Monitoring for Conservation and Ecology

Volume 3 of the series Conservation Biology pp 15-32

Scientific requirements of a monitoring programme

  • Michael B. Usher

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If a monitoring programme is being planned, there are five basic questions that need to be asked and answered. Each question is important and should be answered before any monitoring begins; they essentially form a sequential set because a satisfactory answer to any individual question cannot be given until all questions higher on the list have been answered. The questions are:
  1. 1.

    Purpose: what is the aim of monitoring?

  2. 2.

    Method: how can this aim be achieved?

  3. 3.

    Analysis: how are the data, which will be collected periodically, to be handled?

  4. 4.

    Interpretation: what might the data mean?

  5. 5.

    Fulfilment: when will the aim have been achieved?