Ecologists and managers of natural resources readily acknowledge the importance of long-term studies and monitoring for improved understanding and management of complex environmental systems. Long-term data are crucially important for providing baselines for evaluating environmental change. They are also fundamental for detecting and evaluating changes in ecosystem structure and function, and for evaluating response to disturbances such as climate change or pollution. Countless scientific articles, books, management plans and other documents have been written about the need to conduct long-term studies and monitoring. However, although there have undoubtedly been some highly successful long-term ecological studies and monitoring programs, there is a history of poorly planned and unfocused efforts that are either ineffective or fail completely.
In this book, the authors outline some of the key pitfalls and deficiencies in ecological monitoring programs and long-term studies. They then describe some the features of monitoring programs and long-term studies that are essential to make them viable, using case studies such as those of Rothamsted (UK) and the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (USA). Based upon their collective experience spanning 70 years in establishing long-term studies and natural resource monitoring programs, the authors propose a new approach, which they call Adaptive Monitoring, to resolve some of these problems underlying poorly planned and unfocused monitoring programs.
'What excuse can any ecologist have for not reading a book about long term ecological monitoring by Lidenmayer and Likens? This book should be read not only by all field ecologists but also policy makers who administer and fund monitoring programmes.' John Hopkins, Bulletin of the British Ecological Society
'The book provides an essential tool for understanding, protecting and preserving the earth's ecosystems.' Ecosystem Marketplace
'Effective Ecological Monitoring offers a well-written analysis of issues facing ecological monitoring programs. Its call to action for improving monitoring programs clearly outlines key issues yet to be resolved and can clearly serve as the foundation for future exploration. It is sure to resonate not only with scientists but also with policymakers, academics and ecosystem service professionals who can use its suggestions to improve existing monitoring programs and implement new ones.' Ecosystem Marketplace
'Throughout the text is clear, succint and thoroughly referenced, with many exemplars in addition to the case studies. This book should be read not only by all field ecologists but also policy makers who administer and fund monitoring programmes.' British Ecological Society Bulletin
'This book may be small in size, but it is very big on ideas.' Choice
'[…] this clearly written, practical book is a welcome resource […] [The authors’] recommendations should encourage all of us to rethink approaches to ecological research… [The book] deserves to be widely read.' Stephen F. Siebert, University of Montana, in Economic Botany
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 2. WHY MONITORING FAILS CHAPTER 3. WHAT MAKES EFFECTIVE LONG-TERM MONITORING? CHAPTER 4. THE PROBLEMATIC, THE EFFECTIVE AND THE UGLY - SOME CASE STUDIES CHAPTER 5 . THE UPSHOT - OUR GENERAL CONCLUSIONS