Resource Details

Assessing and monitoring forest biodiversity: A suggested framework and indicators


Noss, Reed F. 1999, "Assessing and monitoring forest biodiversity: A suggested framework and indicators" Forest Ecology and Management vol 115. pp. 135-146.

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Oregon State University, Conservation Biology Institute, Corvallis, Oregon


Forest Ecology and Management

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  • In this paper, the author attempts to give an overview of monitoring and assessment as they apply to conservation of forest biodiversity.The examples are general, and focus on reviewing conservation assessment at broad scales, with further discussion of specific indicators that could be used to track progress. 
  • The author claims that setting goals for conservation requires a knowledge of the past, current and possible future conditions of the forest. Setting goals is important, as goals and objectives give purpose to assessment and monitoring protocols. While assessments are more like a "report card" of the current status of a forest, monitoring can be rigorous, and more similar to research. The information form monitoring and evaluation should be constantly fed back into the adaptive management cycle.
  • The author stresses the need to have goals and assessment strategies designed to match the role of a specific forest in the larger landscape, both for its ecological and ecosystem service benefits. Examples of 3 broad assessments that have recently taken place in North America are discussed. 
  • Forests in North America (and many other parts of the world) are facing two major problems: simplification (that is, the reduction of complex forest structures to simpler ones) and fragmentation. However, as we don't know exact steps to take to restor any particular forest, restoration should always be undertaken from an experimental, adaptive management perspective. 
  • The author suggests a number of possible ecological indicators to be used to measure restoration success besides indicator species based on whether the forest in question is oldgrowth, secondary growth, fragmented, or characterized by shift in disturbance regimes. 

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