Indicator biodiversity

Diversity of species communities in meadows and pastures

The uniqueness of a habitat is demonstrated by its special location-specific species composition that appeared over time. Rare species lend a particularly special character to a location. The uniform input of atmospheric nitrogen, the intensified use of natural resource, the loss of local farming methods and the spread of already common species by humans (seeding, seed dispersal by vehicles etc.) are among the causes of the local extinction of rare species and of the propagation of widespread species. This loss of habitat uniqueness makes them increasingly uniform and banal.

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
negative negative
Molluscs 2013 - 2017: 45.21 Molluscs 2012 - 2016: 45.14 Molluscs 2011 - 2015: 45.27 Molluscs 2010 - 2014: 44.29 Molluscs 2009 - 2013: 45.07 Molluscs 2008 - 2012: 47.18 Molluscs 2007 - 2011: 49.55 Molluscs 2006 - 2010: 51.39 Molluscs 2005 - 2009: 53.31 Molluscs 2004 - 2008: 54.82 Molluscs 2003 - 2007: 57.05 Molluscs 2002 - 2006: 56.3 Molluscs 2001 - 2005: 56.08 Mosses 2014 - 2018: 59.52 Mosses 2013 - 2017: 58.58 Mosses 2012 - 2016: 58.51 Mosses 2011 - 2015: 58.54 Mosses 2010 - 2014: 57.58 Mosses 2009 - 2013: 58.48 Mosses 2008 - 2012: 59.47 Mosses 2007 - 2011: 58.17 Mosses 2006 - 2010: 58.33 Mosses 2005 - 2009: 58.83 Mosses 2004 - 2008: 57.02 Mosses 2003 - 2007: 58.72 Mosses 2002 - 2006: 58.92 Mosses 2001 - 2005: 61.02 Plants 2014 - 2018: 58.32 Plants 2013 - 2017: 58.21 Plants 2012 - 2016: 57.9 Plants 2011 - 2015: 57.86 Plants 2010 - 2014: 58.23 Plants 2009 - 2013: 58.31 Plants 2008 - 2012: 58.27 Plants 2007 - 2011: 58.11 Plants 2006 - 2010: 58.68 Plants 2005 - 2009: 58.71 Plants 2004 - 2008: 58.67 Plants 2003 - 2007: 58.62 Plants 2002 - 2006: 59.43 Plants 2001 - 2005: 60.16
Diversity of species communities in meadows and pastures - index* of 0 (uniform) to 100 (diverse) of all paired comparisons of the sampling areas in percent. *Mean values over a period of five years.

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FOEN: Diversity Monitoring Switzerland BDM
Comment

The overall diversity of the species communities in meadows and pastures has declined since the early 2000s. While the diversity of species communities in the plant and moss categories remained constant, a reduction in the diversity of mollusc species can be observed. Among mollusc species, the number of frequently-occurring species lacking special habitat requirements has increased while the number of rarer species has declined. This decline is clearly indicative of a standardisation of the «Meadows/pastures» habitat throughout Switzerland, which is tantamount to biodiversity loss.For this reason, status and development are assessed as negative.

Method

As part of Biodiversity Monitoring Switzerland, the species composition of vascular plants, mosses and molluscs (snails) in approximately 1600 sampling areas measuring ten square metres is recorded every five years. Taking the species composition into account, the similarity between all sampling areas (Simpson’s index) is calculated and recorded separately for each overall habitat type (forest, meadows and pastures, farmland, built-up areas, Alpine pastures, mountains) and each of the three species groups. The higher this value, the greater the diversity between the sampling areas. Greater diversity in terms of the presence of different species communities is positive, and uniformity is not desirable as it is indicative of a loss of biological diversity.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Variation in % Observed trend Assessment
Growth Average 2001-2007 (1) Average 2012-2018, (2) Average 2012-2018, (3) Average 2011-2017 (1) -2.12%, (2) -1.15%, (3) -19.96% (1) Stabilisation, (2) Stabilisation, (3) Decrease negative
(1) Plants, (2) Mosses, (3) Molluscs

 

 
Last updated on: 20.08.2019

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