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New study examines impact of ecosystem management policies on monitoring and evaluation programmes

Glensaugh, a managed upland ecosystem (c) James Hutton Institute
“To allow for improvement, it is important that future policies update monitoring programmes to reflect current ideas about nature and its interconnections with society; reconsider balance of effort on different topics and allow flexibility to fill any gaps; improve transparency of data and data uses, and enable participation throughout the adaptive management cycle”

Monitoring and evaluation are key elements in the adaptive management of our ecosystems, the process of learning from new experiences and insights to improve how we manage the environment. A research consortium led by the James Hutton Institute has assessed the impact of ecosystem management policies across Europe on monitoring and evaluation programmes, finding that further development is needed to enable adaptive management.

Working alongside partners in Finland, Belgium, Estonia, Norway, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Spain and Sweden, the researchers examined three comparable policies: the Natura 2000 Directives; the Water Framework Directive; and Agri-Environment Schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy.

They found that while all three policies stipulate some form of monitoring and evaluation, and generally allow a good grasp of the state and trends in aspects of the environment, monitoring programmes often fail to deliver an understanding of dynamic and multi-level socio-ecological systems.

Dr Kerry Waylen, based at the Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group in Aberdeen and coordinator of the research, said: “We described the current state of policy-driven monitoring and evaluation across Europe, and then compared these practices to the latest recommendations in the literature, in order to identify recommendations for improving monitoring and evaluation.

“To allow for improvement, it is important that future policies update monitoring programmes to reflect current ideas about nature and its interconnections with society; reconsider balance of effort on different topics and allow flexibility to fill any gaps; improve transparency of data and data uses, and enable participation throughout the adaptive management cycle.”

The paper Policy-driven monitoring and evaluation: Does it support adaptive management of socio-ecological systems? has been published online by Science of The Total Environment, and the research collaboration was funded by ALTER-Net, a network of partner institutes who research biodiversity and ecosystem services and promotes awareness of related topics. More information is also available in our MEEM project page.

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Printed from /news/new-study-examines-impact-ecosystem-management-policies-monitoring-and-evaluation-programmes on 11/12/19 02:42:01 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.