Ecological Indicator Values for Europe (EIVE)

Aims: Ecological indicator values (EIVs) are a very widely used tool in plant community ecology to assess site conditions based on the species composition of a stand, particularly for complex abiotic or abiotic parameters that are not easily measured, such as the hydrological regime. Such systems have been developed independently in Germany (by Heinz Ellenberg) and in Russia in the middle of the 20th century based on expert assessment. Given the high utility of this tool, meanwhile about 25 further EIV systems have been proposed in different countries and regions of Europe. However, with 25 systems that use different scales, partly different parameters and inconsistent plant nomenclature, it is currently impossible to apply EIVs in continental-scale analyses, which are emerging in large numbers in the context of the European Vegetation Archive (EVA). Therefore, there is a high need for a single consistent European system. In a first step, we aim at developing the Ecological Indicator Values for Europe (EIVE) for vascular plants and the three main soil parameters (F = moisture; R = reaction; N = nitrogen). We will do this by combining all existing systems to a consensus system. For each assessed taxon, we will provide a value for the median of the distribution on a uniform, continuous 10-point scale (from 0.1-9.9) and the width of the distribution.

Once this first release of EIVE (EIVE 1.0) is ready (planned for 2017), we will publish it open access in formats compatible with major databases and analytical programs (EVA, JUICE). We intend to continuously improve EIVE with a community-based approach. Further refinements likely will include:

  • Extension to other indicator values
  • Extension to bryophytes, lichens and macro-algae
  • Using EVA to optimise the values based on co-occurrence data and to extend coverage to species not included in any of the national EIV systems
  • Regionalisation of EIVE

Start: 2015

Project leader: Jürgen Dengler (Bayreuth, DE) & Florian Jansen (Greifswald)

Other involved researchers from BayCEER: Elisabeth Hüllbusch

Student assistant: Claudia Steinacker


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