A guidance on how to start up a national wildlife population monitoring program harmonizable at European level

Pelayo Acevedo, Marco Apollonio, José A. Blanco‐Aguiar, Jim Casaer, Javier Fernández‐López, Ezio Ferroglio, Patrick Jansen, Oliver Keuling, Yorick Liefting, Massimo Scandura, Graham Smith, Tomasz Podgorski, Stefania Zanet, Joaquín Vicente

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Wildlife policy makers and managers face challenges in taking decisions and dealing with the complexity of international context, and often operate without informed decision-making frameworks. This situation evidences the need of a harmonised Europe-wide wildlife monitoring framework able to sustain coordinated transboundary policy. With a pragmatic approach, here we intend to promote the foundations of a transnational wildlife monitoring framework in Europe, that is not meant to replace but to complement and improve harmonisation of existing monitoring plans. Here we provide a general framework on how to start up national wildlife monitoring programs to obtain comparable, aggregable results at European level. This guidance mainly deals with monitoring of species that are either abundant and managed for hunting or to prevent their impact of whatever nature, or, with species that are rare and protected, though associated with human-wildlife conflict. In the long term, rather than focusing on one single type of wildlife characteristic or monitoring component, the simultaneous monitoring of multiple components (ecological including populational, epidemiological or sociological) is an appropriate strategy to assess change and deliver integral evidence of the underlying reasons for observed changes (holistic approach). We finally raise a basic proposal indicating the main requirements to set up national wildlife monitoring programs that could be harmonisable at European level, which is based on progressive steps. The essential population and distribution data to be collected in a first instance are (i) hunting statistics, (ii) density data (relative abundance can be used for certain species and habitats) over an observatory network, and (iii) occurrence (presence/absence) data. There are different ways of integrating monitoring programs into a harmonised system. If data collected in the frame of monitoring programs are shared, ad hoc questions could be answered and coordinated wildlife management could be proactively developed, yielding reliable trends that account for factors that disregard international borders. We advocate for an integrated platform for collecting, managing, and sharing wildlife monitoring data across Europe, ensuring standardisation and consistency in the data collected by users while addressing confidentiality and secure data management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8218E
JournalEFSA Supporting Publications
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


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