Necessity and reality of monitoring threatened European vascular plants
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- Kull, T., Sammul, M., Kull, K. et al. Biodivers Conserv (2008) 17: 3383. doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9432-2
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Species monitoring is the regular observation and recording of changes in status and trend of species in a certain territory. The primary purpose of monitoring is to collect information that can be used to examine the outcomes of management actions and to guide management decisions. Here, we analyze plant species monitoring to provide a first overview on efforts made to monitor trends in vascular plant biodiversity in Europe. Our study is based on an assessment of 63 plant monitoring schemes from Europe (collected into a database “DaEuMon”), and 33 schemes found with literature screening. Altogether, the monitoring schemes cover 354 vascular plant species, of which 69 are listed in Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive (= EU protected species; Annex II includes 420 species). In most cases, an EU protected plant species occurs in 3 countries but is monitored in only 1 country. Scientific interest was the main reason for launching a monitoring scheme in 21% of the schemes from the database, but in 58% of the schemes from the literature survey. The current schemes collect insufficient data particularly on the dynamics of the extent and distribution pattern of species. We conclude that planning to publish monitoring data when designing a scheme would improve the quality and general effect of monitoring programs. The needs to cover the taxonomic diversity and the integration of different scales, as well as the inclusion of monitoring in the context of different types of sustainable management would require a strong emphasis in the development of monitoring schemes.