1 Tahrcountry Musings: More on monitoring - Capitalising on the resources devoted to monitoring activities

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

More on monitoring - Capitalising on the resources devoted to monitoring activities

Conservation cornerstones: Capitalising on the endeavours of long-term monitoring projects
Greg J. Holland, Jerry S.A. Alexander, Peter Johnson, Andrew H. Arnold, Merril Halley, Andrew F. Bennett

Biological Conservation,Pages 95-101,Volume 145, Issue 1

Monitoring programmes have become the cornerstone of many biodiversity conservation programs. However it remains a fact that many monitoring programs do not deliver what we want, due to inherent flaws. In the absence of good monitoring program, informed management intervention would not be possible.
 Here the researchers use a monitoring program from south-eastern Australia as a case study to illustrate the potential of such endeavours. The brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), which is threatened, has been monitored at various locations between 2000 and 2010. The researchers present strong evidence for a decline in relative abundance during this period. They also describe relationships with environmental variables.
The results provide insights likely to come in handy in guiding future management of the species. While early detection of population declines is important, knowledge of the processes driving such declines is required for effective management intervention.

The researchers argue that monitoring programs will be most effective as a tool for enhanced conservation management if they test specific hypotheses relating to changes in population trajectories. According to them greater emphasis should be placed on rigorous statistical analysis of monitoring datasets in order to capitalise on the resources devoted to monitoring activities. Many datasets are likely to exist for which careful analysis of results would have benefits for determining management directions.

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