The proposed typology of "Grassland ecosystems" corresponds to the ecosystem classification of MAES (2013), combined with the habitat classification types of European Nature Information System (EUNIS). It is also related to some of the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) classes. The broadly accepted typology of grassland ecosystems in Bulgaria includes:
- E1. Dry grasslands
- E2. Mesic grasslands
- E3. Seasonally wet and wet grasslands
- E4. Alpine and subalpine grasslands
- E6. Inland salt steppes
Аn approved methodology is applied to deliver the objectives of the project associated with the bio-physical assessment of the grassland ecosystems in Bulgaria and their mapping. Following the suite of indicators and parameters for assessment provided by this methodology, the following activities are envisaged within the project:
- Analysis of available data for ecosystem mapping to identify information gaps. A thorough review on national data sources. Gap analysis to identify the major issues in terms of deploying the methodology.
- Collect all data needed to adequately implement the methodology for grassland inventory. It will include compiling information available with various national agencies and institutions and deriving freely available web data.
- Collected data will be processed to develop interpretation keys for grassland typology. By use of these keys a model of the grassland types will be prepared. The five grassland types will be identified and mapped.
- The infrastructure of the grassland ecosystem database will be designed and sets of metadata will be generated.
- A detailed mapping protocol for each mandatory indicator for the ecosystem condition will be developed. Further on the proposed optional indicators will be tested and eventually included in the analysis. Scheme for assessment of the condition of ecosystems based on 5-ball point scoring will be designed. The data will be uploaded into the database and IP index for at least 10 polygons of each grassland ecosystem type will be calculated to obtain basis for further statistical interpretation and extrapolation of the results to the entire sampling area. Maps of the grassland ecosystem conditions will be produced together with metadata for each map.
- A detailed mapping protocol for each indicator for grassland ecosystem services will be developed. Maps of ecosystem services will be elaborated together with metadata for each map. The database will be filled in.
- Validation protocol will be generated to ensure scientific and technical quality. Field verification is essential to maximize precision of established grassland ecosystem types. Quality control on vector layers will be applied to ensure maximum technical precision to reach above 85% reliability. This will be supported by establishment of a system for statistical verification of the background data used to assess grassland ecosystem conditions and services.
- Capacity building to ensure adequate uptake of the model for assessment and mapping of grassland ecosystem services. The team will organize meetings to enhance knowledge on models for ecosystem services assessment and mapping among key stakeholders form government agencies.
- To ensure better understanding among key resource users of grassland ecosystem services - farmers, tour-operators, journalists awareness raising workshops will be carried out that will be simultaneously streamеd on-line. The work and its results will be disseminated through media releases, the design and maintenance of a WEB-GIS portal, and participation to scientific forums.