Can wide consultation help with setting priorities for large-scale biodiversity monitoring programs?

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Abstract

Climate and other global change phenomena affecting biodiversity require monitoring to track ecosystem changes and guide policy and management actions. Designing a biodiversity monitoring program is a difficult task that requires making decisions that often lack consensus due to budgetary constrains. As monitoring programs require long-term investment, they also require strong and continuing support from all interested parties. As such, stakeholder consultation is key to identify priorities and make sound design decisions that have as much support as possible. Here, we present the results of a consultation conducted to serve as an aid for designing a large-scale biodiversity monitoring program for the province of Québec (Canada). The consultation took the form of a survey with 13 discrete choices involving tradeoffs in respect to design priorities and 10 demographic questions (e.g., age, profession). The survey was sent to thousands of individuals having expected interests and knowledge about biodiversity and was completed by 621 participants. Overall, consensuses were few and it appeared difficult to create a design fulfilling the priorities of the majority. Most participants wanted 1) a monitoring design covering the entire territory and focusing on natural habitats; 2) a focus on species related to ecosystem services, on threatened and on invasive species. The only demographic characteristic that was related to the type of prioritization was the declared level of knowledge in biodiversity (null to high), but even then the influence was quite small.

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Boivin, F., Simard, A., & Peres-Neto, P. (2014). Can wide consultation help with setting priorities for large-scale biodiversity monitoring programs? PLoS ONE, 9(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113905

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