It is good practice to evaluate the returns and effectiveness of investments, whether the investment be on the stock exchange or in managing threats to native flora and fauna. While it’s easy to keep track of the performance of investments on the stock exchange using an indicator such as the Dow Jones index, monitoring the outcomes of management actions for conservation is not so straightforward.
Selecting an appropriate indicator for evaluating the success of conservation management for a suite of species or whole biological system can be a considerable challenge. Despite the widespread use of indicators in conservation and natural resource management, their selection is often based on methodology that fails to consider the relative costs, benefits and uncertainty associated with each candidate indicator.
Part of my PhD research has been focussed on the process of selecting indicator species, which we have recently published in Biological Conservation (co-authored by myself, Kerrie Wilson and Hugh Possingham). We focus on indicator selection for invasive fox control in south-west Western Australia, although our approaches are applicable to other threatening processes and taxonomic groups. Continue reading Making better monitoring decisions through wise selection of indicator species