Advantages of Volunteer-Based Biodiversity Monitoring in Europe [Ventajas del monitoreo de biodiversidad basado en voluntarios en Europa]

Dirk Schmeller, Pierre-Yves Henry, Romain Julliard, Bernd Gruber, Jean Clobert, Frank Dziock, Szabolcs Lengyel, Piotr Nowicki, Eszter Déri, Eduardas Budrys, Tiiu Kull, Kadri Tali, Bianca Bauch, Josef Settele, Chris van Swaay, Andrej Kobler, Valerija Babij, Eva Papastergiadou, Klaus Henle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    206 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Without robust and unbiased systems for monitoring, changes in natural systems will remain enigmatic for policy makers, leaving them without a clear idea of the consequences of any environmental policies they might adopt. Generally, biodiversity-monitoring activities are not integrated or evaluated across any large geographic region. The EuMon project conducted the first large-scale evaluation of monitoring practices in Europe through an on-line questionnaire and is reporting on the results of this survey. In September 2007 the EuMon project had documented 395 monitoring schemes for species, which represents a total annual cost of about 4 million euro, involving more than 46,000 persons devoting over 148,000 person-days/year to biodiversity-monitoring activities. Here we focused on the analysis of variations of monitoring practices across a set of taxonomic groups (birds, amphibians and reptiles, mammals, butterflies, plants, and other insects) and across 5 European countries (France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland). Our results suggest that the overall sampling effort of a scheme is linked with the proportion of volunteers involved in that scheme. Because precision is a function of the number of monitored sites and the number of sites is maximized by volunteer involvement, our results do not support the common belief that volunteer-based schemes are too noisy to be informative. Just the opposite, we believe volunteer-based schemes provide relatively reliable data, with state-of-the-art survey designs or data-analysis methods, and consequently can yield unbiased results. Quality of data collected by volunteers is more likely determined by survey design, analytical methodology, and communication skills within the schemes rather than by volunteer involvement per se.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)307-316
    Number of pages10
    JournalConservation Biology
    Volume23
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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    Europa
    volunteers
    biodiversity
    monitoring
    survey design
    communication skills
    environmental policy
    Lithuania
    reptile
    Hungary
    butterfly
    butterflies
    amphibian
    reptiles
    amphibians
    Europe
    Poland
    data analysis
    mammal
    questionnaires

    Cite this

    Schmeller, Dirk ; Henry, Pierre-Yves ; Julliard, Romain ; Gruber, Bernd ; Clobert, Jean ; Dziock, Frank ; Lengyel, Szabolcs ; Nowicki, Piotr ; Déri, Eszter ; Budrys, Eduardas ; Kull, Tiiu ; Tali, Kadri ; Bauch, Bianca ; Settele, Josef ; van Swaay, Chris ; Kobler, Andrej ; Babij, Valerija ; Papastergiadou, Eva ; Henle, Klaus. / Advantages of Volunteer-Based Biodiversity Monitoring in Europe [Ventajas del monitoreo de biodiversidad basado en voluntarios en Europa]. In: Conservation Biology. 2009 ; Vol. 23, No. 2. pp. 307-316.
    @article{9b12cbe866564804acab9fb59c7563b3,
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    abstract = "Without robust and unbiased systems for monitoring, changes in natural systems will remain enigmatic for policy makers, leaving them without a clear idea of the consequences of any environmental policies they might adopt. Generally, biodiversity-monitoring activities are not integrated or evaluated across any large geographic region. The EuMon project conducted the first large-scale evaluation of monitoring practices in Europe through an on-line questionnaire and is reporting on the results of this survey. In September 2007 the EuMon project had documented 395 monitoring schemes for species, which represents a total annual cost of about 4 million euro, involving more than 46,000 persons devoting over 148,000 person-days/year to biodiversity-monitoring activities. Here we focused on the analysis of variations of monitoring practices across a set of taxonomic groups (birds, amphibians and reptiles, mammals, butterflies, plants, and other insects) and across 5 European countries (France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland). Our results suggest that the overall sampling effort of a scheme is linked with the proportion of volunteers involved in that scheme. Because precision is a function of the number of monitored sites and the number of sites is maximized by volunteer involvement, our results do not support the common belief that volunteer-based schemes are too noisy to be informative. Just the opposite, we believe volunteer-based schemes provide relatively reliable data, with state-of-the-art survey designs or data-analysis methods, and consequently can yield unbiased results. Quality of data collected by volunteers is more likely determined by survey design, analytical methodology, and communication skills within the schemes rather than by volunteer involvement per se.",
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    author = "Dirk Schmeller and Pierre-Yves Henry and Romain Julliard and Bernd Gruber and Jean Clobert and Frank Dziock and Szabolcs Lengyel and Piotr Nowicki and Eszter D{\'e}ri and Eduardas Budrys and Tiiu Kull and Kadri Tali and Bianca Bauch and Josef Settele and {van Swaay}, Chris and Andrej Kobler and Valerija Babij and Eva Papastergiadou and Klaus Henle",
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    Schmeller, D, Henry, P-Y, Julliard, R, Gruber, B, Clobert, J, Dziock, F, Lengyel, S, Nowicki, P, Déri, E, Budrys, E, Kull, T, Tali, K, Bauch, B, Settele, J, van Swaay, C, Kobler, A, Babij, V, Papastergiadou, E & Henle, K 2009, 'Advantages of Volunteer-Based Biodiversity Monitoring in Europe [Ventajas del monitoreo de biodiversidad basado en voluntarios en Europa]', Conservation Biology, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 307-316. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01125.x

    Advantages of Volunteer-Based Biodiversity Monitoring in Europe [Ventajas del monitoreo de biodiversidad basado en voluntarios en Europa]. / Schmeller, Dirk; Henry, Pierre-Yves; Julliard, Romain; Gruber, Bernd; Clobert, Jean; Dziock, Frank; Lengyel, Szabolcs; Nowicki, Piotr; Déri, Eszter; Budrys, Eduardas; Kull, Tiiu; Tali, Kadri; Bauch, Bianca; Settele, Josef; van Swaay, Chris; Kobler, Andrej; Babij, Valerija; Papastergiadou, Eva; Henle, Klaus.

    In: Conservation Biology, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2009, p. 307-316.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Julliard, Romain

    AU - Gruber, Bernd

    AU - Clobert, Jean

    AU - Dziock, Frank

    AU - Lengyel, Szabolcs

    AU - Nowicki, Piotr

    AU - Déri, Eszter

    AU - Budrys, Eduardas

    AU - Kull, Tiiu

    AU - Tali, Kadri

    AU - Bauch, Bianca

    AU - Settele, Josef

    AU - van Swaay, Chris

    AU - Kobler, Andrej

    AU - Babij, Valerija

    AU - Papastergiadou, Eva

    AU - Henle, Klaus

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    N2 - Without robust and unbiased systems for monitoring, changes in natural systems will remain enigmatic for policy makers, leaving them without a clear idea of the consequences of any environmental policies they might adopt. Generally, biodiversity-monitoring activities are not integrated or evaluated across any large geographic region. The EuMon project conducted the first large-scale evaluation of monitoring practices in Europe through an on-line questionnaire and is reporting on the results of this survey. In September 2007 the EuMon project had documented 395 monitoring schemes for species, which represents a total annual cost of about 4 million euro, involving more than 46,000 persons devoting over 148,000 person-days/year to biodiversity-monitoring activities. Here we focused on the analysis of variations of monitoring practices across a set of taxonomic groups (birds, amphibians and reptiles, mammals, butterflies, plants, and other insects) and across 5 European countries (France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland). Our results suggest that the overall sampling effort of a scheme is linked with the proportion of volunteers involved in that scheme. Because precision is a function of the number of monitored sites and the number of sites is maximized by volunteer involvement, our results do not support the common belief that volunteer-based schemes are too noisy to be informative. Just the opposite, we believe volunteer-based schemes provide relatively reliable data, with state-of-the-art survey designs or data-analysis methods, and consequently can yield unbiased results. Quality of data collected by volunteers is more likely determined by survey design, analytical methodology, and communication skills within the schemes rather than by volunteer involvement per se.

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