitats and by various representatives. Nature conservation monitoring is usually divided into national and regional environmental monitoring.
National environmental monitoring
The national environmental monitoring carried out on the mandate given by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is divided into different programme areas (sea & coastline, freshwater, forest, countryside, mountain and wetlands) and includes among others butterflies, birds, fish, rodents, carnivores, plants and cryptogams.
Other authorities and organizations also carry out national monitoring. The national programmes such as the National Forest Inventory (RIS) and Nationwide Environmental Protection Programme (NILS) are implemented at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Other examples of large inventories where monitoring is undertaken are the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s meadow and pasture inventory and the Swedish Forest Agency’s key habitat inventory.
Regional environmental monitoring
The regional environmental monitoring is controlled by the County Administrative Boards and can include among others vascular plants, algae, mussels, butterflies and birds. The County Administrative Boards also work with certain action programmes for endangered species and monitoring of species in protected areas.
Many volunteers are active in the monitoring of species in Sweden, both on their own initiatives and on behalf of authorities. Flora guardians that monitor the presence of red-listed vascular plants is the largest group, involving over 400 people. A majority of the country’s bird monitoring is partly undertaken on a voluntary basis. Last but not least, spontaneous reports posted through the Species Gateway are of great importance in assessing the status of species in the Swedish countryside.
The importance of environmental monitoring data
All activities provide a large amount of important data that is used by authorities, researchers and many others. The Swedish Species Information Centre uses this data for example in the work to develop Sweden’s Red List and in reports to the EU in accordance with the Habitat Directive. Reporting refers to the commitment to monitor and report the status of species listed in the annexes of the Directive.