Integrating ongoing biodiversity monitoring: potential benefits and methods
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- Henry, PY., Lengyel, S., Nowicki, P. et al. Biodivers Conserv (2008) 17: 3357. doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9417-1
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Halting the loss of biodiversity comes along with the need to quantify biodiversity composition and dynamics at large spatial and temporal scales. Highly standardized, international monitoring networks would be ideal, but they do not exist yet. If we are to assess changes in biodiversity now, combining output available from ongoing monitoring initiatives is the only option. However, integration of biodiversity information across schemes is still very poorly developed. In this paper, we outline practical issues to be considered when planning to combine existing monitoring information. First, we provide an overview of avenues for integration along the four dimensions that characterize a monitoring design: sample size, biological coverage, spatial coverage and temporal coverage. We also emphasize that complementarity in monitoring targets across schemes enables to describe complex processes of biodiversity dynamics, e.g. through relating species traits to the impacts of environmental changes. Second, we review some methods to overcome differences in designs among monitoring schemes, such as site selection, post-stratification and measurement error. Finally, we point out some commonly used statistical methods that are at hand for combining data or parameter estimates. We especially emphasize the possible levels of data integration (raw data, parameter estimates, or effect size estimates), and the largely under-exploited potential of meta-analysis methods and weighted analyses. This contribution aims to bolster the practice and use of integration of ongoing monitoring initiatives for biodiversity assessment.