We present systematic arguments for the necessity of field survey in conservation biology. Preservation of biological diversity has become a major challenge in conservation biology, but to comprehend diversity, ecologists have to obtain information on what units the ‘diversity’ of different parts of the world consists of, where these units are, and how they respond to natural and human‐induced environmental change. To reach this end, systematic survey procedures need to be developed that incorporate data collecting, data analysis and conclusions about distributional patterns as well as management recommendations into an iterative process that is corrected as experience accumulates. The appropriate survey design depends on the task and needs to be fixed separately in each case; developing long‐term observational systems is no less challenging a task than developing experimental systems in laboratory research, or modeling systems in theoretical research. We conclude the paper with five principles of ecological survey. A common denominator of these principles is the need to make explicit decisions at each step so that errors and insufficiency can be corrected later.
Ecography – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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