About us

The Dutch Botanical Research Foundation FLORON was founded in 1988 and is the leading organization in the Netherlands for monitoring flora with volunteers. Every year, 800-1000 km2 (1/30th part of the country) is monitored as part of a citizen science project that started already in 1901. In the Netherlands, identifying plants and mapping their distribution is primarily carried out by volunteers.

 

National Database Flora and Fauna

Observation data collected by both volunteers and professionals is stored and managed in the National Database Flora and Fauna (NDFF), which contains datasets from several data owners. New observations of plants are validated by a group of 50 volunteers. FLORON has full access to the data for research and improvement of monitoring schemes.

Volunteers who are top-contributors and validators may access the data through the NDFF Atlas and use (aggregated) observation data for publications and preparation of their field work.

 

Network Ecological Monitoring

Monitoring of flora and fauna is supported by the Dutch government in the Network Ecological Monitoring (NEM). Within the NEM program, FLORON carries out three long-term citizen science projects: 

  1. Mapping species occurring in kilometer squares. Participants spend a day in the field within a grid cell of 1 km2 and try to find as many plant species as possible. Precise locations of rare species are collected.
  2. Visiting under-recorded areas. Every year, an algorithm determines which 5x5 km squares have been insufficiently covered by project 1. The grid squares can be claimed by a volunteer on an interactive map. FLORON covers travel expenses for volunteers willing to travel to these areas.
  3. Revisiting "forgotten" sites with rare plants. When the last recording date of a plant lies between 5 and 15 years ago, the location appears on an interactive map. Volunteers may claim a site in order to try to rediscover the species to keep to database up-to-date. Extra effort is spend on the Natura2000-protected Luronium natans and Apium repens.


Automated workflow

Since 2011 the workflows for data collection, validation and map production have been automated:

  1. Grid square reservation for citizen science projects in the NDFF Atlas
  2. NOVA Android app for recording in the field
  3. NDFF validation portal
  4. Retrieval of species lists and maps in the NDFF Atlas


Volunteer support

About 250 volunteers contribute to these projects regularly, and 1500 incidentally. FLORON staff provides technical support where necessary. Most time is spend on communication in order to get more volunteers involved in these projects. Social media and electronic newsletters are the main way to communicate with volunteers.

Data use

Together with Statistics Netherlands, annual flora trends are produced at national and regional level. These are used for reports on Natura2000 species and updates of the national Red List. FLORON also provides trends of indicator species in the Living Planet Report series by WWF Netherlands.


Species conservation

Using observation data FLORON identifies sites with endangered plants. In cases where generic management and measures fail for endangered species, FLORON advices site owners on the protection. Recently FLORON rescued populations of  Phyteuma nigrum and Scorzonera humilis by enlarging and reinforcing populations with hand pollination of the remaining individuals and ex situ propagation.


NATIONAL PARTNERS 

National partners include Ministry of Economic Affairs, Wageningen Ecological Research, Statistics Netherlands, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Product Safety Authority/NVWA, WWF Netherlands, IUCN Netherlands, Dutch Provinces/BIJ12, and the species conservation organizations in the National Database Flora and Fauna.


International partnerships


NLBIF and GBIF

FLORON co-operates with NLBIF, the national GBIF node. NLBIF provides funding for digitization projects and the standard list of plant names. FLORON hosts an IPT-server for sharing historical observations with scientists around the globe.


Planta Europa

FLORON is member of the steering committee of Planta Europa.

 

Recording wild plants


Observation recorded with a smartphone in the NDFF Atlas


Detailed observations of a visit in the NDFF Atlas



NDFF Atlas with species distribution, annual trend, description and images.