What is The Biological Valuation Map?
The Biological Valuation Map (BVM) is a uniform field-driven survey of the land cover and vegetation in the Flemish Region. The map is drawn at a detailed scale of 1/10.000. Land cover classes and vegetation types are defined by an extensive list of legend units. For fast and easy interpretation the survey is also translated into a biological valuation and depicted by a colour code on the map.
- biologically less valuable (white)
- biologically valuable (green)
- biologically very valuable (dark green)
- areas of faunistic importance (red hatching)
A uniform field driven survey
Most of the Flemish surface is visited by scientists and technicians during an intensive field survey. Built areas and intensively used agricultural zones are mapped in less detail.
To complete the mapping of such a vast surface within a reasonable time scale we normally visit an area only once. Nevertheless, we can reach an accurate result by mapping an area in the most appropriate time of the year, namely the flowering season of the dominant or typical species of a specific vegetation. The data is being digitized with a geographical information system. Aerial photographs, maps and other GIS layers are used to collect additional information.
In Belgium and especially Flanders we have a long tradition in mapping biotopes and habitats. In 1978 we started with a mapping project called the Biological Valuation Map. Originally, the BVM was an explicit demand of the government. Since then this map has become a primary tool for a wide variety of applications concerning nature conservation and environmental issues. Currently we are in the final stage of the second version of the BVM. The first version, which ran from 1978 to 1996, turned out to be a global overview of the biologically valuable landscapes . In the second version the list of mapping codes has been greatly extended, overall detail greatly improved and accuracy is higher due to more intensive fieldwork and better cooperation between the field workers.