Abstract Within the context of the European legislative (e.g. Water Framework Directive, Natura 2000 network) monitoring and assessment of wetland areas are of great significance. This research points out the relevance of spatially explicit habitat models as an essential part of a decision support system for lake shore management. The Great Reed Warbler ( Acrocephalus arundinaceus L.) was selected as a key species of aquatic reed structures. Many results of investigation about breeding behaviour of this German Red List species are available. The factors of selecting a breeding range were modelled in a Geographic Information System (GIS) using indices that quantify the corresponding spatial characteristics of patches in the ecosystem (e.g. shape complexity or distance to other vegetation structures). A habitat suitability map was created for a nature conservation area at Lake Constance, Germany. The observed breeding places in the investigation area showed a great coincidence with the modelled habitat ranges. This modelling approach of integrating spatial indicators is an important basis to provide automated monitoring systems based on remote sensing methods.