Monitoring Forest Biodiversity: Improving Conservation through Ecologically-Responsible Management

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The fate of much of the world's terrestrial biodiversity depends upon our ability to improve the management of forest ecosystems that have already been substantially modified by humans. Monitoring is an essential ingredient in meeting this challenge, allowing us to measure the impact of different human activities on biodiversity and identify more responsible ways of managing the environment. Nevertheless many biodiversity monitoring programs are criticised as being little more than 'tick the box' compliance exercises that waste precious resources and erode the credibility of science in the eyes of decision makers and conservation investors. The purpose of this book is to examine the factors that make biodiversity monitoring programs fail or succeed.

The first two sections lay out the context and importance of biodiversity monitoring, and shed light on some of the key challenges that have confounded many efforts to date. The third and main section presents an operational framework for developing monitoring programs that have the potential to make a meaningful contribution to forest management. Discussion covers the scoping, design and implementation stages of a forest biodiversity monitoring program, including defining the purpose, goals and objectives of monitoring, indicator selection, and the process of data collection, analysis and interpretation. Underpinning the book is the belief that biodiversity monitoring should be viewed not as a stand-alone exercise in surveillance but rather as an explicit mechanism for learning about how to improve opportunities for conservation. To be successful in this task, monitoring needs to be grounded in clear goals and objectives, effective in generating reliable assessments of changes in biodiversity and realistic in light of real-world financial, logistical and social constraints.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The book provides a comprehensive synthesis of an extensive and diffuse literature, and is highly suitable and readable text for graduate courses and seminars. Gardner’s book sets a new and high standard for monitoring forest biodiversity. Putting this vision into practice presents many challenges, but will be well worth the effort." - Robin L. Chazdon, University of Connecticut, in International Forestry Review

"Many of the recommendations in the book are not limited to assessing biodiversity just in forest ecosystems. Indeed, many of these concepts can and should be applied to a diversity of ecosystems and regions facing similar perils in a changing world, making this book a 'must-have' for any manager, graduate student, or scientist interested in monitoring." - Benjamin Zuckerberg, Cornell University for Ecology

"This book provides a highly original review of one of the greatest challenges facing today's conservation and forestry professionals." - Jeffrey Sayer, Senior Scientific Adviser, Forest Conservation Programme, IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"Toby Gardner's excellent book contains many valuable lessons and recommendations on ways to improve forest monitoring, how to promote far better and more ecologically sustainable forest management, and approaches to significantly improve biodiversity conservation programs... Researchers, policy-makers, and forest managers need to read this book." - David Lindenmayer, Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University

"Toby Gardner's timely, accessible and much needed book provides a constructive and common sense review of key problems and remedies regarding the future of forest biodiversity. His clear-headed proposals about monitoring and good practice offer a practical guide to improved forest management and conservation. I urge all those concerned with the fate of the world's forests to read and consider what this book has to say." - Douglas Sheil, Director, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Uganda, and Senior Research Associate, Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia

"Monitoring Forest Biodiversity is a must-read for any forest carbon practitioner who wishes to further develop our demanding field. It clearly explains how to affect large-scale, statistically significant impacts that positively influence biodiversity and the surrounding forest community based on real, repeatable, equitable, and verifiable forest carbon project management." - Ecosystem Marketplace

"The book provides an excellent overview of contemporary work by a distinguished list of authors and will be an important addition to the bookshelves of those engaged in forest landscape modelling."Jeffrey Sayer and Jaboury Ghazoul in the International Forestry Review

"One would hope that Toby Gardner’s outstanding new contribution would not be restricted only to the attention of aficionados of forest management and ecology. The book is very readily translatable to monitoring and management of other major ecosystem types, such as marine and freshwater ecosystems, although a number of the middle chapters (e.g. Chapter 11) understandably are much focused on forest applications. A particular strength of Gardner’s book is a nice marriage between abstract principles and the unpacking necessary for implementation by practitioners." – Ralph MacNally in Austral Ecology

"The book aims to demonstrate the need for integrating monitoring and management in an operational system to enhance forest stewardship and biodiversity conservation; and to provide an operational framework for adaptive management to ensure the resilience of forest systems. Monitoring Forest Biodiversity meets these aims well ... The book avoids unnecessary terminology and semantics. This is an important feature, as it will likely become a key reference for conservation practitioners, resource managers, policy makers and auditors of forest certification." – Chris J. Kettle in Biotropica

"[…] Monitoring Forest Biodiversity is a highly useful text, containing valuable lessons and suggestions and sharp, thought-provoking critiques. It offers ways in which monitoring biodiversity can help achieve more responsible approaches to forest management. This will be a reference text that many ecologists, forest managers, government agencies and certification authorities will or should turn to." Arne Baert, Ghent University, Belgium, in Economic Botany

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844076543
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010
  • Series: Earthscan Forest Library Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Toby Gardner is a NERC Research Fellow in the Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. For the past 10 years his research has focused on how to better understand and manage the impact of human activities on biodiversity in tropical ecosystems, including East Africa, the Caribbean and the Brazilian Amazon.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes ix

Foreword xvii

Acknowledgements xix

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations xx

Introduction xxi

Purpose of this book: How can monitoring contribute to forest biodiversity conservation?

Structure and scope of the book

Part I The Context of Monitoring Forest Biodiversity

1 Biodiversity Conservation in Human-modified and Managed Forests 1

Biodiversity in logged forests

Biodiversity in regenerating forests

Biodiversity in agroforestry systems

Biodiversity in tree plantations

An ecosystem approach to forest conservation

2 The Origins and Development of Ecologically Responsible Forest Management 17

The origins of sustainable forest management (SFM)

Sustainable forest management as a guiding vision versus a measurable standard

Criteria and indicators in forest management

3 The Need for Forest Biodiversity Monitoring 33

Scientific uncertainty and biodiversity conservation in human-modified forest ecosystems

The purpose of biodiversity monitoring as a guide to management

4 A Typology of Approaches and Indicators for Monitoring Forest Biodiversity 41

Monitoring approaches

Monitoring indicators

Part II Challenges Facing Forest Biodiversity Monitoring

5 Challenges to Monitoring: Problems of Purpose 57

The challenge of setting conservation goals and objectives as a basis for management and monitoring

A growing crisis of credibility in the value and purpose of monitoring

The importance of definitions and terminology to provide clarity of purpose

6 Challenges to Monitoring: Problems of Design 67

The challenge of selecting appropriate indicators for biodiversity monitoring

Setting management objectives and interpreting indicator change in biodiversity monitoring programmes

7 Challenges to Monitoring: Problems of Reality 89

Adaptive forest management

Challenges to monitoring from governance and regulatory institutions Cultural challenges to monitoring

Part III An Operational Framework for Monitoring Forest Biodiversity

8 Clarifying Purpose: An Operational Framework for Monitoring Forest Biodiversity 99

Understanding the role of different monitoring approaches in forest management

Understanding the role of different indicators in the monitoring process

Bringing it all together: Implementing an operational framework for biodiversity monitoring as a guide to responsible forest management

9 Setting Conservation Goals for Biodiversity Monitoring 113

Stakeholders and the value of biodiversity

Managing to conserve species and maintain ecological integrity

Selecting indicators to validate changes in forest condition

Selecting a reference condition to guide forest biodiversity monitoring

10 Setting Objectives for Biodiversity Monitoring 125

Biodiversity conservation research and monitoring in modified forest systems: An assessment of work to date

Selecting high priority research objectives for biodiversity monitoring

11 Selecting Indicators of Forest Structure to Assess Management Performance 149

Indicators of forest structure at the stand scale

Indicators of forest structure at the landscape scale

Selecting forest structural indicators

Bringing it all together: a general framework for selecting structural indicators

12 Selecting Biological Indicators and Target Species to Evaluate Progress Towards Conservation Goals 171

A framework for selecting ecological disturbance indicator groups

The contribution of individual target species to biodiversity monitoring

13 Making Assumptions Explicit: The Value of Conceptual Modelling in Biodiversity Monitoring 199

Distinguishing the role of conceptual frameworks and models in biodiversity monitoring

The value of conceptual models in articulating cause-effect relationships for biodiversity monitoring programmes

Building conceptual models for biodiversity monitoring

A summary of the role of conceptual models in biodiversity monitoring

14 Sampling Design and Data Collection in Biodiversity Monitoring 223

Step 1 Clarify the research objective

Step 2 Clarify the spatial and temporal scope

Step 3 Think about experimental design

Step 4 Think about confounding factors

Step 5 Specify independent sample units

Step 6 Select appropriate variables for measuring change in biological indicators and target species

Step 7 Select additional environmental variables

Step 8 Select sampling method(s)

Step 9 Decide on an appropriate level of independent sample replication

Step 10 Decide on an appropriate level of sub-sampling

Step 11 Evaluate whether the time-frame available for monitoring is adequate

Step 12 Evaluate whether necessary resources and expertise are available

Step 13 Think hard about how to analyse the data before it is collected

Step 14 Preserve data integrity through careful recording and storage

Step 15 Be prepared to adapt

15 Analysis and Interpretation of Biodiversity Data 257

Describing biodiversity

Detecting change and assessing management performance

Evaluating change and validating management performance

Analysing biodiversity data in context: The importance of multiple management objectives and trade-offs

16 Putting Forest Biodiversity Monitoring to Work 291

The importance of people

Making biodiversity monitoring programmes viable and effective in the long term

The way ahead

Index 351

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