A method of establishing a transect for biodiversity and ecosystem function monitoring across Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The establishment of the range of soil biodiversity found within European soils is needed to guide EU policy development regarding the protection of soil. Such a base-line should be collated from a wide-ranging sampling campaign to ensure that soil biodiversity from the majority of soil types, land-use or management systems, and European climatic (bio-geographical zones) were included. This paper reports the design and testing of a method to achieve the large scale sampling associated with the establishment of such a baseline, carried out within the remit of the EcoFINDERS project, and outlines points to consider when such a task is undertaken. Applying a GIS spatial selection process, a sampling campaign was undertaken by 13 EcoFINDERS partners across 11 countries providing data on the range of indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem functions including; micro and meso fauna biodiversity, extracellular enzyme activity, PLEA and community level physiological profiling (MicroResp (TM) and Biolog (TM)). Physical, chemical and bio-geographical parameters of the 81 sites sampled were used to determine whether the model predicted a wide enough range of sites to allow assessment of the biodiversity indicators tested. Discrimination between the major bio-geographical zones of Atlantic and Continental was possible for all land-use types. Boreal and Alpine zones only allowed discrimination in the most common land-use type for that area e.g. forestry and grassland sites, respectively, while the Mediterranean zone did not have enough sites sampled to draw conclusions across all land-use types. The method used allowed the inclusion of a range of land-uses in both the model prediction stage and the final sites sampled. The establishment of the range of soil biodiversity across Europe is possible, though a larger targeted campaign is recommended. The techniques applied within the EcoFINDERS sampling would be applicable to a larger campaign. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • D. Stone
  • P. Blomkvist
  • N. Bohse Hendriksen
  • M. Bonkowski
  • F. Carvalho
  • M. B. Dunbar
  • C. Gardi
  • S. Geisen
  • R. Griffiths
  • A. S. Hug
  • J. Jensen
  • H. Laudon
  • S. Mendes
  • P. V. Morais
  • A. Orgiazzi
  • P. Plassart
  • J. Roembke
  • M. Rutgers
  • R. M. Schmelz
  • J. P. Sousa
  • E. Steenbergen
  • M. Suhadolc
  • A. Winding
  • M. Zupan
  • P. Lemanceau
  • R. E. Creamer
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Monitoring, Soil biodiversity, Ecosystem function, Range of soil, biodiversity, Europe, Soil, Standard operating procedures
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch