Sunday, June 23, 2013

The ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’of monitoring for conservation

An interesting paper by Julia P.G. Jones,Gregory P. Asner, Stuart H.M. Butchart and K. Ullas Karanth

Here is a very interesting and topical paper worth perusing, by the wildlife researchers and wildlife managers. The paper is a chapter in a recent book published by Oxford University Press, UK, titled Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2; edited by David MacDonald and Katherine Wills.

Monitoring is a very important component of conservation. Monitoring gone awry can be worse than useless, as it will lead to poor decision making and divert scarce resources from other important conservation activities.

The authors contend that effective monitoring must have a clear purpose, a full understanding of ‘why’ it is being carried out and what the data are needed for.  ‘What’ should be monitored and‘how’ the monitoring should be implemented will depend on the objectives, the context and the resources available, and highlights some of the considerations which are essential if monitoring is to result in robust inference. They also stress that professional ecologists should not necessarily have a monopoly and that many types of monitoring can benefit enormously from the involvement of non-professionals. Such collaboration is essential if investment of valuable conservation resources in monitoring is to provide the maximum possible conservation benefit.

I fully agree with the observations of the authors. We need a holistic approach in monitoring, with researchers, managers and the community working hand in hand for conservation.

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