Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement (Jan 2009)

An ArcGIS-based tool for the relational data management assistance of Natura 2000 habitat units in the Walloon Region, Belgium

  • Barbier Y.,
  • Lejeune P.,
  • Dufrêne M.,
  • Rondeux J.

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 2
pp. 243 – 248


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The Natura 2000 network designation stems from two important European conservation directives (79/409/EEC and 92/43/EEC). Each EU member state was instructed to draw up a national list of Natura 2000 conservation sites. This has largely been done. The next step is to specify what action has to be taken and what needs to be controlled in these sites by means of specific designation acts. In the Walloon Region in Belgium, the designation acts have to include a full description of the site and the habitats composing it. For this purpose, field biologists have been making a detailed inventory of all Natura 2000 sites. Land use and habitats are mapped into a Geographic Information System (ArcGIS) and a full description of them (including information needed to describe conservation states) is stored in a relational database (Access). The main problem is ensuring data integrity between the cartographic and database systems, which are completely separate. The technical solution that has been developed is an original set of tools integrated into the ArcGIS interface. These tools offer a variety of functions that enable users to create dynamic links between ArcGIS and Access. A tool will also carry out batch synchronization between the two systems.