Introduction to the guidance manual
3. What is monitoring?
A useful definition of monitoring (and the one used in this document) is provided by Hellawell (1991), modified by Brown (2000):
Monitoring is an intermittent (regular or irregular) series of observations in time, carried out to show the extent of compliance with a formulated standard or degree of deviation from an expected norm.
In line with this definition, we need to define the state desired in terms of objectives or targets, and then undertake monitoring to assess whether these objectives are being met.
Monitoring, in the sense used here, is distinct from surveillance, which is repeated survey using a standard methodology undertaken to provide a series of observations over time. Surveillance can yield valuable information on trends in the state of biodiversity and Earth science, but does not by itself establish whether objectives or standards have been met. Information derived from surveillance may be used to inform judgements on the condition of features on sites.