Suggested Monitoring Strategies

It is not possible to detail precise monitoring programmes - these will need to be tailored to the requirements and nature of each SAC. However some general guidelines are presented, and it is suggested that each programme should include both broadscale ‘ACE’ surveys, and fixed-quadrat photographic monitoring. These will provide different, but complementary, information.

The ACE surveys should not attempt to assay all species - it would be impracticable to attempt to determine the full species diversity. The time needed, and the requirement for field identification, both preclude this approach: the results would in any case be unreliable based on a purely visual survey. Each survey should cover a limited number of species (certainly not more than 20, preferably rather less) which can be unambiguously identified. The selection of species for inclusion should be based on the criteria discussed in section III.E.4, including: species of limited geographic distribution; species characteristic of that habitat; species of high ‘interest’ value; species known or suspected to be declining; and species at risk from known or suspected impacts. The number of survey sites within each SAC will depend upon the range of CFT biotopes present, and their significance in the context of that SAC. It is not expected that all CFT biotopes present will be included.

Fixed site photographic monitoring would also be carried out at several sites within the SAC, though since the time commitment is greater, probably at fewer sites that the ACE survey. The number of sites, and number of replicates at each site, should be determined on a local basis (see Hitchcock, 1998b, for guidelines on replicate numbers).

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