Monitoring and adaptive management

AuthorDirectorate-General for Environment (European Commission)
126 Guidance on Wind Energy Developments and EU Nature Legislation
7.1 Monitoring
7.1.1 Introduction
Monitoring is essential to ensure that: (i) the scientific basis underpinning the conclusions of an appropriate
assessment remain valid in the long term; and (ii) any measures to avoid and/or reduce significant effects
remain effective. Before a project can be allowed to proceed, a n appropriate assessment must conclude
beyond reasonable scientific doubt that an adverse effect on site integrity can be ruled out. However, it must
be acknowledged that scientific knowledge and the facts at any given time have a limited ‘shelf life’. There
remains uncertainty about: (i) cumulative effects (see Chapter 3.4); (ii) the effects of climate change on
biodiversity and ecosystem function; and (iii) other potential changes in the environment. Given this
uncertainty, monitoring is an essential tool in ensuring that any significant effects can be identified in a timely
manner and managed accordingly. Unexpected effects may arise for several reasons. For example, they may
be identified after an assessment has concluded that there is no significant effect, because new scientific
evidence has emerged. Or the conservation status and/or environmental conditions may have changed such
that an effect that was previously not considered to be significant becomes so.
Monitoring requirements and standards exist in some Member States. T hese requirements and standards are
mandatory as part of an EIA and considered examples of good practice for other countries to follow (Brownlie
& Treweek, 2018; IFC, 2012).
Box 7-1 The EIA Directive (2014/52/EU)
Member States should ensure that mitigation and compensation measures are implemented, and that appropriate
procedures are determined regarding the monitoring of significant adverse effects on the environment resulting from the
construction and operation of a project, i
nter alia, to identify unforeseen significant adverse effects, in order to be able to
undertake appropriate remedial action. Such monitoring should not duplicate or add to monitoring required pursuant to
Union legislation other than this Directive and to national legislation.” (Paragraph 35)
The need for monitoring and adaptive management in the context of biodiversity and infrastructure
development is outlined by many international organisations. Only on the basis of scientifically sound
monitoring data can the design and implementation of plans or projects, including measures to avoid or reduce
significant effects, be adapted over time to ensure their long-term validity, so called ‘adaptive management’.
Box 7-2 Examples outlining the need for monitoring and adaptive management
Given the complexity in predicting project impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services over the long term, the client
should adopt adaptive management in which the implementation of m
itigation and management measures are responsive
to changing conditions and the results of monitoring throughout the project’s lifecycle.
See: IFC ‘Guidance Note 6 Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources’.
A func
tion of monitoring, in the context of management planning, is to measure the effectiveness of management. It is
essential to know, and to be able to demonstrate to others, that the objectives are being achieved. Thus, monitoring must
be recognised as an in
tegral component of management and planning. It should be designed to identify and manage
change in ecological character of the site.
See: Ramsar ‘Handbook 18: Managing wetlands.
The collection of monitoring data on both identified negative effects and the effectiveness of mitigation
measures serves broader societal needs. Monitoring and gathering of data can provide the necessary
knowledge to resolve the uncertainties encountered in deploying wind energy developments that are low in
ecological risk.
here is often no standardi
project’s appropriate assessment and/or EIA?
management of the project’s

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT