The challenges of integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services monitoring and evaluation at a landscape-scale wetland restoration project in the UK

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Francine M. R. Hughes ; William M. Adams ; Stuart H. M. Butchart ; Rob H. Field ; Kelvin S.-H. Peh ; Stuart Warrington (2016)
  • Publisher: Resilience Alliance
  • Journal: Ecology and Society (issn: 1708-3087)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.17863/CAM.425, doi: 10.5751/ES-08616-210310
  • Subject: biodiversity | QH540-549.5 | Wicken Fen | monitoring | QH301-705.5 | Ecology | valuation | ecosystem processes | landscape-scale | metrics | ecosystem services | restoration | Biology (General)

There is an increasing emphasis on the restoration of ecosystem services as well as of biodiversity, especially where restoration projects are planned at a landscape-scale. This increase in the diversity of restoration aims has a number of conceptual and practical implications for the way that restoration projects are monitored and evaluated. Landscape-scale projects require monitoring of not only ecosystem services and biodiversity but also of ecosystem processes since these can underpin both. Using the experiences gained at a landscape-scale wetland restoration project in the UK we discuss a number of issues that need to be considered, including the choice of metrics for monitoring ecosystem services and the difficulties of assessing the interactions between ecosystem processes, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Particular challenges that we identify, using two pilot data sets, include the de-coupling of monetary metrics used for monitoring ecosystem services from biophysical change on the ground and the wide range of factors external to a project that influence the monitoring results. We highlight the fact that the wide range of metrics necessary to evaluate the ecosystem service, ecosystem process and biodiversity outcomes of landscape-scale projects presents a number of practical challenges including: the need for high levels of varied expertise, high costs, incommensurate monitoring outputs and the need for careful management of monitoring results especially where they may be used in making decisions about the relative importance of project aims. This research is linked to grants EN 06-2151 and 09-2739 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Ecology and Society via https://doi.org//10.5751/ES-08616-210310
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