WG 6 – Data Assessment Tools

WG 6 – Data Assessment Tools


Marko Debeljak
Department of Knowledge Technologies, Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia

Andrey Zaytsev
Department of Animal Ecology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany


EU Directives guiding the development of assessment and decision-making support tools of the data warehouse have different requirements. The definition of biodiversity baselines and thresholds for comparison within monitoring studies are needed for directives requiring the determination of impacts on, or minimizing risks to biodiversity, soil quality and/or the environment in general (i.e., many “industrial” and “agricultural” directives). Directives not explicitly mentioning soil biodiversity and functions, but stressing soil conditions and concentrations of specific elements influenced by biotically driven processes (i.e., Nitrate Directive) or explicitly stating protection of soil functions and ESS (i.e., CAP) require a functional biodiversity approach (WG3). Many directives demand monitoring and/or corresponding databases, for which the data warehouse can serve. WG6 will work together closely with WG5 to ensure that the data-evaluation tools of the warehouse will be tailored to the needs of end-users. The key goals of WG6 are to determine which results assessment tools must offer stakeholders, to secure the corresponding data linkages within the data warehouse and to establish software algorithms needed for developing assessment tools.

WG6 will determine how data can be analysed and visualised to meet these needs. As the spatial coverage of soil biodiversity data is patchy, determining baselines and thresholds must derive the potential soil biodiversity from existing data and environmental metadata. The data available in the warehouse for developing appropriate assessment tools will be evaluated and tested with modelling techniques such as general dissimilarity modelling, regression and classification techniques and will be focussed on GIS methodologies. Working together with WG3 (Traits), WG6 will evaluate how species groups can be aggregated by specific traits to determine potential functional biodiversity using the aforementioned methodologies. For functional relationships, correlation methods relating the distribution of functional groups with, i.e., N- and C-content of soils, greenhouse-gas emissions, etc. (available from national and European agencies) will be evaluated. A major task of WG6 will therefore be on establishing guidelines for how data must be queried (filtered) and assembled and which statistical algorithms are appropriate for allowing automated evaluation and visualisation.

Case studies will be developed to determine the usefulness and applicability of the data in the data warehouse and the suggested evaluation algorithms. Options include a hypothetical ecotoxicological higher-tier assessment of a relevant pesticide, determining reference values/areas for the distribution or abundance of specific organisms at risk, and/or testing performance of a third-tier investigation of a contaminated site, following the TRIAD approach. Other test case studies can relate the distribution of functional soil biodiversity to external distribution information on soil N- and C-content, greenhouse-gas emissions, etc. Further, the provision of background information including temporal trends for Red-List-applications can be tested. The details will be elaborated by WG6 together with WG5.

Intended Outcomes

(1) A register of the results to be delivered by assessment tools will be developed. (2) The necessary algorithms for analysing and visualizing soil-biodiversity data will be compiled. (3) The appropriate correlation procedures for linking the distribution of functional biodiversity with soil and habitat parameters will be defined. (4) Case studies will test the recommended assessment tools.