Using the Crick Framework

First developed during Phase 1 of the Making Earth Observation Work (MEOW) detailed habitat mapping project , and refined as part of Phase 2, the Crick Framework provides a way to categorise how well Earth Observation (EO) techniques can be used to identify particular habitat and features on the ground (e.g. many features of grassland habitats can be identified with EO and clarified with field survey, but subtidal habitats are very poorly characterised by current EO techniques).

EO data and techniques differentiate vegetation types and habitats by identifying specific features that are shown up by different spectral bands or combinations of bands.  In the same way that some plants are easy to identify because of the colour and shape of their leaves in field survey, some plants can similarly be easily identified from imagery.  Where these plants comprise some of the main cover species of a habitat then this habitat can be picked out with relative certainty.  Where two habitats are more difficult to distinguish – they have similar spectral features, or cover small areas of ground, etc – the habitats may be distinguishable using both spectral data and ancillary datasets.  This wide range of interacting factors has been considered along with ecological knowledge, to develop a generic classification system that proposes categories (tiers) of habitat groups (Figure 1).

This set of Tiers is the first and most accessible component of the Crick Framework, providing a categorisation for habitats, based on existing ability to map and monitor them using EO, with or without ancillary data sets.  The framework has been designed to consider Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority habitats and Habitats Directive Annex I habitats, which are necessary for EU reporting targets.  

Crick Framework updated tiers

Figure 1: (Click to enlarge) Tier diagram for the Crick Framework, categorising habitats based on the EO and ancillary data required to map them. VHR = Very High Resolution (<10m per pixel).

Using the framework

A detailed spreadsheet has been created, which provides, for each BAP Priority and Annex 1 habitat: (1) the Tier classification, (2) a detailed habitat description, and (3), the relevant EO methods and ancillary data requirements; this spreadsheet can be downloaded below.  Greater detail on how the Tier system works and information on BAP priority and Annex I habitats held in the Crick Framework database are explained in the User Manual, which can also be downloaded below.  Figure 2 shows a number of scenarios for application of the Crick Framework to assist with mapping habitats.

Worked examples

Figure 2: (Click to enlarge) Scenarios for using the Crick Framework


Crick Framework Resources

Figure 1 - Tier diagram of the Crick Framework

Figure 2 - Scenarios for using the Crick Framework

User Manual for the Crick Framework

Spreadsheet with the Crick Framework applied to detailed habitat definitions