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Biodiversity indicators for an effect-based nature supplementation scheme

Result-based agro-environmental measures (RB-AEM) have been put into use in several other EU countries or are being tested in pilot projects in different regions or small areas. The purpose is generally to change the focus of area management from making specific efforts to increasing focus on the results and providing more flexibility for the individual landowner regarding how to achieve this.

In 2018, under the auspices of the integrated LIFE project, Landmanden som naturforvalter (The farmer as a nature conservationist) (IP LIFE), the Danish Agricultural Agency launched development work to identify and test biodiversity indicators for use in an effect-based area subsidy scheme under the rural development program. This work has taken place in a pilot project in the period 2018-2021 and has resulted in the following products:

  • A academic report containing a subject catalogue of more than 23 potential biodiversity indicators. The indicators have been selected with a view of being general and useful across the nature types meadow, bog, heath, grassland and beach meadow, as well as more cultured natural areas under nature development, but also for areas with different types of management. The indicators reflect both the current state of the natural areas and the quality of the management in relation to creating and maintaining habitats for their species.
  • A technical instruction describing the methods of data collection for 10 selected structural indicators and 38 species indicators and ensuring that they are collected according to a uniform and reproducible method. The technical instructions have been tested in the field in 2020 at 54 locations in the LIFE IP area by the Danish Agricultural Agency’s inspectors and the municipalities' employees, who work with nature. The technical instructions also contain registration forms with 38 species indicators, 10 structure indicators and 9 process indicators, which were tested by selected landowners in the LIFE IP area in the summer of 2021.
  • A report with detailed descriptions of the 38 indicator plants and the possibility of mistaking them.
  • A note with a proposal for a scoring system for the selected biodiversity indicators. Scoring is based on analyses of data from the data collection in 2020.
  • A note with an updated points system including indicators for grazing process.
  • Excerpts from the technical instructions, including the forms for registering 38 species indicators, 10 structure indicators and 9 process indicators to be tested by selected landowners in the summer of 2021.


  • The documents below are mainly in Danish
  • Fagligt notat: Forslag til biodiversitetsindikatorer og pointsystem til pilotordning
  • Teknisk anvisning: Registrering af indikatorer til måling af effekten af arealbaseret naturpleje på bio-diversitet og naturtilstand til brug i pilotårene 2020 og 2021
  • Teknisk anvisning: Bilag 5.2 for udskrift til brug i felten i 2021