Description and meaning of the component:

The development of biotope areas is included to consider the changes in biodiversity. Biodiversity is an essential basis of the stability of ecosystems, of people’s life and health and thus of great importance for the welfare not only of current but also of future generations. It contributes to the maintenance of soil fertility and the natural air and water purification and is therefore a crucial part of well-functioning ecosystems.

At the same time, the global decline of species, natural habitat and genetic diversity is progressing unhindered. In 2005, the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment on behalf of the United Nations found, that the last 50 years were characterized by the fastest human-induced biodiversity changes in human history. Similar results have been found in Germany, too; they are reflected in the national biodiversity strategy.

The habitat change caused by a transformation in land use, for example from ecologically relevant open areas or agrarian land to settlement areas, belongs to the most important forces. The de- and increase of biotope areas is therefore a suitable indicator to identify changes in biodiversity.

Description of Indicator trends:

A calculation based on available data for the period between 1990 and 2000 shows losses amounting to 657 million and gains of 656 million euro. This means a net loss of monetized biotope area of  (only) 1,9 million euro over ten years. Unconsidered have been massive increases in forest areas coming from other types of areas like natural grasslands as well as quarrying areas (380 km²). In the years between 2000 and 2006 the net loss amounted to 220 million euro: This particularly reflects the trends of intensification of agriculture and increasing building development. For the period between 1990 and 2000 the annual losses were 187.000 euro, for the time between 2000 and 2006 the losses were 36,65 million euro per year. Because no recent data is available the value from the year 2006 is put into the time series since then.

However, the results can merely be regarded as “planned item”, and their development is so far not interpretable from a biodiversity perspective. This is the case for the following reasons:

  • The existing systems the categorization of areas does not allow for a sufficient differentiation of biotope types, especially with regard to more or less intensive use.
  • Important changes could not be valued so far because values for the initial and/or final state of biotopes are missing. For this reason a supplement of the approach by more precise data regarding nature conservation and more comprehensive catalogue of value estimations seem indispensable. Furthermore, the consideration of very long development periods of biotopes is necessary.