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Sources of Survey Methods (SoSM)

Ecological surveying is one of the core activities of many members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and the CIEEM is keen to provide general information as a basis for developing and raising survey standards in the profession. Confusion over what constitutes an appropriate survey is particularly prevalent and may lead to legal or other disputes. This Sources of Survey Methods has been compiled as a reference of survey methodologies and habitat classifications. It currently lists the established and generally accepted methodologies for field survey; it is expected to expand as further references are added.

The importance of primary data collection in all ecological work cannot be over-emphasised as without good survey data the quality of an ecological assessment, mitigation and compensation proposals will be compromised. Providing guidance on standards in ecological survey is difficult as there is a wide range of techniques available for different purposes and circumstances and often more than one methodology can legitimately be used. This Sources of Survey Methods therefore, provides a general outline of the basic requirements of survey and reporting; the three phases being planning, executing and reporting, see surveying advice.

Quality control of surveys is important and will need to be considered and implemented, particularly for large-scale surveys or where new surveyors are employed. This should ensure that a high standard of survey is maintained and consistency between different surveyors. It is to be recommended that surveyors, whether as employees or as sub-contractors, should be subject to quality control measures at all stages of their work and especially whenever they use new survey methods. In the latter case appropriate training should have been undertaken.

While this guidance provides advice for cases where a protected species licence may be required to carry out a survey, this advice is not intended to be definitive and clarification should always be sought from the relevant legislation and statutory nature conservation organisation.

Habitats and Species covered:

Habitats (General) >>

Habitats (Aquatic) >>

Habitats (Terrestrial) >>

Amphibians and Reptiles >>

Birds >>

Computer Software >>

Invertebrates (Aquatic) >>

Invertebrates (Terrestrial) >>

Fish >>

Flora >>

Mammals >>