, Volume 45, Issue 8, pp 857–871 | Cite as

State-of-the-art practices in farmland biodiversity monitoring for North America and Europe

  • Felix HerzogEmail author
  • Janet Franklin


Policy makers and farmers need to know the status of farmland biodiversity in order to meet conservation goals and evaluate management options. Based on a review of 11 monitoring programs in Europe and North America and on related literature, we identify the design choices or attributes of a program that balance monitoring costs and usefulness for stakeholders. A useful program monitors habitats, vascular plants, and possibly faunal groups (ecosystem service providers, charismatic species) using a stratified random sample of the agricultural landscape, including marginal and intensive regions. The size of landscape samples varies with the grain of the agricultural landscape; for example, samples are smaller in Europe and larger in North America. Raw data are collected in a rolling survey, which distributes sampling over several years. Sufficient practical experience is now available to implement broad monitoring schemes on both continents. Technological developments in remote sensing, metagenomics, and social media may offer new opportunities for affordable farmland biodiversity monitoring and help to lower the overall costs of monitoring programs.


Agricultural landscape Ecosystem service Essential biodiversity variables Monitoring budget Stakeholder need Survey design 



We are grateful to Stan Boutin, Bob Bunce, Wenche Dramstad, Wendy Fjellstad, Gabriela Hofer, Rod Kavanagh, Lisa Norton, Jim Schieck, Johan Svensson, and Adrian Zangger for information and input. Comments of three anonymous reviewers helped to significantly improve the manuscript. Felix Herzog acknowledges the receipt of a fellowship from the OECD Co-operative Research Programme: Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems in 2014. Janet Franklin acknowledges support from Arizona State University.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AgroscopeZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.School of Geographical Sciences and Urban PlanningArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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