What is Monitoring?

The US Fish & Wildlife Service defines monitoring as a survey repeated through time to determine changes in the status and demographics of abiotic resources, species, habitats, or ecological communities. Natural resource monitoring is another form of assessment that provides land managers with information essential to making well-informed management decisions. Monitoring can play a vital role in invasive plant management and prevention-it provides the justification and knowledge needed for evaluating management actions, and adjusting them if necessary, to reach invasive plant management objectives and sustainable land management goals more effectively and efficiently.

Monitoring basics

Before beginning a monitoring program, it's important to create a monitoring protocol, which is a defined process. Monitoring before and after restoration is critical to demonstrate the effectiveness of your management efforts and to learn what works best at your site. Take the next steps in monitoring:

  • Conduct baseline monitoring using your pre-determined monitoring protocol

  • Monitor the site over time according to your pre-determined protocol

  • Analyze your monitoring data to determine whether the management and restoration work was effective and change your strategies as needed

  • Remove emerging invasive plants that colonize the site ahead of native vegetation

  • Return to the site for follow-up work as needed – note that it may take several years for native plants to fully establish at the site.

Monitoring resources

Invasive Species in Michigan: Prioritizing Monitoring & Response Efforts

MISIN - Midwest Invasive Species Information Network

US Fish & Wildlife Service - Monitoring