Monitoring is about asking the right questions that will help you ensure desired outcomes over time. There are different types of monitoring that you’ll encounter in science and management. In scientific research, we may have a question and a hypothesis, and with quality replication we can judge deviation through time. But, most of us will find this difficult to implement because of the financial costs, time and effort involved.
Instead, the focus should be on evaluating whether you are achieving the goals and objectives that you identified at the outset of the project and to what extent your actions were effective in helping you meet your goals and objectives. Some examples of monitoring items include:
- Amount and condition of canopy cover over time—Is canopy cover being maintained at or increased to the desired level? Is the distribution of tree cover becoming more equitable across neighborhoods and communities?
- Impacts from extreme weather events—Are management actions reducing the impacts from extreme events in the way that was expected? For example, are green infrastructure improvements reducing the effects of flooding during heavy rain events?
- Human health outcomes—Are improvements resulting in the expected benefits to communities. For example, are efforts to increase tree canopy reducing heat intensity?
|Management Objective||Examples of Monitoring|
|Have no more than 20% of a family, 10% of a genus and 5% of a species across all street trees||Evaluate street tree inventory data annually to determine whether urban forest canopy is becoming more diverse over time|
|Increase a neighborhood or city’s tree equity score from 20 to 40 points||Use tree equity score data to track changes over a 5-year project period|
|Reduce area covered by invasive buckthorn from 10% to no more than 5%||Assess post-treatment invasive species cover monthly for two growing seasons to determine whether follow-up treatments are necessary|
|Stabilize 50 feet of eroding banks||Use a series of site visits to ensure vegetative cover meets desired threshold and look for evidence of soil erosion or bank instability|
Practice Adaptive Management
It has always been impossible to predict the future, and climate change makes that uncertainty even more apparent. Adaptive management provides a way of thinking about how to manage in the face of uncertain future conditions by adopting a flexible approach that allows you to adjust your management as new information becomes available.