Inventory and Monitoring Studies

Part of the Springer Series on Environmental Management book series (SSEM)

Inventory and monitoring are probably the most frequently conducted wildlife studies. Not only are they conducted in the pursuit of new knowledge (e.g., to describe the fauna or habitats [see Sect. 1.5 for definition of habitat and related terms] of a given area, or understand trends or changes of selected parameters), but also they are cornerstones in the management of wildlife resources. In general terms, inventories are conducted to determine the distribution and composition of wildlife and wildlife habitats in areas where such information is lacking, and monitoring is typically used to understand rates of change or the effects of management practices on wildlife populations and habitats. In application to wildlife, inventory and monitoring are typically applied to species’ habitats and populations. Because sampling population parameters can be costly, habitat is often monitored as a surrogate for monitoring populations directly. This is possible, however, only if a clear and direct linkage has been established between the two. By this, we mean that a close correspondence has been identified between key population parameters and one or more variables that comprise a species’ habitat. Unfortunately, such clear linkages are lacking for most species.

The need for monitoring and inventory go well beyond simply a scientific pursuit. For example, requirements for monitoring are mandated by key legislation (e.g., National Forest Management Act [1976], National Environmental Policy Act [1969], Endangered Species Act [1973]), thus institutionalizing the need for conducting such studies. Even so, monitoring is embroiled in controversy. The controversy is not so much over the importance or need to conduct monitoring, but surrounds the inadequacy of many programs to implement scientifically credible monitoring programs (Morrison and Marcot 1995; White et al. 1999; Moir and Block 2001). Unfortunately, few inventory/monitoring studies are conducted at an appropriate level of rigor to precisely estimate the selected parameters. Given that inventory and monitoring are key steps in the management process and especially adaptive management (Walters 1986; Moir and Block, 2001), it is crucial to follow a credible, repeatable, and scientific process to provide reliable knowledge (cf. Romesburg 1981). The purpose of this chapter is to outline basic steps that should be followed for inventory and monitoring studies.


Adaptive Management Population Trend Monitoring Study Recovery Plan Prescribe Fire 
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