By Roy van Grunsven – Dutch Butterfly Conservation
Monitoring how species are doing in nature is largely dependent on citizen scientists going out and counting birds, plants, butterflies, dragonflies or other organisms. In many countries this is currently not possible. This will likely mean that we will have a gap in the data for 2020. As many of these monitoring schemes are long term, often decades this is not what you want. We won’t be able to see what the impact of the warm winter of 2019-2020 is and it will make it harder to establish trends. In the long run we’ll be able to interpolate and come to robust estimates but only if this doesn’t last too long. This does show how dependent we are on citizen scientists. Without the large number of people who voluntarily spend a lot of time recording plants and animals we’d hardly have any idea what’s out there.