The monitoring approach integrates the studies of soil, vegetation and selected animal groups. In total, six permanent plots representing different stages of succession were established. Two plots each were set up at the pioneer, the shrub and the woodland stages.
The heterogeneity within the plots does not allow generalisations regarding succession on industrial abandoned land. Instead, the monitoring aims to document, through examples, the development of and mutual interactions between soil, vegetation and fauna during succession from pioneer to late-successional stages of industrial woodlands. According to the “space-for-time" method, a comparison of plots at different stages of succession will allow tendencies in successional trends to be described (Pickett 1989, Nobis 1998, Purtauf et al. 2004).
The monitoring program is funded by the Okologie Programm Emscher Lippe (OPEL; Ecology Program of Emscher Lippe) and the State Agency for Ecology (LOBF). The LOBF co-ordinates the work which is carried out by the University of Essen, the State Agency for Environment, LUA (soil analysis), experts of the LOBF, the University of Bochum, and independent researchers (on vegetation dynamics, selected animal groups).