Conservation cornerstones : capitalising on the endeavours of long-term monitoring projects

Holland, Greg J., Alexander, Jerry S. A., Johnson, Peter, Arnold, Andrew H., Halley, M. and Bennett, Andrew F. 2012, Conservation cornerstones : capitalising on the endeavours of long-term monitoring projects, Biological conservation, vol. 145, no. 1, pp. 95-101.

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Title Conservation cornerstones : capitalising on the endeavours of long-term monitoring projects
Author(s) Holland, Greg J.
Alexander, Jerry S. A.
Johnson, Peter
Arnold, Andrew H.
Halley, M.
Bennett, Andrew F.
Journal name Biological conservation
Volume number 145
Issue number 1
Start page 95
End page 101
Total pages 7
Publisher Elsevier BV
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2012
ISSN 0006-3207
1873-2917
Keyword(s) Australia
Brush-tailed phascogale
conservation management
ecological monitoring
population decline
threatening processes
Summary Ecological monitoring is widely used to measure change through time in ecosystems. The current extinction crisis has resulted in a wealth of monitoring programs focussed on tracking the status of threatened species, and the perceived importance of monitoring has seen it become the cornerstone of many biodiversity conservation programs. However, many monitoring programs fail to produce useful outcomes due to inherent flaws. Here we use a monitoring program from south-eastern Australia as a case study to illustrate the potential of such endeavours. The threatened carnivorous marsupial, the brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), has been monitored at various locations between 2000 and 2010. We present strong evidence for a decline in relative abundance during this period, and also describe relationships with environmental variables. These results provide insights likely to be valuable in guiding future management of the species. In the absence of the monitoring program, informed management would not be possible. While early detection of population declines is important, knowledge of the processes driving such declines is required for effective intervention. We argue that monitoring programs will be most effective as a tool for enhanced conservation management if they test specific hypotheses relating to changes in population trajectories. Greater emphasis should be placed on rigorous statistical analysis of monitoring datasets in order to capitalise on the resources devoted to monitoring activities. Many datasets are likely to exist for which careful analysis of results would have benefits for determining management directions.
Language eng
Field of Research 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Socio Economic Objective 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30047083

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