, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1223-1230
Date: 17 Mar 2010

An Integrated Sampling and Analysis Approach for Improved Biodiversity Monitoring

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Abstract

Successful biodiversity conservation requires high quality monitoring data and analyses to ensure scientifically defensible policy, legislation, and management. Although monitoring is a critical component in assessing population status and trends, many governmental and non-governmental organizations struggle to develop and implement effective sampling protocols and statistical analyses because of the magnitude and diversity of species in conservation concern. In this article we describe a practical and sophisticated data collection and analysis framework for developing a comprehensive wildlife monitoring program that includes multi-species inventory techniques and community-level hierarchical modeling. Compared to monitoring many species individually, the multi-species approach allows for improved estimates of individual species occurrences, including rare species, and an increased understanding of the aggregated response of a community to landscape and habitat heterogeneity. We demonstrate the benefits and practicality of this approach to address challenges associated with monitoring in the context of US state agencies that are legislatively required to monitor and protect species in greatest conservation need. We believe this approach will be useful to regional, national, and international organizations interested in assessing the status of both common and rare species.