Monitoring is a critical component of Strategic Habitat Conservation.
Closing the Strategic Habitat Conservation Loop
Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) has four main components:
1. Biological planning
2. Conservation design
3. Conservation delivery
4. Outcome-based monitoring and assumption-driven research
SHC is an adaptive system in which each component supports the other components. Based on responses and feedback, continual adjustments are made to each component and the system as a whole. Although a natural tendency may be to favor immediate, on-the-ground actions that provide tangible results, each component is equally important in our overall LMVJV conservation strategy.
Outcome-based monitoring closes the strategic habitat conservation feedback loop. This important component informs and improves our biological planning, conservation design, and conservation delivery. Likewise our planning, design, and delivery identify the highest priority monitoring and evaluation activities to deploy in the Joint Venture partnership.
Tracking Progress Towards a Landscape Supporting Healthy Native Bird Populations
Monitoring has many different forms and uses. Two commonly used types are surveillance monitoring and outcome-based monitoring, which differ in their relationship to management actions.
Surveillance monitoring most often tracks the status of populations over time, but it does not directly feed back into adaptive management decisions.
Outcome-based monitoring does just as the name implies – checks if we are achieving our desired results. The LMVJV is most interested in targeted monitoring that tracks our progress in meeting stated population and habitat objectives and that contributes to refining our science.
Properly designed and implemented monitoring and evaluation programs are essential to the mission of the LMVJV. Outcome-based monitoring can help us learn from our actions and establish research priorities (see Science Priorities); evaluate our effectiveness at delivering conservation, such as documenting net change in habitat conditions; track our accomplishments, such as how many wetland acres are delivered on the ground; and assess our progress toward meeting population or habitat goals, such as stabilizing population trends (see Open Pine plan). Thus, monitoring helps us to continually improve our management decisions over time and ultimately integrates into our everyday decisions.
Examples of Monitoring and Evaluation Efforts throughout the LMVJV