Using balanced acceptance sampling as a master sample for environmental surveys

Paul Van Dam-Bates, Oliver Gansell, Blair Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


1. Well‐designed environmental monitoring programmes for management organisations are important for evidence‐based decision making. However, many environmental problems are not single agency issues that require intervention or monitoring at one spatial scale. A master sample can be used to coordinate and scale monitoring designs to ensure consistency in information gathered and robustness of estimators at the different spatial scales.

2. We propose using balanced acceptance sampling (BAS) to generate a master sample. In this context, practical applications and justification of BAS as a master sample are addressed. These include sample generation, stratification, unequal probability sampling, rotating panel designs, and regional intensification. A method for incorporating legacy sites is also provided.

3. Using BAS as a master sample is conceptually simple, gives good spatial balance over different spatial scales, and is computationally efficient to generate. An example for terrestrial biodiversity monitoring in New Zealand is provided.

4. Environmental monitoring can benefit from increased coordination between agencies. A master sample is an excellent way to incorporate coordination directly into the sample design. BAS improves on methods previously described and provides an effective method to monitor populations at multiple spatial scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1718-1726
JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number7
Early online date22 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Environmental monitoring
  • Legacy monitoring
  • Master sample
  • Spatial balance


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