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Denmark’s biodiversity – project Biowide

”Biowide” is a major ambitious biodiversity project that aims to create new knowledge about – and commitment to – Denmark’s biodiversity. Biowide (Biodiversity in Width and Depth) takes place in collaboration with the two major Danish natural history museums and the University of Copenhagen, and the project has been initiated in 2014 with the support of the Villum Foundation.

During the first two years of the project, a host of professionals and volunteers collected data on the environment from the 130 sample plots–on everything from soil moisture, temperature, nutrients, plant biomass, trees, dead wood, stone and ant hills, expanses of water and flowers. The major effort has been collecting information on the plants, mosses, lichens, invertebrates and fungi that live in the surfaces. With the help of volunteers, we have attempted to map as much as possible. As far as mosses, plants and lichens, it is almost possible to comprehensive list, but for fungi and invertebrates we must accept the fact that it is impossible to find all species and that we do not have the expertise to determine all species. The lists of species can be seen on the website under sample plots. They continue to expand as the collected and sorted invertebrates are determined.  Finally, we collected soil from all surfaces for DNA sequencing in order to see which organisms have left DNA in the soil. Hopefully, this will help us gain a better understanding of the soil diversity. In 2016 and 2017, we will analyze the collected data and communicate the new knowledge to the outside world in scientific articles, presentations at conferences and journals in the national media.

In the project we have found many interesting species, and some of them were presented in the newspaper ”Weekendavisen” under the heading ”Ugens Usædvanlige” (”This weeks oddity”).

Methods for documentation

We develop methods for documenting and prioritizing nature conservation efforts and for targeting agricultural support funds for nature purposes.

  • The Biodiversity Map gives an overview of where to find endangered species in Denmark. Based  on the presence of species, the map indicates both national and local priority of the nature  areas. The map has been developed in collaboration with the Center of Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen. Read more here in this report (pdf).
  • The Prior map shows the state of nature and conservation needs for identified nature areas within the habitats. The state of nature and conservation needs are taken into account when preparing nature plans for the areas and form the basis of Denmark’s reporting on conservation status in accordance with the EU’s Habitats  Directive. Read more here in this report (pdf).
  • HNV Land is a map showing agricultural areas and open areas with high nature value, the so-called High Nature Value (HNV) areas. The map is used by the Danish AgriFish Agency to target some of the EU’s agricultural support towards areas with high nature value. Read more here on this site.
  • HNV Skov (HNV forest) is a map showing our current knowledge on the forests that have the highest nature value – the so-called High Nature Value (HNV) forests. The map will form the basis of field mapping of nature values in Danish forests in order to prioritize conservation efforts. The map has been developed in collaboration with IGN, University of Copenhagen. Read more here in this report (pdf).
  • At www.naturdok.dk, nature conservationist and private stakeholders can document goals and initiatives of nature conservation projects – which is beneficial for the development of evidence based nature conservancy and of use in their own administration.


In the Topic Center for Biodiversity and Terrestrial Nature, we collect, treat and disseminate data on species and habitats covered by national and international commitments, laws and directives. We prepare annual reports on the status and progress of birds covered by the Birds Directive (pdf) and species listed in the annexes of the Habitats Directive (pdf) and terrestrial habitats. Every 6 years, we are responsible for delivering the scientific basis for Denmark’s reporting on its conservation status (pdf) to the EU Commission.

The Danish Red List

We are responsible for the Danish Red List, which  is a list of endangered and threatened plant and animal species. The Red List is updated and developed in collaboration with a number of natural history experts, and in the period 2014 to 2019 the red list status for more than 12,000 species will be assessed. The plan is to expand the Red List with  a few species that are not currently on the red list, including mosses, ants  and aquatic beetles. During the first half of 2016, a new web based system is being developed, which experts can use to enter red list assessments and which will allow normal users easier access to extract data from the red list. By the end of 2015, 4.000 plus Danish species had been re-assessed, and during 2016 an additional 3-5000 species are expected to be re-assessed. Read more about the contents , design, function and background of the red list system in the Danish manual for red listing plant and animal species (pdf).

Nature conservation and restoration

We study rewilding as a sustainable strategy in nature conservation and restoration, based on the use of eDNA-methods and GPS-marking of e.g. red deer.

Dune management network

On paper, Denmark is a superpower when it comes to coastal dunes. However, unfortunately most locations do not have sufficient natural dynamics or bare sand. In the fall of 2015, the section held a workshop on dune management, where dune managers and scientists discussed how Danish dunes can be managed in order to create the best conditions for biodiversity. A dune management network has now been established with annual workshops and field trips and where we share expertise and views on dune management.

Excursion to the coastal dunes in Municipality of Jammerbugt in the autumn of 2015.

For more information about the network, contact Ane Kirstine Brunbjerg or request membership of the Facebook group ”Klitforvaltning i Danmark” (Dune management in Denmark).

Biodiversity in agricultural land

We study whether the efforts to improve habitats for field game also result in better habitats for the wide biodiversity in farmland and its small biotopes. Mapping of the biodiversity values is based on the concept ”eco space”, which describes the variation in the physicochemical living conditions and the biological resources – in other words, eco space is a way to measure  and rank areas and landscapes according to how many different habitats and living conditions they offer. The project is made stronger by collaboration between landowners, practitioners, consultants and scientists – this ensures that the  result is an applicable and science based assessment and improvement of the management of biodiversity in agricultural land. Read more about the project at Danmarks Jægerforbunds web page.