Measurement approaches

How to use the ISBM measurements effectively

The ISBM methodology requires primary data for an indicator species observation. Primary data that qualifies under this methodology must be able to identify an indicator species accurately, and have a geocode, and a date-time stamp.

Monitoring techniques that are not capable of delivering an accurate location for a species via triangulation or direct capture (ie, eDNA which could be generated anywhere along a watershed, untriangulated audio recordings) are excluded from this methodology. Identification techniques that are incomplete or inaccurate (i.e. uncharacterized DNA) are also excluded. However, some experimental approaches such as infrared drone may prove valid and useful and we do not preclude the use of techniques that meet the technical requirements.

Direct (video camera) AND indirect (e-DNA from monkey feces) observations are admissible in this methodology as long as the species being tracked can be geolocated by the indirect observation. For instance, feces from a spider monkey with a home range of 64km could not geolocate a tree whose fruit was found in the feces to sufficient accuracy, unless the crediting area extended beyond 4km in all directions of the observation, but it could accurately geolocate spider-monkey presence.

Raw data will require some post-processing with the identification of indicator species within the observation. And may require further processing such as auto-labelings of recordings, or triangulation of sonar.

Observations must include:

  • Verifiable unique, primary evidence of the presence of the individual species using appropriate equipment for the particular type of plant or animal. All evidence must be collected first-hand by the participants in the project, or neighboring sites within the spatial and temporal project boundaries (Project boundaries) and cannot be extrapolated from unaffiliated second- or third-party sources.

  • Geotagging and time-tagging of the evidence. For areas where geotagging and time tagging are technically impossible, or financially unfeasible for the project, trusted participants/biodiversity guardians may provide written notarization of the observation time and location.

  • Species identification. Ideally verified by a third-party such as iNaturalist.

The equipment chosen for the evidence is determined by the project itself. For example, in jungle areas, game cams may be the only viable means to use without disrupting the environment, and high-humidity might limit the use of audio-recording devices. In the ocean, sound recording devices may be more practical for detecting whales. In state-managed parks, animals may already be tagged. ISBM recommends each project choose the technology that is least disruptive to the wildlife in their project areas.

It is important and relevant to note that this methodology has been democratized by a reliance on primary data. In this context, the raw data must be unique, of a high-quality, and accurately represent the BCP.

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