18. The ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of monitoring for conservation

  1. David W. Macdonald5 and
  2. Katherine J. Willis6
  1. Julia P.G. Jones1,
  2. Gregory P. Asner2,
  3. Stuart H.M. Butchart3 and
  4. K. Ullas Karanth4

Published Online: 25 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch18

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

How to Cite

Jones, J. P.G., Asner, G. P., Butchart, S. H.M. and Karanth, K. U. (2013) The ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of monitoring for conservation, in Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2 (eds D. W. Macdonald and K. J. Willis), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch18

Editor Information

  1. 5

    Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, University of Oxford, UK

  2. 6

    Biodiversity Institute, Oxford Martin School, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Bangor, UK

  2. 2

    Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA, USA

  3. 3

    BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK

  4. 4

    Wildlife Conservation Society, Centre for Wildlife Studies, India

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658765

Online ISBN: 9781118520178



  • conservation scientists;
  • decision makers;
  • landscape conservation monitoring;
  • professional ecologists


This chapter offers a path through the rapidly expanding literature on monitoring in the context of conservation. It illustrates the importance of having a clearly articulated reason to monitor, discusses questions of what to monitor, and describes how analytical and technical advances are changing the landscape of conservation monitoring. It also stress that professional ecologists should not necessarily have a monopoly and that many types of monitoring can benefit enormously from the involvement of non-professionals. To make sure monitoring programmes get the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ right requires close collaboration between those with a clear idea of what is needed (whether these are decision makers at the local, national or global scale) and conservation scientists (who can provide the technical and practical skills required). Such collaboration is essential if investment of valuable conservation resources in monitoring is to provide the maximum possible conservation benefit.