A Program for Monitoring Biological Diversity in the Amazon: An Alternative Perspective to Threat-based Monitoring
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Ferraz et al. (2008) indicated the need for planning in biological monitoring in the Amazon, and reviewed what they considered recent progress. The problems and solutions they discuss are well known, and it is unlikely that many biologists would disagree with most of them. However, the authors do not indicate that most of these issues are already being addressed in practice in the Amazon, especially by the Programa de Pesquisas em Biodiversidade (PPBio) of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology. The only major issue about which we do not agree with Ferraz et al. (2008) relates to the design of monitoring programs. The authors recommended tailoring experimental designs to specific threats, which will result in a multitude of idiosyncratic designs and incompatible data sets. We suggest that generic broad-scale designs will allow us to answer more questions with greater confidence, because the investment in each location provides information about regional and global questions. Although specific designs may be more effective in some cases, there are insufficient resources available to install different research infrastructure for every possible threat.