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Bundesamt für Naturschutz


The National Monitoring Centre for Biodiversity takes stock. The overview of milestones informs you about the progress we have achieved so far and strategic developments on our way to a nationwide biodiversity monitoring in Germany.

How it all began...

These milestones laid the foundation for the Monitoring Centre - foundation and establishment phase:

Dr Petra Dieker takes over the leadership of the Monitoring Centre.

The establishment phase of the monitoring centre was completed by the end of 2022. The head office and committees have been set up and the technical work has begun. The first foundations for the development of a nationwide biodiversity monitoring system have been laid. Contacts, exchange and cooperation with the monitoring community are expanded continuously. Information on ongoing processes is provided on the website of the monitoring centre. The conception of the content of an information and networking portal is being intensified and the call for tenders is being prepared.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze opens the National Monitoring Centre for Biodiversity. The website of the Monitoring Centre launches.

Various ministries developed a comprehensive principle concept as a content-related and organisational framework for the monitoring centre. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Ministry of Research, the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Defence were involved. The concept was adopted by the German Bundestag on 27 January 2021. This marks the start of the establishment phase of the Monitoring Centre under the leadership of Dr Andreas Krüß. The head office, the organisational unit of the Monitoring Centre, is located at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Leipzig. First working groups on the overall concept for a nationwide biodiversity monitoring, on soil biodiversity, influencing factors and on the website are established.

The governing parties CDU, CSU and SPD commit to the establishment of a scientific monitoring centre on biodiversity in the coalition agreement of 07/02/2018.

Stacked stones
Symbolic milestone

Mandate and establishment phase

Prompted by the discussion on insect mortality, the german government initiated the establishment of the National Biodiversity Monitoring Centre. The establishment phase for the centre began at the beginning of 2021.

Committees and technical work

The foundations of the nationwide work of the National Monitoring Centre for Biodiversity are laid by committees with a broad range of expertise.

Several people sit together at tables in a rectangular shape. In the middle there is a screen through which other participants are joining online.
Meeting of the soil biodiversity expert committee in Leipzig

Steering committee

The steering committee sets the political-strategic framework for nationwide biodiversity monitoring. The members consist of representatives of all federal ministries involved. In addition, representatives of several federal states, the management of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the National Monitoring Centre for Biodiversity advise the steering committee. Meetings are held twice a year.

On December 12 2023, the Steering Committee and the Principle expert committee convened for their first joint meeting. The Monitoring Centre presented the milestones for the various topics along the fields of action for 2024. Issues related to cross-habitat data analysis were discussed collaboratively with the committee members.

At the first meeting in May 2021, the committee members prioritise the tasks of the monitoring centre and determine the members for the principle expert committee. It is recommended to the principle expert committee to establish expert committees for specific topics.

Principle expert committee

The principle expert committee defines the technical tasks of the monitoring centre and sets the priorities for implementation, especially for nationwide biodiversity monitoring. Experts from federal authorities, specialised institutions or project executing organisation, research institutions, authorities of the federal states and specialised associations are involved in the committee. Sessions take place twice a year.

At the founding meeting, the principle expert committee adopts its rules of procedure and defines priority tasks for the Monitoring Centre. It decides to set up two specific expert panels on soil biodiversity and on drivers.

Expert committee soil biodiversity

The expert committee "Monitoring of soil biodiversity and its functions" advises the head office and the principle expert committee of the Monitoring Centre on the its thematic focus. It develops a concept for nationwide soil biodiversity monitoring.

The Biodiversa+ pilot project "Soil biodiversity in protected, near-natural forests" collects comprehensive data on site characteristics, soil properties and vegetation in near-natural forests across a wide range of biogeographical regions in Europe. On behalf of the Monitoring Centre, six forest sites in Germany are currently being investigated in terms of soil biology (macro-, meso- and microfauna) using the SoilBON protocol.

Soil biology surveys at federal state level were compiled in consultation with the federal state authorities. In addition to ongoing monitoring activities, completed and planned programmes are also included.

The project "Recording soil organisms and their functions in a nationwide biodiversity monitoring programme: state of knowledge and practicability" has been successfully completed. The result is a up to up-to-date information basis about the informative value and practical requirements of recording soil organism groups and their functions. The expert committee uses this information to develop monitoring modules. The modules focus on organism groups and soil biodiversity functions with high information value and practicable recording.

The symposium "Ways for a nationwide soil biodiversity monitoring" takes place in Leipzig on 5 and 6 June 2023. Participants discuss the objectives and requirements of nationwide soil biodiversity monitoring and contribute their own monitoring approaches and results.

The key issues paper on the further development of nationwide soil biodiversity monitoring is published. It focuses on the importance of soil, soil biodiversity and the need for monitoring. It provides an overview of nationwide programmes.

The expert committee on soil biodiversity starts its work in September 2021. Monitoring programmes related to soil biodiversity at federal and state level, definition of soil biodiversity as well as goals and requirements for a nationwide soil biodiversity monitoring are being developed.

In the middle of the photo there is a soil sample in an open round metal container. Two hands with white laboratory gloves can be seen dividing the sample into subsamples. These are filled into small white containers.
Production of subsamples of a soil sample

Expert committee drivers

The expert committee “improving the availability of data on drivers of biodiversity” advises the head office and the policy expert panel. It develops a concept on the thematic focus of influencing variables on biodiversity as part of the overall concept "Advancement of a nationwide biodiversity monitoring".

The externally conducted research of recording and monitoring programmes of variables influencing biodiversity in Germany has been completed. Based on this, the head office is conducting an state analysis and identifying gaps in the availability of data on influencing variables.

A key issues paper with essential contents and tasks of the expert committee for the advancement of the nationwide biodiversity monitoring in the area of drivers of biodiversity is published.

In October 2021, the expert committee on drivers meets for the first time and determines the main objectives of its work. These goals include the development of a concept for the systematisation and prioritisation of drivers. In addition, shortcomings in the availability of data on these variables are to be identified. For this purpose, a detailed as-is analysis of the national collection and monitoring programmes for influencing variables will be carried out.

Expert committee data management

The Monitoring Centre is committed to improving the access to existing data and information on biodiversity monitoring in Germany. In order to also advise the principle expert committee on methodological, conceptual and technical-organisational questions concerning monitoring data, the establishment of a further expert committee "data management" is planned until the end of 2023.

Overall concept for nationwide biodiversity monitoring

An overarching task of the Monitoring Centre is the development of an overall concept for nationwide biodiversity monitoring.

Three colleagues from the Monitoring Centre, seen from the side and from behind, stand in front of a poster on network analysis.
Colleagues from the Monitoring Centre discuss cooperation and interfaces at the symposium "goals of nationwide biodiversity monitoring"

Development steps

Various specialist teams and committees of the Monitoring Centre are working on the development of the overall concept.

Participants from federal and state ministries, specialised authorities and other experts worked out guidelines for the goals that nationwide biodiversity monitoring should fulfil.

A state analysis of existing nationwide biodiversity monitoring programmes was carried out as a basis for the overall concept.

October 2022 - Establishment of the "Marine Monitoring" working group + The nationwide biodiversity monitoring shall cover both the terrestrial and marine areas as well as inland waters. In order to devote more attention to the marine area, an internal working group on marine monitoring is being set up at the Monitoring Centre's head office. This will be integrated into the Federal/State Working Group North Sea and Baltic Sea (BLANO). Here, the Monitoring Centre is also a member of the cross-sectional working groups "Data" and an extended member of the cross-sectional working group "Recording and Assessment (ErBe)".

A central task of the principle expert committee is to support the development of the overall concept for the nationwide biodiversity monitoring. For this reason, no separate expert committee will be set up to develop the overall concept for the nationwide biodiversity monitoring. In addition, the expert committees on soil biodiversity and influencing variables contribute essential building blocks.

The preliminary concept for nationwide biodiversity monitoring is developed and adopted by the principle expert committee. It presents the cornerstones and the process of further concept development.

The Monitoring Centre shall involve and support citizen science projects and volunteer work in the development and implementation of the nationwide biodiversity monitoring. For this reason, an internal working group on this topic is set up at the Monitoring Centre's head office. This group will first determine the expectations and needs of the stakeholder groups for the Monitoring Centre and integrate them into its work.

Forum „application and research in dialogue”

At the annual forum held in Leipzig, people from practice and research exchange views on current topics of biodiversity monitoring. This enables broad participation in the work of the Monitoring Centre.

Seven people sit in a semicircle on the podium and discuss.
Panel discussion at the 2nd Forum of the National Monitoring Centre for Biodiversity on the interaction between classical and new methods: How can it succeed?


Each forum focuses on specific topics that contribute to the further development of biodiversity monitoring in Germany.

The second forum takes place on 23-24 May 2023 and is dedicated to the topic "New methods in the recording of biodiversity and the evaluation of biodiversity data".

The first forum takes place on 30-31 May 2022 on the topic of "Long-term management of biodiversity data". The results are summarised in a documentation.

Two hands holding a smartphone. An app for identifying plants can be seen on the smartphone.
Species identification using smartphones in combination with the latest artificial intelligence methods

Portal development

The Monitoring Centre is developing an information and networking portal. The aim is to better bundle data and information related to biodiversity monitoring from various sources in the future, and to make it accessible and visible. At the same time, it will provide the monitoring community with opportunities for exchange. The need for an information and networking portal was already formulated in the principle concept for the monitoring centre.

Development steps

The following mile stones have been reached.

In February 2024, over 500 experts and stakeholders from professional associations, academia, public authorities, and the general public engage in a survey conducted by the Monitoring Centre. In order to develop a user-friendly and sustainable portal, this survey aims to identify the overall preferences for portal content and the needs of future users. Furthermore, requirement workshops and interviews take place to refine these needs.. In March and April, the evaluation and compilation of initial essential use cases will be carried out.

In September 2023, the Monitoring Centre, with the support of a contractor (con terra), will start developing the content of the portal. To ensure that the portal offers added value for the monitoring community, many stakeholders will be involved. As a central element of the monitoring centre, the portal will support the activities and goals of the monitoring community in the future.

In October 2022, the Monitoring Centre published the key issues paper on the conceptual design of a comprehensive information and networking portal.

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