Monitoring biological diversity: strategies, tools, limitations, and challenges

Northwestern Naturalist



Monitoring is an assessment of the spatial and temporal variability in one or more ecosystem properties, and is an essential component of adaptive management. Monitoring can help determine whether mandated environmental standards are being met and can provide an early-warning system of ecological change. Development of a strategy for monitoring biological diversity will likely be most successful when based upon clearly articulated goals and objectives and may be enhanced by including several key steps in the process. Ideally, monitoring of biological diversity will measure not only composition, but also structure and function at the spatial and temporal scales of interest. Although biodiversity monitoring has several key limitations as well as numerous theoretical and practical challenges, many tools and strategies are available to address or overcome such challenges; I summarize several of these. Due to the diversity of spatio-temporal scales and comprehensiveness encompassed by existing definitions of biological diversity, an effective monitoring design will reflect the desired sampling domain of interest and its key stressors, available funding, legal requirements, and organizational goals.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Monitoring biological diversity: strategies, tools, limitations, and challenges
Series title Northwestern Naturalist
DOI 10.1898/1051-1733(2006)87[66:MBDSTL]2.0.CO;2
Volume 87
Issue 1
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 66
Last page 79
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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