Volunteers engaged in community-based environmental monitoring (CBEM; a form of citizen science) can track changes in species abundance and distribution, measure ecosystem health, and provide data for local, regional and national environmental decision-making. A total of 296 environmental restoration-focused community groups throughout New Zealand responded to an online questionnaire, the objective of which was to investigate the current state of CBEM and contextual factors shaping groups’ monitoring activities.
Tiritiri Matangi Island has attained an international profile as a successful ecological restoration project, and is often cited as a model of environmental stewardship. Ecological restoration on the island has always involved, and been dependent on, voluntary public involvement. Public participation in the project not only reinforces existing links between the public and scientific communities, but also facilitates even greater understanding of ecological concepts outside the professional and academic worlds.
To make sense of how nature is responding to an increasingly rapidly changing world, a lot of species distribution and abundance data are needed. To infer population trends, these data ideally need to be collected in a standardised, repeatable manner that includes ‘absence’ data on species sought for but not found. If many people, even just professional ecologists and postgraduate students, are to record biodiversity frequently in their daily lives, a convenient method that meets these requirements is needed.