Building capacity in biodiversity monitoring at the global scale
Human-driven global change is causing ongoing declines in biodiversity worldwide. In order to address these declines, decision-makers need accurate assessments of the status of and pressures on biodiversity. However, these are heavily constrained by incomplete and uneven spatial, temporal and taxonomic coverage. For instance, data from regions such as Europe and North America are currently used overwhelmingly for large-scale biodiversity assessments due to lesser availability of suitable data from other, more biodiversity-rich, regions. These data-poor regions are often those experiencing the strongest threats to biodiversity, however. There is therefore an urgent need to fill the existing gaps in global biodiversity monitoring. Here, we review current knowledge on best practice in capacity building for biodiversity monitoring and provide an overview of existing means to improve biodiversity data collection considering the different types of biodiversity monitoring data. Our review comprises insights from work in Africa, South America, Polar Regions and Europe; in government-funded, volunteer and citizen-based monitoring in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. The key steps to effectively building capacity in biodiversity monitoring are: identifying monitoring questions and aims; identifying the key components, functions, and processes to monitor; identifying the most suitable monitoring methods for these elements, carrying out monitoring activities; managing the resultant data; and interpreting monitoring data. Additionally, biodiversity monitoring should use multiple approaches including extensive and intensive monitoring through volunteers and professional scientists but also harnessing new technologies. Finally, we call on the scientific community to share biodiversity monitoring data, knowledge and tools to ensure the accessibility, interoperability, and reporting of biodiversity data at a global scale.