This report summarizes recommendations from a panel of independent scientists concerning how Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service should consider performing monitoring of plant and animal species and their habitats within the Sierra Nevada National Forests (SNF). It was motivated by a settlement agreement between the Forest Service and several conservation organizations concerning how the Service had been implementing the Management Indicator Species (MIS) program under the 1982 National Forest Management Act (NFMA). However, a new NFMA planning rule, adopted by the Forest Service in 2012, replaced the MIS approach with new monitoring requirements, changing the context of the panel’s review. This report therefore presents general recommendations for how the SNF can develop a scientifically defensible and cost-effective monitoring program that is consistent with the original intent of the MIS program or adapted to fit other regulatory requirements. This report is not intended as a detailed guide to biological monitoring, nor to interpret monitoring requirements under the 2012 Planning Rule or any other particular regulations or guidelines. Rather it presents general scientific advice to be considered by the Forest Service as it prepares and refines monitoring programs under applicable regulations. 

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