One of the most unfortunate things about government budget cutbacks is that when you delete a monitoring program you’re not only throwing out the data from a single year, but you’re throwing out all that you’ve invested over decades.
Regular monitoring is vital to keeping tabs on the status of species and establishing trends, then to figuring out what has caused the trend and whether there’s anything we can do about it, if it’s a negative trend.
Without it, species will disappear quietly off the face of the earth, perhaps due to causes we can manage and thus prevent their extirpation.
In lieu of government, because politics plays such an unfortunate role in consistent monitoring, non-profit groups are now taking on the job.
For instance, Bird Studies Canada has compiled data from the last 40 years to put together a picture of how this country’s birds are faring, and there are some warning signs.