Back to monitoring outcomes


  • Biodiversity

  • Compostion
  • Function


Identity considers the role of a species in an ecosystem. Species with particular traits can be monitored to provide functional information beyond richness and diversity metrics (Loreau et al. 2001). Species identity is monitored using functional traits (Cardinale et al. 2012). Identity can be monitored as the presence, abundance or diversity of a set of functional traits (such as morphological, ecophysiological or life-history characteristics) (Vandewalle et al. 2010).

Selection of functional traits for analysis will depend on the project and outcomes of interest. Assessing functional traits linked to ecosystem services is a useful approach (Walden et al. 2023).

Methodology summary

Data gathered during Species diversity surveys can be linked to functional traits, see Functional trait diversity.

Presence, absence, abundance or diversity of specific functional traits relevant to a project can be monitored. See Species diversity, Relative abundance, Biomass (measure of abundance) for more details on metric calculation.

Metric threshold or direction of change

Technological innovations

Plant spectral data can provide information on the functional identity of plant species (Frye et al. 2021, Lausch et al. 2016, Schweiger et al. 2018).


  • Agricultural
  • Forest
  • Grassland
  • Heathland
  • Other
  • Peatland
  • Saltmarsh
  • Wetland


  • Community
  • Landscape


  • Medium


  • Tier 1

Technical expertise

  • High

Standardised methodology

  • Partial