We consider quantification of biodiversity in the context of targets set by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Implicit in such targets is a requirement to monitor biodiversity at a regional level. Few monitoring schemes are designed with these targets in mind. Monitored sites are typically not selected to be representative of a wider region, and measures of biodiversity are often biased by a failure to account for varying detectability among species and across time. Precision is often not adequately quantified. We review methods for quantifying the biodiversity of regions, consider issues that should be addressed in designing and evaluating a regional monitoring scheme, and offer a practical guide to what types of survey are appropriate for addressing different objectives for biodiversity monitoring.
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