Monitoring consists of repetitive data collection to determine trends in parameters monitored. Unfortunately, too often monitoring consists of “fishing expeditions” where data collection is justified after the fact rather than being based on a priori technically defensible and testable hypotheses. Monitoring conducted following legal (e.g., regulatory) stipulations is not always useful. Ideally, monitoring should be conducted to determine the current status of the parameters monitored, their temporal and spatial trends (to assist in predicting future status), and the possible need for management actions. The most effective and productive scientific monitoring is adaptive, and is based on assessment endpoints that comprise ecosystem services, in other words, the benefits of Nature to human beings.
Science of the Total Environment