A Summary of Current Thought on Avian Monitoring

A working group of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' Science and Research Committee reviewed the rationale, design, and coordination of bird monitoring during 2004 to focus on the need for integration of information about bird status with budget, policy, and management decisions. “Rationale” promotes understanding of the role of monitoring in effective bird conservation and management, “design” of monitoring focuses on the effective and efficient use of monitoring resources, and “coordination” emphasizes the necessary infrastructure and resources for coordinated monitoring. Science-based management requires explicit objectives, management strategies and corresponding management actions, assessment, and periodic adjustment of management strategies. Distinctions between monitoring for status and trends versus monitoring to evaluate management have, however, become a source of debate among those responsible for bird monitoring. The bird conservation community should be concerned if these distinctions represent a fundamental philosophical disconnect among segments of the bird conservation community, which perpetuate game” versus “nongame” distinctions. In the end, a continuum of monitoring approaches will need to be employed to increase our knowledge of resource impacts. The scale of monitoring coordination and infrastructure is dictated by the scale at which management is occurring. Clearly, efforts to advance all bird conservation will require greater integration of the essential roles of researchers, policy makers, and managers. Key Words: birds, monitoring, management, coordination, evaluation

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