Creation of sampling protocol
Using a standardised sampling protocol on the 10 regions, regions covering cropped and non-cropped areas. Sampling protocols will regard that of vegetation composition (species/genus level and trait-based), vegetation structure (height, vegetation layers, density and cover), and the management (intensity and frequency of disturbance). Data on landscape configuration (land use diversity, habitat fragmentation, patch size and shape) will be assessed.
The sampling protocol will consist of:
· parameters needed to describe the case study area (e.g. through aerial map interpretations and field visits) to select all fields with the crop of interest and all SNH types present in the region;
· parameters needed to describe the SNH in terms of vegetation composition, structure and management;
· describe management of the cropped and SNH areas.
The areas to be sampled will be roughly between 20 and 40 of the present fields and all the SNH for each SNH typology covering over 1% of the landscape will be sampled.
Sampling methods for vegetation characterisation will concentrate on dominant species in the sampled areas (e.g. recording the most common plant species that together comprise at least 85% of the cover).
The vegetation surveys in the semi-natural habitats will be performed in spring, just before delivery of its main services for pest control and pollination. Semi-natural habitats will be identified through photographic interpretation and field visits. Roughly SNH will be divided in:
· woody linear elements,
· herbaceous linear elements of over 3m width,
· permanent grasslands,
· in-field cover/intercrops,
These groups will be adapted based on the local stakeholders’ interviews. The exact survey method will be based on dominant vegetation sampling with 2 to 4 replicates per semi-natural habitat. After preliminary analysis of the collected data and multivariate analysis use to determine the SNH characterisitics that are determining the potential ES provided by the vegetation, if required a second vegetation survey will be carried out in year 3 (2016) to validate the predictive model.
Creation of scoring system for semi-natural habitats
Creation of a scoring system for semi-natural habitats and subsequent calculation of ecosystem service potential for all semi-natural habitats surveyed. This will result in GIS maps for all sampled habitats in the case study areas indicating the scoring for ecosystem service potential.