Developing Effective Objectives
When reviewing the literature on ecological monitoring and research, there is virtually universal consensus that setting realistic, clear, specific, and measurable objectives is a critical, but often difficult first step. For the purpose of integrating science and management, it is important to distinguish among different types of objectives. Effective management objectives should reflect the desired condition, state, or dynamics of the system. In contrast, monitoring objectives provide information about what the monitoring is indended to do. Monitoring objectives should give the reader a good sense of what will be measured by providing specific details about such things as study areas, species, or measures. Management-oriented science is most efficiently accomplished when clearly defined management objectives exist and are accompanied by clearly defined monitoring objectives. Management objectives, expressed in terms of a desired future condition, provide a reference upon which the success of management actions or policies can be assessed. Monitoring objectives provide the measurement used to make that assessment.