impacts becomes nearly impossible. However, if all programs only follow specified protocols, both opportunities to address severe localized problems and scientific innovation may be preempted. As monitoring programs will, and should, continue to be somewhat idiosyncratic in order to best address the most important local information needs, coordination may be stimulated by the improvements in information technology. Dr. James Quinn reported on Euro MAB's Biosphere Reserve Inventory and Monitoring (BRIM) program, which is designed to facilitate standardization and communication of biodiversity and other environmental information among Biosphere Reserves. The initiative has already produced a database of sites, facilities, scientific contacts, and available data types (ACCESS) and is working on an annotated directory of permanent vegetation plots. The MAB Fauna and MAB Flora databases are designed to speed and standardize the reporting of species occurrences in reserves, and has already been extensively tested in Central Europe.
Cross-boundary data are not useful for landscape analyses unless they are easily accessible to the widely separated investigators. Biodiversity data for about 20 Central European Biosphere Reserves is now disseminated over Internet. Newly available environmental information now permits more efficient and reliable habitat characterizations. Locations can be determined and mapped from downloaded remote-sensing imagery, and it has become much more practical to describe sites according to site-specific environmental attributes rather than artificial classifications. This will, for example, allow investigators to characterize vegetation post hoc, in the way most appropriate for a particular analysis, as an alternative to having to live with one of many competing classification schemes applied a priori. High resolution mapped attributes allow robust spatial statistics, allowing predicted biodiversity (or other) patterns to be described probabilistically with known confidence limits rather than stated categorically. While using these tools in Biosphere Reserves will require training and infrastructural support, it also opens the way to effective international monitoring in a way not previously possible.