Agricultural Biodiversity Monitoring Network MBAG gets up to speed
As biodiversity in the agricultural area continues to decline, the Flemish Beleidsnota Omgeving (2019-2024) announced an 'Agricultural Biodiversity Monitoring Network' (MBAG, 'Meetnet Biodiversiteit van het Agrarisch Gebied'). This monitoring network has been rolled out since April 2023 and consists of several modules:
- MBAG-Birds builds on the 2022 pilot project Agrarian Species Monitoring Network in the Eastern Leemstreek and the Moeren. This year we also counted birds in the Western Leemstreek and the Zandleemstreek, and from 2024 all Flemish agricultural areas will be covered. At least 10% of the counts are done by volunteers.
- MBAG-Pollinators builds on the experience from the SPRING project, in which European pollinator monitoring is being prepared.
- In MBAG-Soil Biodiversity, INBO and ILVO measure soil biodiversity through eDNA metabarcoding. Using genetic material in the soil samples from the Flemish soil carbon monitoring network, we collect knowledge about the organisms present.
- In MBAG-Aquatic macroinvertebrates, VMM measures macroinvertebrates in surface water in agricultural areas, in addition to nitrate and phosphate.
- Through MBAG-Biological Valuation Map (BWK), the BWK is being updated in a number of pilot areas in the agricultural area, as a basis for area-wide mapping through smart image recognition.
- MBAG-Preparing Natural Environment Monitoring Networks monitors the state of the natural environment in natural areas affected by agriculture. This monitoring programme aims to find out why the conservation status of some habitat types is unfavourable and/or insufficiently moving in the desired direction.
MBAG statistical support and MBAG data management modules support the whole. More info can be found on the 'Agriculture' theme page on our website.
Myriam Dumortier and Peter Van Gossum
Image: Lapwing (photo Glenn Vermeersch)