Monitoring and assessment are important tools for effective management and can provide information to detect changes in condition that might trigger a management response, determine the cause of changes of concern, and evaluate the effectiveness of management actions.
Assessment normally refers to a one-time measurement or assessment of variables relating to ecological or social conditions or pressures. Monitoring involves repeating surveys measures through time, usually with the aim of detecting change, such as trends in coral cover or fish abundance. For example, a one-off survey of coral reefs damaged by a ship grounding would be considered an assessment, whereas surveying the same coral reef sites annually using the same or nearly the same methods is monitoring.
This section provides an overview of designing monitoring programs and conducting assessments. Guidance is provided for developing responsive and participatory monitoring programs, and assessing and monitoring reef resilience and socioeconomic conditions.