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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

National Inventory of Landscapes in Sweden (NILS)-scope, design, and experiences from establishing a multiscale biodiversity monitoring system

Ståhl, Göran; Allard, Anna; Esseen, Per-Anders; Glimskär, Anders Ove; Hedström Ringvall, Anna; Svensson, Johan; Sundquist, Sture; Christensen, Pernilla; Gallegos Torell, Åsa; Högström, Mats; Lagerqvist, Kjell; Nilsson, Liselott; Nilsson, Björn; Inghe, Ola


The landscape-level and multiscale biodiversity monitoring program National Inventory of Landscapes in Sweden (NILS) was launched in 2003. NILS is conducted as a sample-based stratified inventory that acquires data across several spatial scales, which is accomplished by combining aerial photo interpretation with field inventory. A total of 631 sample units are distributed across the land base of Sweden, of which 20% are surveyed each year. By 2007 NILS completed the first 5-year inventory phase. As the reinventory in the second 5-year phase (2008 2012) proceeds, experiences and insights accumulate and reflections are made on the setup and accomplishment of the monitoring scheme. In this article, the emphasis is placed on background, scope, objectives, design, and experiences of the NILS program. The main objective is to collect data for and perform analyses of natural landscape changes, degree of anthropogenic impact, prerequisites for natural biological diversity and ecological processes at landscape scale. Different environmental conditions that can have direct or indirect effects on biological diversity are monitored. The program provides data for national and international policy and offers an infrastructure for other monitoring program and research projects. NILS has attracted significant national and international interest during its relatively short time of existence; the number of stakeholders and cooperation partners steadily increases. This is constructive and strengthens the incentive for the multiscale monitoring approach.


Aerial photo interpretation; Field survey; Land cover; Landscape changes; Landscape pattern

Published in

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
2011, Volume: 173, number: 1-4, pages: 579-595
Publisher: SPRINGER