Monitoring Forest Biodiversity

cover of Monitoring Forest Biodiversity

Identifies the key elements of a robust and pragmatic framework for monitoring and evaluation programs.

Forest biodiversity monitoring programs, by evaluating the performance of existing management regimes and helping to identify opportunities for improved practice, represent an essential ingredient in the development of more sustainable management systems. Nevertheless many costly monitoring efforts are often little more than 'tick the box' exercises that do little more than erode the credibility of science. The purpose of this book is to identify the key elements of a robust and pragmatic framework for how monitoring and evaluation programs can make a more meaningful contribution to the development of an ecologically sustainable system of forest use. To be meaningful monitoring programs need to be purposeful and grounded in clear objectives, effective in providing reliable assessments of the links between management activities and changes in forest biodiversity, and realistic in light of real-world financial, logistical and social constraints. Science can make a substantial contribution to achieving these aims but a key component of success lies in overcoming the organisational insularity that currently exists between researchers, managers and bureaucrats. + Full description

The first part of the book lays out the importance of biodiversity monitoring in achieving responsible management, and sheds light on the key obstacles and challenges that have thus far confounded attempts to integrate meaningful monitoring programs into forest management systems. The second part presents an operational framework for developing improved forest biodiversity monitoring systems. These proposals address the challenges central to the scoping, design and implementation stages of a forest biodiversity monitoring program, including the definition of program goals and objectives, the indicator selection process, and data collection, analysis and interpretation.

The book is not intended to provide a 'how-to manual' of technical issues but rather to encourage a broader appreciation of the purpose and overall design of an effective monitoring program – with a particular emphasis on designing monitoring programs that are successful in the context of real-world challenges and constraints. The book ends with a section on integrating biodiversity information into the bigger picture and how to frame and evaluate trade-offs in multiple use forests.

- Short description


Part I: The Context of Monitoring Forest Biodiversity
Biodiversity Conservation in Human-Modified and Managed Forests
The Origins and Development of Ecologically Responsible Forest Management
The Need for Forest Biodiversity Monitoring
A Typology of Approaches And Indicators for Monitoring Forest Biodiversity
Part II: Challenges Facing Forest Biodiversity Monitoring
Challenges to Monitoring: Problems of Purpose
Challenges to Monitoring: Problems of Design
Challenges to Monitoring: Problems of Reality
Part III: An Operational Framework for Monitoring Forest Biodiversity
Clarifying Purpose: An Operational Framework for Monitoring Forest Biodiversity
Setting Conservation Goals for Biodiveristy Monitoring
Setting Objectives for Biodiversity Monitoring
Selecting Indicators of Forest Structure to Assess Management Performance
Selecting Biological Indicators and Target Species to Evaluate Progress Towards Conservation Goals
Making Assumptions Explicit: The Value of Conceptual Modelling in Biodiversity Monitoring
Sampling Design and Data Collection in Biodiversity Monitoring
Analysis and Interpretation of Biodiversity Data
Putting Forest Biodiversity Monitoring to Work


Toby Gardner is NERC Research Fellow in the Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK. For the past 10 years his research has focused on how to understand better the impact of human activities on biodiversity in tropical systems, including East Africa, the Brazilian Amazon and the Caribbean.