MOTIVATE: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Monitoring Biodiversity and Landscape Change in Europe

MOTIVATE integrates vegetation-plot time series data with various forms of quantitative monitoring and qualitative stakeholder perceptions in order to improve how monitoring data is put into practice by decision-makers at the EU level. The data produced in MOTIVATE will be the basis of habitat- and species-specific assessments of plant biodiversity status and trends. Fundamental to the project is a knowledge exchange and capacity building component that seeks to secure the involvement of a future generation of botanists in the continuation of time series in Europe.

Project information

Project duration


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Funding amount

1 425 000 EUR

Project coordinator

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Project description

Monitoring biodiversity status and trends in change are at the heart of EU environmental legislation. This innovative project engages with a highly successful, community-owned biodiversity monitoring programme, ReSurveyEurope. This initiative has been put in place for monitoring the change in extent and quality of more than 230 habitat types, along with the status and trends of the more than 1,000 Annex species identified by the Habitats Directive (HD) as depending on these habitats. The three-year MOTIVATE project will establish and encourage practices of knowledge exchange among diverse stakeholders in order to understand how biodiversity data can be integrated with broader stakeholder perceptions. This will improve how environmental and biodiversity data is used and put into practice by decision-makers at local, municipal, state, and international levels of policymaking. MOTIVATE brings together quantitative data about vegetation and landscape in European terrestrial and aquatic habitats with innovative, human-focused qualitative data collection methods in order to generate knowledge and sustainable practices about biodiversity.

The project has partners in Vienna, Bologna, Rome, Oveido, Brno and Halle. Field research will be carried out in Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, and the Balkans, as well as additional countries. Oulu's focus on the project is designing and carrying out ethnographic research that is based in walking field interviews which aim towards knowledge exchange and capacity building, alongside participatory workshops among stakeholders in case study sites, and modes of bringing together qualitative and quantitative data in analysis.

The project is structured into seven distinct work packages:

WP1 Habitat trend analyses using vegetation-plot time series
This WP complement the results obtained from recent national monitoring programmes with long-term data.

WP2 Native, neonative and alien species trends
This WP reveals hotspots and coldspots of species abundance changes and range extensions.

WP3 Trends in habitat quality and ecosystem properties
This WP provide ecosystem property trends when combined with remote sensing data.

WP4 Attribution of drivers and extrapolating to the regional scale with remote sensing
This WP identifies habitat-, species- and ecosystem property-specific drivers of change.

WP5 Vegetation resurvey database, data sharing platform and gap analysis
This WP provides a public online vegetation resurvey data sharing platform, which motivates scientists to carry out vegetation resurveys in Europe.

WP6 Living archives: integrating expert opinions and local stakeholder perspectives
This WP focuses on collecting important qualitative data: the personal perceptions of vegetation surveyors, which provides insights into changes not captured by other (quantitative) sources.

WP7 Co-design by involving national conservation agencies
This WP complements the national monitoring programmes and facilitates reporting by delivering Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs).

The Oulu component of the project (WP6) is led by Dr Roger Norum along with Dr Jonathan Carruthers-Jones (University of Helsinki).