Combining and aggregating environmental data for status and trend assessments: challenges and approaches
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Type of Work18 pages
Citation of Original PublicationMaas-Hebner, K. G., Harte, M. J., Molina, N., Hughes, R. M., Schreck, C., & Yeakley, J. A. (2015). Combining and aggregating environmental data for status and trend assessments: challenges and approaches. Environmental monitoring and assessment, 187(5), 1-16, 278.
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Increasingly, natural resource management agencies and nongovernmental organizations are sharing monitoring data across geographic and jurisdictional boundaries. Doing so improves their abilities to assess local-, regional-, and landscape-level environmental conditions, particularly status and trends, and to improve their ability to make short-and long-term management decisions. Status monitoring assesses the current condition of a population or environmental condition across an area. Monitoring for trends aims at monitoring changes in populations or environmental condition through time. We wrote this paper to inform agency and nongovernmental organization managers, analysts, and consultants regarding the kinds of environmental data that can be combined with suitable techniques and statistically aggregated for new assessments. By doing so, they can increase the (1) use of available data and (2) the validity and reliability of the assessments. Increased awareness of the difficulties inherent in combining and aggregating data for local-and regional-level analyses can increase the likelihood that future monitoring efforts will be modified and/or planned to accommodate data from multiple sources.