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State-of-the-art practices in farmland biodiversity monitoring for North America and Europe

Herzog, Felix, Franklin, Janet
Ambio 2016 v.45 no.8 pp. 857-871
agricultural land, biodiversity, ecosystem services, farmers, fauna, habitats, issues and policy, landscapes, metagenomics, monitoring, remote sensing, rolling, social networks, stakeholders, surveys, vascular plants, Europe, North America
Policy makers and farmers need to know the status of farmland biodiversity in order to meet conservation goals and evaluate management options. Based on a review of 11 monitoring programs in Europe and North America and on related literature, we identify the design choices or attributes of a program that balance monitoring costs and usefulness for stakeholders. A useful program monitors habitats, vascular plants, and possibly faunal groups (ecosystem service providers, charismatic species) using a stratified random sample of the agricultural landscape, including marginal and intensive regions. The size of landscape samples varies with the grain of the agricultural landscape; for example, samples are smaller in Europe and larger in North America. Raw data are collected in a rolling survey, which distributes sampling over several years. Sufficient practical experience is now available to implement broad monitoring schemes on both continents. Technological developments in remote sensing, metagenomics, and social media may offer new opportunities for affordable farmland biodiversity monitoring and help to lower the overall costs of monitoring programs.