Developing a mammal monitoring programme for the UK
(1999)
BTO - Research Report 223
Toms, M.P., Siriwardena, G.M. & Greenwood, J.J.D.
(Part III.A.1 written by S.N. Freeman & G.M. Siriwardena)
The British Trust for Ornithology was commissioned by JNCC to undertake an exercise to extend the work of Macdonald et al. The results of this exercise are presented in this authoritative and independent report by the BTO, which should provide great assistance to JNCC, and other potential partners, to develop further their views, priorities and role with regard to mammal monitoring in the UK.

Foreword

 
In 1998, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) published Proposals for future monitoring of British mammals by David Macdonald, Georgina Mace and Steve Rushton. This was the culmination of work commissioned jointly by DETR and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to make recommendations for a system to monitor British mammals.
 
Subsequent to publication of the proposals, JNCC, amongst others, recognised that the work of Macdonald, Mace and Rushton clearly pointed to areas that could usefully be investigated further. Three of the most obvious were:
 
  • a deeper consideration of the different types of conservation and control activities that mammals monitoring would need to inform, and how this would vary according to the management objectives for the species. Sample size, statistical power and sample design are all to some degree dependent on the objectives of the monitoring
  • a more detailed analysis of how the volunteer effort described in the original proposals could be cost-effectively increased and organised without loss of rigour
  • a review of the possibilities for exploiting existing data gather schemes.

 

Consequently, the British Trust for Ornithology was commissioned by JNCC to undertake an exercise to extend the work of Macdonald et al. The results of this exercise are presented in this authoritative and independent report by the BTO, which should provide great assistance to JNCC, and other potential partners, to develop further their views, priorities and role with regard to mammal monitoring in the UK.
JNCC very much welcomes this report and believes it provides excellent and complimentary discussions of some of the more critical issues identified by Macdonald et al. It is now necessary to test how the mammal monitoring ideas might be put into practice and to take some difficult decisions necessary to finalise the methods proposed. For example:
 
  • trials of new methods are needed to verify costs and assumptions about data quality
  • the potential volunteer network must be polled in order that its eventual use in mammal monitoring can be efficiently organised and adequately informed
  • the detailed work required for modification of existing mammal monitoring schemes need to be ascertained in consultation with the current sponsors and organisers
  • work to develop an administrative structure appropriate for the preliminary organisation and integration of mammal monitoring needs to start.

 

The establishment of a new long-term integrated monitoring scheme for such a popular, high profile and economically important group of species as the mammals, is no small undertaking. Many organisations are involved and each has its own priorities for mammal monitoring. Despite the challenge, it is paramount that these organisation work together to ensure that mammal monitoring in the UK has a long-term future and a sound methodology. These points are quite correctly stressed very firmly the BTO in this report.
 
Paul Rose, Ian MacLean and Steve Gibson
JNCC, Peterborough December 1999
 
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  • Download BTO Research Report, part 1 (PDF, 362kb)
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Please cite as: Toms, M.P., Siriwardena, G.M. & Greenwood, J.J.D., (1999), Developing a mammal monitoring programme for the UK, (Part III.A.1 written by S.N. Freeman & G.M. Siriwardena)