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01/01/2008 - 31/12/2013

Securing the Conservation of Biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal and Ecological Scales.

The general objective of SCALES is to provide the most appropriate assessment tools and policy instruments to foster our capacity for biodiversity conservation across spatial and temporal scales and to disseminate them to a wide range of users.

List of partners

Aristotelio Panepistimo Thessalonikis, Greece

University of Leeds, UK

Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France

Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Poland

Lunds Universitet, Sweden

Natural Environment Research Council, UK

Suomen Ymparistokeskus, Finland

Median S.C.P.                            Spain

PENSOFT Publishers Ltd, Bulgaria

Universität Bayreuth, Germany

Helsingin Yliopisto, Finland

Tartu Ülikool, Estonia

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France

Universität Bern, Switzerland

Fundaçao da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

The University of Queensland, Australia

Centre za Kartografijo Favne in Flore Zavod, Slovenia

Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Catalunya, Spain

Institute for European Environmental Policy, Belgium

Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, Sweden

Vilniaus Universiteto Ekologijos Institutas , Lithuania

Stiftelsen Norsk Institutt for Naturforskning, Norway

Debreceni Egyetem, Hungary

University of Kent, UK

Work pakages

  • WP 1: Understanding combinations of anthropogenic and natural processes across scales
  • WP 2: Scaling biotic processes
  • WP 3: Up- and down-scaling methods: cross-scale method development
  • WP 4: Multi-level governance and policy instruments
  • WP 5: Testing the practical suitability and matching of methods and policy instruments
  • WP 6: Synthesis: Integration and development of SCALETOOL
  • WP 7: Dissemination and Science-policy dialogue
  • WP 8: Coordination


WP1: Understanding combinations of anthropogenic and natural processes across scales

(Simon Potts, Co-ordinator)

Policy and socio-economic drivers and natural processes operating at different administrative and spatial scales determine the directionality and intensity of anthropogenic processes and their effects on biodiversity. In this WP, we study their interactive effects across scales with an integrated analysis consisting of three steps. First, we describe and analyse anthropogenic processes at different spatial scales to derive a typology of pressures. We then analyse the interactive effects of anthropogenic and natural processes across scales during the past 50-100 years and project future developments under different scenarios, and finally we assess habitat loss and fragmentation across policy and species relevant scales to identify habitats at greatest risk and habitats of critical importance for regional connectivity.

WP 2: Scaling biotic processes

(Bill Kunin, Co-ordinator)

WP2 concerns how natural and anthropogenic environmental changes affect biodiversity across multiple scales. We consider the effects of environmental pressures at levels of biological organisation ranging from genetic diversity within species, through the scaling of populations and their viability, up to the scaling of species diversity and community composition, and ecosystem function. These collectively rely on a database of key species traits, especially dispersal characteristics, and then come together in a more general consideration of the scaling of conservation effectiveness. We will conduct comprehensive (but necessarily low intensity) studies across wide taxonomic groupings and intensive studies of a few focal species as exemplars (and to test the accuracy of the less detailed analyses). The research will focus on birds, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, carabid beetles, bees, wasps, and vascular plants, allowing us to examine biodiversity scaling for species differing greatly in body size, mobility, and (crucially) in data quality, and to evaluate methods appropriate both for comprehensively mapped taxa and those with less complete distributional data. We do not include scaling of habitat properties in this WP because this will be covered extensively in the recently started EU-project EBONE but we will integrate results from EBONE in WP2.

WP3: Up- and down-scaling methods: cross-scale method development

(Yiannis Matsinos, Co-ordinator)

WP3 will review, evaluate, and improve methods to support the cross-scale analyses in WPs 1, 2&5. WP3.1 will expand software for optimization of networks of protected areas to cover multiple administrative levels with different conservation priorities. It will further allow freely scalable methods for determining conservation priorities at different administrative levels. WP3.2 will develop methods for analyzing cross-scale fragmentation and population viability with a focus on minimum area requirements. WP3.3 will develop uspscaling and downscaling tools and methods for inferring coarse scale biodiversity assessment from point estimates, which then will be used especially in WP2.4&5. WP3.4 will develop uncertainty models, including multilevel statistical models, to scrutinize results from analyses of biodiversity scaling. WP3.5 will develop methods for optimizing species monitoring across scales.

WP4: Multi-level governance and policy instruments

(Jukka Similä, Co-ordinator)

This WP will identify key aspects of major policy instruments both at EU and national levels that reflect their scale sensitivity and effectiveness. Based on this evaluation, WP4 will provide recommendations how to improve policy instruments. Instruments that will be analyzed include the EU Habitats and Birds Directives and their national implementation, as well as other relevant sector specific instruments governing anthropogenic processes, which generate pressure on protected habitats and the landscape outside protected areas. Due to the complexity of the causes and the processes of fragmentation as well as other problems occurring at and across different scales, no single instrument is likely to be effective alone. Hence special emphasis will be put on the interaction of policies across and within different administrative levels and sectors - in other words, WP4 emphasises multi-level governance approaches. To this end, the mechanisms through which instruments influence behaviour and practice at different administrative levels will be analysed. In a first task, we will address EU policies, in a second task, national policies, and in a third task innovative policy instruments. All three tasks will pass on their results to WP5 for evaluating their matching with scale-dependent biodiversity processes and assessment methods and for further development of policy improvements, to WP6 for integration into policy recommendations, and to WP7 for science-policy dialogues.

WP5: Testing the practical suitability and matching of methods and policy instruments

(John Pantis, Co-ordinator)

The testing will be carried out across 4 geographic scales (local-regional, national, biogeographic, and EU). Five countries are selected for case studies based on biogeographic, socio-economic, and conservation history criteria (UK, Finland, Poland, Greece, and France). Testing on the local-regional scale will be carried out within the five case study countries and the selection of the specific case regions will depend on the results of WPs1-4 and the specific assumptions of the methodological approaches that need to be tested. It is envisaged that within each case study country, regional testing may involve comparison of contrasting regions in terms of both ecological and socio-economic parameters in order to test the general applicability of the methods (e.g. rural-urban regions, upland-lowland areas - islands, etc.). The work is structured into four interacting sub-workpackages. WP5.1 will collate existing datasets for the testing and evaluation and assess the degree of their standardization. WP5.2 will test combinations of methods and policy instruments in relation to the coherence and ecological sufficiency of networks of protected areas across administrative levels, WP5.3 in relation to regional connectivity, and WP5.4 in relation to monitoring biodiversity across scales.

(Vesna Grobelnik, Co-ordinator)


WP6 will translate results of the previous WPs into policy recommendations and integrates them with the databases, promising methods and policy instruments, as well as background information into a comprehensive framework, the web based support tool kit (SCALETOOL), which will facilitate access to the results of SCALES and will assist governmental and non-governmental organisations as well as conservation biologists in ensuring sustainable conservation across scales Although the specifics of the integration will depend on the results of these workpackages, the integration will follow three main lines: a) integrating results relevant for assessing and ensuring coherence and ecological sufficiency of networks of protected areas and for ensuring regional connectivity; b) integrating results relevant for assessing status and trend and underlying causes from (changes in) biodiversity patterns at different scales; c) facilitating access to and use of databases, methods, models, and background information produced by SCALES.

WP7: Dissemination and Science-policy dialogue

(Lyubomir Penev, Co-ordinator)

The work is composed of three tasks: a) to present and disseminate project results to a wide range of users (decision makers, managers, conservation scientists, and amateur naturalist) and the public; b) training for managers and other stakeholders of Natura2000, as well as PhD students and postdocs; c) establishment and maintenance of a continuous science-policy dialogue.

WP8: Coordination

(Klaus Henle & Josef Settele, Co-ordinators)

Implementation of the coordination structure. Work and information flow among the WPs will be coordinated and supervised by the Project Coordinator, research within WPs by the WP leaders. WP leaders, the overall coordinator, and representatives from an Advisory Board of Stakeholders will form a Steering Committee to jointly guarantee a smooth organisation and scientific integration of SCALES. Decisions within the Steering Committee will be reached by consensus.

Communication flow. We have set-up an internal communication system among partners primarily using email and an Intranet portal to regularly monitor progress. Regularly updated time schedules are placed on a prominent location of the Intranet pages. There will be a Kick-off meeting at the end of the pre-phase of the project and three main workshops approximately at months 18, 36, and 50 for the whole consortium to facilitate coordination and integration of research and results. The last one will be held together with the final conference of SCALES. The Steering Committee will also meet during these workshops. An Advisory Board of Stakeholders will be established and invited to all main workshops. During these meetings we will review progress and control quality of results. The intricate network of interactions among members and with the Advisory Board allows a particularly thorough quality control of the work. We will produce three intermediate reports for Brussels and use a six-monthly internal reporting schedule. The coordination WP will establish links and secure cooperation with other relevant EU projects.


This project is supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).

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