Project

Long-term ecological monitoring concepts and guidance

Goal: As long-term ecological monitoring programs mature and create increasingly robust data sets, it is important to continually re-examine progress and pass on lessons learned.

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Project log

Christopher J. Sergeant
added a research item
Organizations tasked with implementing long‐term ecological monitoring programs often struggle to stay funded. Government agencies are typically the only entities with sufficient capacity and motivation to support long‐term scientific programs that generate data for environmental management and conservation. Taxpayers bear this funding burden, yet we know of no studies assessing public perception of government‐led long‐term monitoring. We present the results of a survey designed to assess willingness to pay (WTP) for the benefits resulting from long‐term ecological monitoring in Southeast Alaska for residents and visitors. We hypothesized that four factors have the potential to influence preferences for long‐term ecological monitoring: (1) type of ecosystem service monitored (intermediate vs. final); (2) place of residence; (3) prior knowledge of monitoring; and (4) sociodemographic characteristics. We defined final ecosystem services as ecosystem attributes that have clear relevance to human well‐being and intermediate ecosystem services as those required to produce final services. We found a greater WTP for programs monitoring intermediate ecosystem services, longer‐running programs, and programs covering a larger spatial extent. Respondents with higher income and conservative political preferences were more likely to choose no monitoring program at all (status quo), whereas respondents with previous knowledge of monitoring were generally more supportive of long‐term monitoring programs.
Christopher J. Sergeant
added an update
I'll be presenting a paper in progress at the upcoming George Wright Society Conference, April 2-7, in Norfolk, VA. Title and abstract are below. The analysis is ongoing, but we hope to have this paper submitted to a journal sometime this summer.
Title: Assessing public perception of the value of long-term ecological monitoring
Authors: Chris Sergeant (presenting), Brian Vander Naald (Drake University), Anne H. Beaudreau (University of Alaska Fairbanks)
Despite the demonstrated value and mandated usage of long-term ecological monitoring for environmental decision-making, organizations tasked with implementing these programs often struggle to stay funded. Government agencies are typically the only entities with sufficient capacity and motivation to support long-term programs that generate data for environmental management and conservation. Taxpayers bear this funding burden, yet few studies describe the public perception of long-term monitoring. To safeguard its future, monitoring must be valued as a general public good. We present the results of a survey conducted in Alaska to determine the extent to which the general public values long-term monitoring. Three factors influenced support: 1) types of ecosystem services monitored, 2) place-based relationships with natural systems, and 3) socio-demographics such as income and age. Promisingly, our results demonstrate that the public generally values long-term monitoring. We leverage these results to recommend steps for ensuring public support of monitoring into the future.
See more from the George Wright Society conference here:
 
Christopher J. Sergeant
added a project goal
As long-term ecological monitoring programs mature and create increasingly robust data sets, it is important to continually re-examine progress and pass on lessons learned.
 
Christopher J. Sergeant
added 2 research items
In this Special Feature, we celebrate 100 years of National Park Service science by highlighting contributions from the agency's Inventory and Monitoring Division. This broad body of work coalesces into several themes, including the role of protected areas in understanding rapid global change and the growing interest in place-based ecological insights that contextualize scientific information from protected areas across broader scales. Finally, we illustrate progress on the long-sought integration of science into the resource management strategies implemented within " America's Best Idea, " now more important than ever given the many challenges our nation's parks face.