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      Bird-monitoring in Europe – a first overview of practices, motivations and aims

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Biodiversity monitoring is central to conservation biology, allowing the evaluation of the conservation status of species or the assessment of mechanisms of biodiversity change. Birds are the first taxonomic group to be used to build headline indicators of biodiversity due to their worldwide spatial and temporal coverage and their popularity. However, the landscape of bird-monitoring practices has never been characterized quantitatively. To objectively explore the strengths and weaknesses of the massive bird-monitoring effort in Europe we assessed the bird-monitoring practices, acquired with a questionnaire-based survey, in a sample of monitoring programs. We identify major correlates of among-program variability and compare monitoring practices from our database to recommendations of best monitoring practices. In total, we obtained responses from 144 bird-monitoring programs. We distinguish three types of monitoring programs according to the number of people that they involve: small, local-scale programs (56%), medium or regional programs (19%), and large-scale, national and international, programs (23%). In total, the programs in our sample involved 27941 persons, investing 79298 person days per year. Our survey illustrated that 65% of programs collected quantitative indices of abundance (count data). The monitoring design in a majority of the programs could be improved, notably in terms of unbiased spatial coverage, sampling effort optimization, replicated sampling to account for variations in detection probability, and more efficient statistical use of the data. We discuss the main avenues for improvement in bird-monitoring practices that emerge from this comparison of current practices and published methodological recommendations.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Monitoring of biological diversity in space and time

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            • Record: found
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            Monitoring for conservation.

            Human-mediated environmental changes have resulted in appropriate concern for the conservation of ecological systems and have led to the development of many ecological monitoring programs worldwide. Many programs that are identified with the purpose of 'surveillance' represent an inefficient use of conservation funds and effort. Here, we revisit the 1964 paper by Platt and argue that his recommendations about the conduct of science are equally relevant to the conduct of ecological monitoring programs. In particular, we argue that monitoring should not be viewed as a stand-alone activity, but instead as a component of a larger process of either conservation-oriented science or management. Corresponding changes in monitoring focus and design would lead to substantial increases in the efficiency and usefulness of monitoring results in conservation.
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              Adaptive monitoring: a new paradigm for long-term research and monitoring.

              Long-term research and monitoring can provide important ecological insights and are crucial for the improved management of ecosystems and natural resources. However, many long-term research and monitoring programs are either ineffective or fail completely owing to poor planning and/or lack of focus. Here we propose the paradigm of adaptive monitoring, which aims to resolve many of the problems that have undermined previous attempts to establish long-term research and monitoring. This paradigm is driven by tractable questions, rigorous statistical design at the outset, a conceptual model of the ecosystem or other entity being examined and a human need to know about ecosystem change. An adaptive monitoring framework enables monitoring programs to evolve iteratively as new information emerges and research questions change.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                August 24 2012
                August 24 2012
                : 2
                : 41-57
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.2.3644
                © 2012

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