Citizen Science Data for Biodiversity Conservation Policy in Agricultural Landscapes

01 November 2019 → 31 December 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Modelling and simulation
    • Ecology not elsewhere classified
    • Landscape ecology
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Biostatistics
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Horticultural production not elsewhere classified
Citizen science data Species distribution modelling Biodiversity conservation policy
Project description

The aim of the project is to investigate how opportunistic citizen science data can support biodiversity conservation policy in agriculture in an era of growing environmental concerns and increasing land use intensity. To reach that goal, we will aggregate species records, obtained through citizen science (, into species groups and define different relevant measures of biodiversity. Species distribution models will be used to reduce the simultaneous effects of several biases that occur in opportunistic citizen science data. A combined approach will be proposed to minimise bias and to jointly include observer profiles (accounting for e.g. the level of expertise of an observer) and landscape metrics (e.g. heterogeneity, configuration) as predictor variables. Our findings will provide insight in the drivers of biodiversity in an agricultural landscape and will allow to simulate the future state of biodiversity by implementing different land use scenarios. To illustrate the application potential of our results, we address the most prominent question in today’ ‘reen’agricultural policy: do the current policy efforts, meant to safeguard and improve biodiversity, pay off and how can their effectiveness be increased? With this project, we aim to take a step forward in the use of citizen science data for policy purposes. We wish to support the uptake of environmentally beneficial practices in farms, while aspiring a more sustainable land use future.