NLo - Nature-Lookout
Nature-Lookout is a citizens' science programme on common species tracking (flora and fauna) on a national scale, through networks of volunteer observers.
Based on simple and strict protocols, it offers everyone the chance to contribute to research and discover the biodiversity that surrounds us. Created in 1989, the Nature-Lookout program has been strengthened, and is now tracking new groups: butterflies, bats, snails, pollinators, dragonflies, urban wild plants, etc. By providing scientists with critical field data throughout France, voluntary observers participate in the improvement of knowledge on ordinary biodiversity and its responses to global changes (urbanisation, climate change, etc.).
Nature-Lookout in brief:
- Follow-ups to large-scale and long-term common species, through voluntary observer networks involved in data collection throughout France, using simple and binding protocols.
- Partnerships between associations that animate the networks of observers, and the National Museum of Natural History, which performs the analysis of data collected.
Monitoring records of various indicator groups (birds, bats, plants, snails, butterflies, wild pollinators) are used to document regional biodiversity indicators, updated annually, comparable from one region to another, directly derived from the indicators adopted by France and by Europe, to which they in turn contribute.
Nature-Lookout has a purpose, namely answering key questions on ordinary biodiversity, which represents the majority, when measured as a biomass, of the fauna and the flora of our region:
- What about the quantitative evolution of our fauna and flora? Beyond threatened species (which are the subject of other studies), which species are increasing in frequency or on the contrary tending to decrease?
- How do common species respond to different human pressures (increasing fragmentation of ecosystems, intensification or abandonment of agriculture, urbanisation)?
- What is the impact of climate change on these species?
- Are our fauna and flora subject to an increasing homogenisation, i.e. a general decline of specialist species in favour of some generalist species? This has already been observed in birds and butterflies, but it remains to be analysed for other groups, such as flora, bats, snails.
Target groups: education authorities, general public, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers
Topic: Agriculture, Applied sciences, Biology, Earth science, Ecology, Environmental sciences, Forestry science, Genetics, Geography, Zoology, Education
Contact person: Romain Julliard Julliard (at) mnhn.fr
The observations sent for several years by the participants of Nature-Lookout to the Natural History Museum scientists have helped collect a significant amount of data on the state of ordinary biodiversity, throughout France and over long periods. This long-term monitoring in collaboration between researchers, associations, and volunteer observers helps advance our knowledge on biodiversity.
The recent study published in Nature, ‘Climate Change on migration paths connected to the "climate hunt" for birds and butterflies in Western Europe’ is emblematic: 1.5 million hours of observations by thousands of observers!
Amongst these datasets are those collected over 20 years by volunteer ornithologists at STOC (Suivi Temporel des Oiseaux Communs - Temporal Monitoring of Common Birds). STOC data is also used to establish many indicators of the health of common birds in France and Europe.
Nature-Lookout is more than ever a network of citizens who help science advance through the long term monitoring of critical target species (birds, butterflies, bats, snails, urban wild plants, and so on).
In its facet designed for schools, the citizens’ science programme Nature-Lookout allows teachers to educate students about biodiversity by participating in a real research programme. This participatory project is an original introductory tool for scientific inquiry and promotes direct contact with nature through field trips feasible in or near the school grounds.
Seven observatories are offered to teachers from kindergarten to high school: pollinators, snails, urban wild plants, bats, worms, seaweeds, birds. On the dedicated website educational tools are also offered, specially developed to enable teachers to appropriate protocols and easily implement this research programme with their students.