Biodiversity (env_biodiv)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 03/05/2019
2.2. Metadata last posted 03/05/2019
2.3. Metadata last update 03/05/2019


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Annual data on biodiversity are re-published under agreement with the data providers, who are also responsible for the data quality. Eurostat does not receive the data from the Member States. Updates are annual, but with no particular calendar, because we depend on the data providers' ability to deliver. Eurostat's role is to check data quality, provide feedback to the data providers and publish the data it deems to be reliable. Eurostat should therefore NOT be quoted as the source.

The topics covered and providers are:

  • Protected terrestrial area by Member State (env_bio1; from Natura 2000 Barometer, DG ENV and EEA)
  • Protected marine area by Member State (env_bio1; from Natura 2000 Barometer, DG ENV and EEA)
  • Common farmland bird index by Member State (env_bio2; BirdLife NGOs and OECD)
  • EU Common bird indices by type of estimate (env_bio3; unsmoothed, smoothed trend with confidence interval) (EBCC/ RSPB /BirLife/Czech Society for Ornithology

Souces for protected areas, European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment (DG ENV),  European Environment Agency (EEA) and its European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (particularly for the sufficiency indices).

Birds: The European Bird Census Council (EBCC) and its Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) programme. The source to be quoted for the EU Common bird indices by type of estimate is EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Czech Society for Ornithology. The source to be quoted for Common farmland bird index by Member State is the national BirdLife organisation (from whom data are collected by OECD and re-published by Eurostat).

3.2. Classification system

env_bio1: not applicable

env_bio2: common farmland birds, selected by each national BirdLife organisation (see annex) 

env_bio3: composite EU indices by type of estimate, covering

  • Common farmland birds (39 species)
  • Common forest birds (34 species)
  • All common birds - both farmland and forest birds plus a number of other common birds (168 species)

Bird names follow the taxonomic checklist of BirdLife International, see general annex or the PECBMS website with the latest data update for the species currently covered.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not applicable for protected areas (env_bio1); note that there may be additional protected areas at national level, but these are not covered.  

Table env_bio2: agriculture (NACE Rev. 1 Division 01); national common farmland birds, selected from a list of approximately 39 species. Countries may opt to cover more, fewer, or entirely different species, see annex. 

Table env_bio2: agriculture (NACE Rev. 1 Division 01), forestry NACE Rev. 1 Division 02) and all other habitats; national common farmland birds, selected from a list of approximately 39 species. Countries may opt to cover more, fewer, or entirely different species, see annex. 

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Protected areas belonging to the EU's Natura2000 network (env bio1):

The EU's nature conservation policy is part of its biodiversity strategy. It is mainly based on the implementation of two Directives: Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive) and Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive), in the codfied version of Directive 2009/147/EC.

The Natura2000 network consists of sites designated by Member States under the Birds Directive (special protection areas = SPA) and the proposed sites of Community importance (pSCI) that are subsequently designated under the Habitats Directive (special areas of conservation = SAC). Marine sites are also covered. All numbers cover only the national territory of the Member State, excluding outermost territories other than the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira. Variables in Table env_bio1 are defined as follows: 

  • Area of mainland Europe (km2)
  • Protected terrestrial area (km2 and percentage of mainland national territory) under Natura 2000, without area only protected under national legislation
  • Protected marine area (km2) under Natura 2000, without area only protected under national legislation

National common farmland bird indices (env_bio2):

For reference year 2014, the unsmoothed national farmland bird indices were provided to Eurostat by the national BirdLife organisations based on an agreed national list of species (see the annexed "National lists of farmland bird species lists as of 2014")Note that only one species, the skylark Alauda arvensis, is common to all the national lists of farmland birds. 

As of reference year 2015, these indices are collected by OECD for the EU Member States, whether or not they are members of OECD.

EU common bird indices by type of estimate (env_bio3):

Each of the three EU aggregate indices (i.e. common farmland birds, common forest birds and all common birds) is a composite, multispecies index calculated using Monte Carlo simulations as described in Soldaat et al. (2017) and an R-script developed by Statistics Netherlands (2017) using the parameters nsim=1000, MaxCV=3, truncfac=10, TRUNC=5, index smooth_"INDEX" and plotbaseyear=1990, 2000, and the latest year for which there are data.

No rare species are included, although some species common in certain Member States may be considered rare in others. The species covered under the common farmland and common forest indices are deemed to be dependent on that particular kind of habitat for feeding and nesting.

  • The index of common farmland birds covers 39 species that depend on farmland (farmland specialists)
  • The index of common forest birds covers 34 species that depend on forests (forest specialists)
  • The index of all common birds covers both farmland and forest birds plus 95 other common species that depend on other habitats, including built-up areas, urban parks and gardens. The 95 species are considered 'generalist' species

The list of species is available in the annex under "EU list of all common bird species". When the birds are counted in the wild, the observations are recorded in different ways depending on the country; they may or may not be geo-referenced and they may or may not include information on the type of habitat observed. For the analysis done by the EBCC, the results have to be processed according to the minimum standard common to all countries. The species are therefore attributed to the three agreed lists by default, no matter where the observations were actually made. For example, the grey-headed woodpecker Picus canus is defined as a forest species according to the lists, even though it can often be observed on farm pastures, where it feeds on ants, or in city parks. 

Each of the three EU bird indices is presented as an unsmoothed time series and as a smoothed time series with 95% confidence limits.

In addition, we present the compound annual rate of change (%) calculated using unsmoothed data and the formula:

RCH_A_C = (Yt/Yt0) 1/t-t0 - 1

where t0 = the earliest year we consider in our calculation, t = the most recent year we consider in our calculation, Yt0 = indicator value in the earliest year and Yt = indicator value in the most recent year. For a given time series, this variable is independent of the base year chosen, making it possible to compare the average annual rates of change of countries with different starting and end years of their time series. In economics, this variable is known as the compound annual growth rate and measures e.g. return on an investment over a defined period of time.

3.5. Statistical unit

Protected areas: not applicable

Birds: the sites used to sample the populations of common breeding birds

3.6. Statistical population

Protected areas: List of sites agreed with the European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment.

Birds: Sample of the EU populations of 168 species of common breeding birds, see the EBCC website. The number of species covered has changed over time, as has the number of countries.

3.7. Reference area

Protected areas:  From 2011 - latest available year (i.e. current year minus one) - all EU Member States, except for Croata, where data are only available starting from 2013.

Birds: Coverage has increased from nine to twenty-two EU Member States over the period 1990 to 2010, with three more countries covered as of the reference year 2011. It should be noted that countries joined the scheme at different times that are in no way linked to their joining the EU.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Protected areas: A consistent time series is only available from 2011. (For Croatia, starting from 2013).

Birds: From 1990. Eurostat considers this to be the first year with a sufficient geographic coverage for the EU as a whole.

3.9. Base period

For the national common farmland bird indices (env_bio2) and EU common bird indices by type of estimate (env_bio3), the data are presented with three different base years:

  • 1990=100 (variable I90)
  • 2000=100 (variable I00)
  • Latest year available=100 (variable I_LY)   

In addition to these base years, we show the data for the national common farmland bird indices (env_bio2) with

  • Variable I_NAT=100, the national base year, which shows when a country joined the scheme


4. Unit of measure Top

Protected areas belonging to the EU's Natura2000 network (env bio1):

  • Area in km2 and per cent

National common farmland bird indices (env_bio2) and EU common bird indices by type of estimate (env_bio3): 

  • Average annual rate of change in per cent 


5. Reference Period Top

Calendar year


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

EU bird indices: the EBCC receives financing from the European Commission to improve the quality of the composite EU indicators (env_bio3). This does not however cover the production of any national indicators.

Protected areas: The EU's nature conservation policy is part of its biodiversity strategy. It is mainly based on the implementation of two Directives: Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive) and Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive).

The Natura 2000 network consists of sites designated by Member States under the Birds Directive (special protection areas = SPA) and the proposed sites of Community importance (pSCI) that are subsequently designated under the Habitats Directive (special areas of conservation = SAC). Marine sites are also covered. The sufficiency indices measure progress in the Member States' proposals for sites designated under the Habitats Directive:

- Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds in the codfied version of Directive 2009/147/EC

- Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora

- Commission Decision of 18 December 1996 concerning a site information format for proposed Natura 2000 sites

- Commission Decision of 28 December 2001 adopting the list of sites of Community importance for the Macaronesian biogeographical region, pursuant to Council Directive 92/43/EEC (notified under document number C(2001) 3998)

Directive 92/43/EEC, the list of sites of Community importance for the Alpine biogeographical region (notified under document number C(2003) 4957)

- Commission Decision of 7 December 2004 adopting, pursuant to Council Directive 92/43/EEC, the list of sites of Community importance for the Atlantic biogeographical region (notified under document number C(2004) 4032)

- Commission Decision of 7 December 2004 adopting, pursuant to Council Directive 92/43/EEC, the list of sites of Community importance for the Continental biogeographical region (notified under document number C(2004) 4031)

- Commission Decision of 13 January 2005 adopting, pursuant to Council Directive 92/43/EEC, the list of sites of Community importance for the Boreal biogeographical region (notified under document number C(2004) 5462)

- Commission Decision of 19 July 2006 adopting, pursuant to Council Directive 92/43/EEC, the list of sites of Community importance for the Mediterranean biogeographical region (notified under document number C(2006) 3261)

- Council Directive 2006/105/EC of 20 November 2006 adapting Directives 73/239/EEC, 74/557/EEC and 2002/83/EC in the field of environment, by reason of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania

- 05/02/2008: Commission Decision of 25 January 2008 adopting, pursuant to Council Directive 92/43/EEC, a first updated list of sites of Community importance for the Macaronesian biogeographical region (notified under document number C(2008) 286) Macaronesian region

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Protected areas: The European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment; the European Environment Agency and its European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity.

Birds: The European Bird Census Council (EBCC) and its Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) programme; OECD for env_bio2.


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Once a year, but with no particular calendar. The bird indices usually become available in Q4 (n-2), while information on Natura 2000 in Q1 (n-1).

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Protected areas: annual

Birds: annual


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Online news releases

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Eurostat's annual Statistical Book on Energy, transport and environment indicators

Eurostat's annual Statistical Book on Agriculture, forestry and fisheries

Statistics Explained articles on biodiversity and on agri-environmental indicators, population trends of farmland birds 

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Eurostat's database

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable

10.5. Dissemination format - other
10.6. Documentation on methodology

Protected areas: information is also available at the 'Natura 2000 Barometer' and on the links to the Member States' Natura2000 websites.

Birds: the methods were developed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), BirdLife International and the European Bird Census Council. Further information can be found at the EBCC website and the website of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Birds: see the EBCC website and the website of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Birds, env_bio3: Note that all time series are re-calculated over the whole period every time new data are produced by EBCC. This is a modelling exercise, not merely a matter of adding the latest year onto a time series. Eurostat checks the quality of successive data deliveries by comparing them visually in a graphs.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Birds: The common bird indices are published by the EBCC as of 1980, but Eurostat only considers the data to be sufficiently representative  for the EU as of 1990. By 1990, nine of today's EU Member States plus one region of Belgium had joined the scheme, while in 2009 twenty EU countries contributed data (although it is noteworthy that some years, data are missing for Estonia and Italy in the national farmland bird data; the missing data are imputed by the model). In 2014, aggregate data for 25 EU Member States became available for reference years 1990-2012. These data covered more species than at the previous delivery. In 2015, data covering 1990-2013 were delivered by the EBCC; four common species and one forest species were added to the lists. For reference year 2016, one common species was added. 


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Birds: the indices are used as sustainable development indicators, structural indicators (for the Lisbon strategy) and for Eurostat's Resource Efficiency scoreboard.

The index of common farmland birds is used as a baseline indicator of the Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the Rural Development Policy and as an agri-environmental indicator. The national farmland bird indices are published in the EU's annual reports on rural development. They will also be covered in the Handbook for the Common Agricultural Policy Indicators. The forest bird indicator was added to Forest Europe's list of indicators of sustainable forest management in 2015.

The indicator on protected areas and the common bird indices are used to assess the state of biodiversity in the EU, as part of the EU's Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.   

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Not available

12.3. Completeness

Protected areas: all Member States

Birds:

env_bio3 (i.e. EU aggregated data): The missing countries as of the 2018 data delivery (i.e. data for reference period 1990 - 2016) are Croatia and Malta.

env_bio2 (i.e. national farmland bird indices): please see data availability in the national farmland bird indices table.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Birds: good, judging by converging results of successive data deliveries of the EU-aggregates.   

13.2. Sampling error

Protected areas: not applicable

Birds, env_bio3: available for the three indices for th eentire published data series (95% confidence limits of the smoothed trend line of the model). 

13.3. Non-sampling error

Birds: areas that are difficult or too expensive to access may have been systematically excluded from the sample (e.g. mountains without road access, large bogs, etc.).


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Natura 2000 (protected areas): usually current year minus one (n-1).

Birds: usually n-2 (data delivered in Q3-Q4 of each year)

14.2. Punctuality

Not well defined, since data delivery depends on the organisation providing the data.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Protected areas and birds: good, because the methods are standardised.

Birds: good, because all countries use the same software (TRIM) to analyse their data. Data for the EU aggregates are weighted according to the size of the population of each species in the country and geometric means are used to construct the composite indices (see EBCC for details).

15.2. Comparability - over time

Protected areas: good, as shown by the steady progression of the published time series.

Birds: good because the entire time series is recalculated using a given model, each year, and the reuslt are compared against the earlier ones by the data providers. 

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Not applicable

15.4. Coherence - internal

not applicable


16. Cost and Burden Top

There is no burden at all for national statistical offices.

Protected areas: the data are part of the Member States' reporting obligations on the environment under the Habitats and Birds Directives 

Birds: the field work is organised by the national BirdLife partners and performed by volunteers in most countries, who only get their travel expenses reimbursed, if anything at all. The national partners also check the data; all this is a significant amount of work performed at a very low cost to the taxpayer at country level. For the production and improvement of the EU composite indicators from the national data on each species, the EBCC receives a grant payment from the European Commission.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Not applicable

17.2. Data revision - practice

Protected areas: annual update of the Biodiversity Barometer

Birds: a  complete revision every year, due to the modelling work involved.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Protected areas: administrative data, processed at the national level, plus processing by the European Commission.

Birds:

env_bio2: national data collection of field data per bird species, followed by processing and dispatch to the EBCC. National products may exist.

env_bio3: national data received by the EBCC and processsed to produce the EU composite indices

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Annual

18.3. Data collection

Protected areas: reporting obligations of the Member States under the Habitats and Birds Directives. The data are transmitted to the European Commission's Directorate General for the Environment, where they are compiled and published.

Birds: field observation of species on a fixed route (transect) or at a selected point in the landscape. These observations are recorded by a network of volunteer ornithologists coordinated within national schemes. The national species' data are processed with a software (TRIM) before they are transmitted to the EBCC, who produce the aggregated EU indices. The EBCC transmits the data to Eurostat. Please see the PECBMS website for further information.

18.4. Data validation

Protected areas: done by the European Topic Centre for Biodiversity, on behalf of the European Commission

Birds: this is national work, using the TRIM software

18.5. Data compilation

Protected areas: European Topic Centre for Biodiversity

Birds: Indices are first calculated for each species independently at the national level by producing a national population index per species.

Then, the national species indices are combined into supranational ones (using methods devised by Statistics Netherlands) by the EBCC. The method uses a weighting scheme to allow for the fact that different countries hold different proportions of the European population of each species. In a third step, the supranational indices for each species are then combined on a geometric scale to create a multi-species aggregate index at European level. See the EBCC website and the PECBMS website for more details.   

 

18.6. Adjustment

Not available


19. Comment Top

Not applicable


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top
2016 EU list of common bird species
2014 national lists of common farmland bird species