Generating scientific knowledge, synchronising baseline data and conducting monitoring for subterranean habitats in Luxembourg

Abstract

 

Underground cavities have a high cultural value. As a deposit of prehistoric artifacts and paintings, they provide information about the life of our ancestors and, with their sinter formations, serve as a magnet for tourists and as a climate archive. Yet, the simultaneously high natural value of underground cavities as a structurally rich habitat is often lost.
In Central Europe, around 20 species of bats and about 450 mainly invertebrate animals depend on subterranean terrestrial habitats. The European Union’s Habitats Directive (92/43/EU) recognizes the ecological importance of subterranean sites and protects “caves not open to the public” as a specific habitat type (8310), which implies also a regular reporting to the EU. In Luxembourg, there is no reporting on LRT8310 and no basic status assessment available. Furthermore, semi-natural and artificial underground habitats such as caves, abandoned quarries and mines are recognized and protected as important ecosystems in Luxembourg via the Biotope Protection (BK22). For this reason, the project will

a) provide a basic data collection on the status of LRT8310 and BK22-relevant subterranean habitats in Luxembourg,
b) develop and carry out a representative national monitoring for LRT8310, and
c) scientifically study individual subterranean sites, cave-dwelling organisms and biotopes.

Together, these aspects will produce important scientific findings which will be incorporated into nature and species protection plans at various levels. The data generated will over time lead to a better general understanding of the drivers of the decline in underground biodiversity and serve to develop scientifically sound countermeasures.

Project status

  • Project granted by the Fonds d’environnement of the MECDD. Duration: 6 years (30.09.2020 – 31.06.2026).
  • Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.
  • Partners: MECDD, ANF, Groupe Spéléologique Luxembourgeois (GSL), ProChirop, Dieter Weber & Hannah Weigand

Contact

National Museum of Natural History (MNHNL)
Research center
Life science department
25, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg

Publications

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