Field surveys in practice

Since Biodiversity Monitoring Switzerland used to be one of the first of its kind worldwide, many surveying methods needed to be specifically developed first. Depending on species groups and sampling networks, fieldworkers inspect each sampling area up to seven times a year in order to count plants and animals found there.

Surveying methods used vary greatly depending on species groups and sampling networks they target. While surveys covering species diversity in habitats take place in numerous small circles, surveys covering species diversity in landscapes require a series of large areas to be searched for plants or animals. Still, all field surveys share the importance of covering the exact same area using the exact same method each time. 

Surveys for species diversity in landscapes

Fieldworkers record all vascular plants, butterflies and breeding birds found in an area of 1 square kilometer in size. To do so, they usually follow a precisely predefined track along trails or roads.

Sampling surveys step by step

Surveys for species diversity in habitats

Fieldworkers record select species groups found in only a small area – typically 10 square meters on land or 5-100 meters along a watercourse. Vascular plants are identified directly on the spot, whereas mosses, mollusks and aquatic insects are sampled in the field to be subsequently identified by specialized laboratories.

Sampling surveys step by step