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No. 460: Development of a Danish nature indicator (DNI)

Ejrnæs, R., Bladt, J., Dalby, L., Pedersen, P.B.M., Fløjgaard, C., Levin, G., Baaner, L., Brunbjerg, A.K., Mellerup, K., Angelidis, I. & Nygaard, B. 2021. Udvikling af en dansk naturindikator (DNI). Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 58 s. - Videnskabelig rapport nr. 460. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR460.pdf


This report presents the development of a Danish Nature Indicator (DNI).  The nature indicator presented here expands previous biodiversity mapping efforts such as the High Nature Value map (Brunbjerg et al. 2016), the Biodiversity map (Ejrnæs et al. 2014) and the Nature Capital Index (Ejrnæs et al. 2021A). In contrast to these previous efforts, DNI also incorporates the strength of nature protection legislation and restoration of the natural processes in the ecosystems. Hence DNI covers the most important aspects of the land sparing concept.

The Danish Nature Indicator consists of three dimensions: state of nature, protection and natural processes. The state of nature dimension is based on the calculated bioscore from the Biodiversity map. Protection is based on expert evaluation of the most important threats against biodiversity and expert evaluation of the danish legislation to protect against these threats. Processes is based on simple indicator models for how close the current grazing regime is to a natural state. Likewise, for coastal dynamics and hydrology. The grazing regime is evaluated by integrating the diversity of the grazing mammal fauna, the density of grazing animals and the degree to which animals are managed. Coastal dynamics is evaluated by considering the degree of man-made coastal protection to stop flooding from the sea and by evaluating the degree of sanddrift control measures. Hydrology is evaluated based on indicators for drainage of wetlands.

The Danish Nature Indicator is publicly available as a web application where the calculated DNI score and its distribution can be seen for any given terrestrial area in Denmark. Precalculated spatial aggregations such as municipalities, national parks and Natura 2000 areas are also available for comparison.

The national mapping of state, protection and processes reveals that despite important areas of conservation value along coasts, in river valleys, in forested and hilly landscapes, Denmark lacks strictly protected areas as well as areas with room for natural processes.