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Biodiversity Monitoring for Ecosystem Conservation

To protect wild spaces, we must understand what species are in them

Great Plains’ mission is to expand and protect natural habitats for biodiversity to thrive. By conserving wild areas nature is given the space to flourish in its own course. We, as humans, only know a fraction of the possibilities of nature and natural processes so by protecting areas we are inviting nature to take care of itself which in turn creates more biodiverse habitats and healthier water, air and ecosystem services. Within these intricate natural systems we cannot manage species independently, as they are all part of a greater ecosystem, each living thing connected by a complex network to the next living organism.

To repair and restore ecosystems we must understand historical and current biodiversity exists and what are the threats to base conservation decisions on. With a little over 1 million acres of land to protect, here we introduce one of the core elements to our conservation strategy at Great Plains; Biodiversity Monitoring.

Biodiversity, defined as ‘all living things and their interactions’, is by nature constantly changing as it adapts to internal, external, natural and anthropogenic factors. Biodiversity Monitoring is the systematic observation and recording of ongoing fluctuations in species populations and distributions determining the diversity status. We are looking at trends of wildlife populations and distribution and then ecologically impactful scenarios such as drought, fires and flooding. We look to be able to include a wide variety of variables in our monitoring from large to small, as more often than not it is the small things such as a butterfly species or dragonfly that can be the greatest indicator of the health of the habitat.

Building long-term biodiversity data sets is essential for implementing conservation tools such as adaptive management. We never expect anything in the system to be the same year in and year out and that’s why ongoing monitoring is so essential, pointing out what is normal and what’s not.

“Biodiversity monitoring plays a critical role in conservation efforts. It provides data necessary for assessing the health of ecosystems and identifying threats to species and habitats. By tracking changes in biodiversity, scientists and policymakers can develop strategies to protect endangered species, manage natural resources sustainably, and mitigate impacts of climate change. Effective biodiversity monitoring helps in predicting and preventing biodiversity loss, ensuring the preservation of ecosystems for future generations.” – Thomas, Great Plains Ecologist

Author Great Plains Foundation

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