Article

Why most conservation monitoring is, but need not be, a waste of time. J Env Manag

School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Crew Building, King's Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JN, Scotland.
Journal of Environmental Management (Impact Factor: 3.19). 02/2006; 78(2):194-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.04.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ecological conservation monitoring programmes abound at various organisational and spatial levels from species to ecosystem. Many of them suffer, however, from the lack of details of goal and hypothesis formulation, survey design, data quality and statistical power at the start. As a result, most programmes are likely to fail to reach the necessary standard of being capable of rejecting a false null hypothesis with reasonable power. Results from inadequate monitoring are misleading for their information quality and are dangerous because they create the illusion that something useful has been done. We propose that conservation agencies and those funding monitoring work should require the demonstration of adequate power at the outset of any new monitoring scheme.

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    • "Below, a review is provided of the central requirements relating to the development of a nascent annual monitoring scheme for plants in the UK, namely, the new National Plant Monitoring Scheme (Walker et al., 2015). SCHEME DESIGN The power of a scheme to detect change The statistical power to detect a specified level of change is often highlighted as a key preliminary for the design of any new monitoring scheme (Legg & Nagy, 2006), and much work has been carried out in recent years aiming to develop new models for estimating power that are appropriate to different types of monitoring data (e.g. Roy, Rothery & Brereton, 2007; Irvine & Rodhouse, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Interest in citizen science has been increasing rapidly, although the reviews available to date have not clearly outlined the links between the long-established practice of recording plant species' distributions for local and national atlases, or other recording projects, and the gradual development of more structured monitoring schemes that also rely on volunteer effort. We provide a review of volunteer-based plant monitoring in Britain and Ireland, with a particular focus on the contributions of expert volunteers working with biological recording schemes and natural history societies; in particular, we highlight projects and practices that have improved the quality of data collected. Although the monitoring of plant distributions at larger scales has led to numerous insights into floristic change and its causes, these activities have also led to the recognition that knowledge of species' abundances at finer-scales often provides a more powerful means of detecting and interpreting change. In the UK, this has led to the development of a new, abundance-based 'National Plant Monitoring Scheme'. We outline this new structured scheme, and review some of the design considerations that have been made during its development. New monitoring projects require a clear justification, and the launch of a new scheme is also an opportune moment to review whether some basic assumptions about the collection of monitoring data can withstand scrutiny. A distinction is often made between monitoring that is focused on answering particular, focused questions, and that which is more generally seeking to detect changes; for example, in species' distributions or abundances. Therefore, we also review the justification for such general 'surveillance' approaches to the monitoring of biodiversity, and place this in the context of volunteer-based initiatives. We conclude that data collected by biological recorders working within atlas or monitoring scheme frameworks will continue to produce datasets that are highly valued by governments, scientists, and the volunteers themselves.
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 07/2015; 115(3):505–521. DOI:10.1111/bij.12581 · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    • "Monitoring programmes , if designed appropriately, can deliver valuable data and results (Schmeller et al. 2009), but they require the long-term implementation of standardized survey designs (Legg & Nagy 2006; Yoccoz et al. 2001) – a demand that can rarely be met by conventional research projects and environmental agencies (Bell et al. 2008). One cost-effective solution to this problem is to implement citizen science projects. "
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    • "Monitoring programmes , if designed appropriately, can deliver valuable data and results (Schmeller et al. 2009), but they require the long-term implementation of standardized survey designs (Legg & Nagy 2006; Yoccoz et al. 2001) – a demand that can rarely be met by conventional research projects and environmental agencies (Bell et al. 2008). One cost-effective solution to this problem is to implement citizen science projects. "
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    ABSTRACT: Biodiversity monitoring requires sound data collection over large temporal and spatial scales in order to inform policy and conservation management. Citizen science programs, if designed appropriately, can make valuable contributions to data collection and analyses. Moreover, citizen science has potential for both environmental education and civic participation. Recommendations on effective citizen science are available in the literature, but most existing work has come from relatively rich, industrialized countries. By contrast, there is very little knowledge on citizen science projects in transitioning economic, social and cultural settings. This paper seeks to adjust this deficit by contributing insights from our attempt to initiate a new monitoring scheme in Romania. We draw on our experience of conducting workshops, training events and camps to strengthen citizen engagement in a butterfly monitoring scheme, and discussions with many stakeholders engaged in other monitoring programs inside and outside of Europe. We highlight four general themes that may be worth considering when initiating new citizen science projects in socio-economically challenging settings: (i) Engaging citizens requires a combination of formal and informal support; (ii) A culture of volunteering requires education as well as building capacity and confidence; (iii) Citizen science needs active integration of both national experts and local stakeholders; and (iv) Successful monitoring schemes require effective leadership. We conclude that particular attention should be paid to the cultural legacies of the target area.
    Journal for Nature Conservation 05/2015; 26. DOI:10.1016/j.jnc.2015.05.001 · 1.83 Impact Factor
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