Global Biodiversity: Indicators of Recent Declines

United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 05/2010; 328(5982):1164-8. DOI: 10.1126/science.1187512
Source: PubMed


In 2002, world leaders committed, through the Convention on Biological Diversity, to achieve a significant reduction in the
rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. We compiled 31 indicators to report on progress toward this target. Most indicators of
the state of biodiversity (covering species’ population trends, extinction risk, habitat extent and condition, and community
composition) showed declines, with no significant recent reductions in rate, whereas indicators of pressures on biodiversity
(including resource consumption, invasive alien species, nitrogen pollution, overexploitation, and climate change impacts)
showed increases. Despite some local successes and increasing responses (including extent and biodiversity coverage of protected
areas, sustainable forest management, policy responses to invasive alien species, and biodiversity-related aid), the rate
of biodiversity loss does not appear to be slowing.

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    • "Invasive species are known to have a significant effect on natural values, including alteration of ecosystem processes, species composition and potentially species extinctions (Butchart et al., 2010; Ehrenfeld, 2010; Kingsford et al., 2009). Despite the recognized global threat posed by invasive species, the number of invasions continues to rise (Butchart et al., 2010). without the support of a national legislative framework to guide action (Andreu et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the significant effect that invasive species have on natural values, the number and extent of invasions continue to rise globally. At least three dominant reasons explain why policy development and implementation can fail: differences in managers' mental models of invasive species management; cross-agency responsibility; and poor planning and management (i.e., planning–implementation gap). We used a case study of cross-agency management of gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus) in Australia to explore the differences in organizational staffs' mental models of management. The gamba grass invasion in northern Australia is continuing to expand and associated effects are increasing; coordinated action across agencies is needed to manage the expansion. Our aim was to examine how staff would represent their mental models as a diagram that we could compare between individuals and groups. We used cog-nitive mapping techniques to elicit models of 15 individuals from across 5 organizations, represented as an influence diagram, which shows the interrelationships that define a system. We compiled the individual influence diagrams to create a team model of management that captures the common connections across participants' diagrams. The team model revealed that education, science, legislation, enforcement and property management plans were perceived to be the most important management tools to control or eradicate gamba grass. The Weed Management Branch was perceived to have the most central role in gamba grass management, while other organizations were perceived to have specific roles according to their core business. Significant positive correlations (i.e., shared perceptions) were observed across half of the participants, indicating that the some participants have shared models that could be used as a starting point for discussing the team model, clarifying roles and responsibilities, and potentially building consensus around a shared model. Dominant opportunities for improvement identified by participants were better use of management tools, namely education and enforcement, better coordination and collaboration between agencies and increased resourcing. Our research demonstrates the value and validity of using influence diagrams to explore managers' mental models and to create a team model that could serve as a starting point for improved cross-agency natural resource management.
    • "They can provide reliable and cost-effective means of tracking environmental changes that are otherwise difficult to measure directly (Fleishman and Murphy, 2009), as well as for reporting on progress of policy and conservation interventions. For example, biodiversity indicators were widely used to test the progress towards the target of reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, set at the 2002 World Summit of Sustainable Development and eventually to conclude that the target had not been met at the global level (Butchart et al., 2010; Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Multi-species indicators are often used to assess biodiversity trends. By combining population trends across several species they summarise trends across a community. Composite indicators such as these are useful for examining general temporal patterns and may suggest important drivers of biodiversity change. However, they may also mask substantial spatial variation in population trends, particularly when they are calculated over large spatial regions. We produced spatially-explicit indicators for farmland and woodland bird communities in the UK and further separate these into trends for generalist and specialist species within each group. We found considerable spatial variation in the indicators, which is masked by indicators calculated at the national level. The farmland community indicator showed mostly positive trends in western areas and extensive declines in south-east England. The woodland community indicator showed a north–south divide, with increases in Scotland and northern England and stability in the southern regions. For both communities, indicator trends for specialist species were more negative than those for generalists. We found no significant difference in farmland community indicators between arable land and improved grassland. Woodland specialists had significantly more negative trends in broadleaf compared to coniferous woodlands, suggesting habitat-type is one of the drivers of changes in the woodland community. These spatial patterns in bird population trends may be used to highlight regional conservation priorities and identify where those may differ from the national scale. In combination with information about other environmental changes, they may also be used to develop hypotheses about potential drivers of change. We advocate that this approach is adopted for other taxa and geographical areas.
    Ecological Indicators 11/2015; 58. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.06.001 · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    • "Biodiversity is facing an unprecedented decline whilst the pressure on the earth's ecosystems continues to grow (Butchart et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: In many countries, bats have high conservation prioritisation owing to their trophic position, habitat associations and threat level, and many have dedicated management plans. However, poor knowledge of species' ecology, identification issues and surveying challenges mean that large-scale monitoring to produce required distribution and abundance information is less developed than for some other taxa. Static detectors deployed to record bats throughout whole nights have been recommended for standardised acoustic monitoring but to date their cost has prohibited wide uptake. Here we describe an extensive survey approach in which members of the public borrowed detectors to participate in a large-scale monitoring and mapping project. Covering a 15% sample of the study area over two years, the survey generated over 600,000 bat recordings. We describe a semi-automated step-wise method for processing this large volume of recordings to assign identity to species or genus level with low error rates. Twelve species were recorded during the survey, ranging from the near ubiquitous Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus to the locally scarce Leisler's bat Nyctalus leisleri. We show pronounced patterns of seasonality consistent with post-breeding dispersal and new information on nocturnal activity patterns. Using regression trees we generate new maps of standardised variation in activity which is likely to reflect underlying spatial variation in relative abundance. These reveal hitherto unknown patterns for species of superficially similar status. We conclude that with logistical support and centralised automated species identification it is now possible for the public to contribute to acoustic bat monitoring at an unprecedented scale.
    Biological Conservation 11/2015; 191. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.06.009 · 3.76 Impact Factor
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