The IBER-GRASS project was presented at International Scientific Conference "Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services – Science in Action"

The International Scientific Conference "Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services – Science in Action" took place in Sofia from 6 to 7 February 2017. The assessment approach and results about grassland ecosystem condition in Bulgaria outside NATURA 2000 network, implemented within IBER-GRASS project, were presented.

For the first time, a comprehensive approach for ecosystem condition assessment of all outside NATURA 2000 network Bulgarian grassland ecosystems was applied. Over 100 000 polygons were estimated for their ecosystem condition. The indicators used were in accordance with the National methodology framework, but some new ones were proposed also: Total vegetation cover, Fungi diversity, Ruderalization. Another contribution of the project was parameter refinement of some indicators. For example Animal diversity indicator was split into main taxonomical groups, but invertebrates were divided into functional groups. Such separation involves a clarity in assessing the animal diversity and traceability about any changes to be assessed in the future.

Every parameter was assessed by using the most actual and complete data bases, available from scientific and/or governmental and non-governmental organizations. Interpolation and modelling of the data was applied, considering the peculiarity of every single parameter. All procedures about data collection, analyses and estimation of input data were described in a Detailed Mapping Protocol for Indicators for Grassland Ecosystem Condition.

The results obtained, demonstrate the Plant diversity indicator as having mainly "good" and "very good" assessments for ecosystem condition. Grassland ecosystems with such condition is concentrated in the uplands and mountains of the country. Most of the "Seasonally wet and wet grasslands" have a lower plan diversity compared to the optimal diversity for this ecosystem subtype. These ecosystems are located in the country lowlands, where a higher anthropogenic impact is found. The South-Bulgarian grassland ecosystems are characterized with a great reptile species diversity – ecosystem condition assessed in this respect as "good" and "very good". Considering the mammal species richness, mountain grassland ecosystems are among the richest. The lowland grassland ecosystems and especially those around the settlements, are the most threatened by fires. Taken as a whole, Bulgarian grassland ecosystems show a good biomass production with the most productive concentrated in the Forebalkan.

All condition indicator assessments of the grassland ecosystems are presented in a Web-based GIS system.

At the conference poster session the project progress and activities were presented.

The presentation can be found under "Presentations"

Poster session the project progress and activities pdf

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