A most important aspect of biodiversity research is to follow the numbers and distribution of animals and plants over time and space. This is best carried out by standardized methods, where organisms are counted in the same way, at the same time of the year, and at the same place, year after year after year. There are several such monitoring schemes at the Biodiversity unit.
The Swedish Bird Survey
The goal of this project is to track the population and distribution changes of the Swedish breeding birds, to detect worrying changes over time. The project started in 1975 and is carried out as a citizen science project on behalf of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. We also cooperate with all 21 County Administrative Boards of Sweden. About 600 volunteers are counting several hundred thousand birds per year at more than 1,000 routes, literally across all of Sweden.
Population trends of more than 200 species are produced annually and many of them are used as indicators for the status of biodiversity in Sweden as well as in Europe. If you read or hear about bird species increasing or decreasing in numbers in Sweden, the data are most likely from this project.
The Swedish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
The Swedish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme is a national monitoring programme coordinated by Lund University for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. The scheme started in 2010 and is a volunteer-based citizen science programme involving more than 250 butterfly enthusiasts covering 400 sites from all over Sweden. Beddingestrand in the south to Vuollerim in the north.
Like the Swedish Bird Survey, we produce population trends for an important part of the Swedish fauna, in our case our burnet moths and butterflies. We deliver annual trends for 90 Swedish species. Some of these trends form part of environmental indicators that are used to evaluate the Environmental Objectives of Sweden. The most important one so far is the Grassland Butterfly Indicator which we have delivered regionally and nationally since 2013. These analyses are part of the European Grassland Butterfly Indicator which we produce in collaboration with the European Environment Agency and 18 other European Butterfly monitoring schemes within the organisation Butterfly Conservation Europe.
Birds, insects and birch in Lapland (LUVRE)
The Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve is situated in the Fennoscandian mountain ridge, just south of the Polar Circle. It is one of Europe’s largest protected areas. With the small village Ammarnäs as base, scientist from Lund and other Swedish universities have studied birds, invertebrates and birch flowering in the reserve annually since 1963.
The core projects involve monitoring the number of birds on montane tundra and in sub-alpine birch forest. The reproductive success of forest birds is studied in nest boxes and by mist-netting in late summer. The invertebrate fauna and the production of birch flowers (which is indicative of seed production) are also monitored.