Towards the global monitoring of biodiversity change

Departamento de Engenharia Civil e Arquitectura, Instituto Superior Técnico, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Impact Factor: 16.2). 04/2006; 21(3):123-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.10.015
Source: PubMed


Governments have set the ambitious target of reducing biodiversity loss by the year 2010. The scientific community now faces the challenge of assessing the progress made towards this target and beyond. Here, we review current monitoring efforts and propose a global biodiversity monitoring network to complement and enhance these efforts. The network would develop a global sampling programme for indicator taxa (we suggest birds and vascular plants) and would integrate regional sampling programmes for taxa that are locally relevant to the monitoring of biodiversity change. The network would also promote the development of comparable maps of global land cover at regular time intervals. The extent and condition of specific habitat types, such as wetlands and coral reefs, would be monitored based on regional programmes. The data would then be integrated with other environmental and socioeconomic indicators to design responses to reduce biodiversity loss.

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    • "Monitoring human impacted ecosystems is essential in order to ensure their proper functioning is not impacted in terms of ecosystem processes, which is supported by ecosystem's biological diversity. The quantification and assessment of baseline conditions along with regular ecosystem monitoring can provide warning of undesirable changes and additionally provide a means for evaluating the success of various management strategies with respect to protecting biodiversity (Pereira and Cooper 2006; Cabello et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The loss of natural habitats and the loss of biological diversity is a global problem affecting all ecosystems including agricultural landscapes. Indicators of biodiversity can provide standardized measures that make it easier to compare and communicate changes to an ecosystem. In agricultural landscapes the amount and variety of available habitat is directly correlated with biodiversity levels. Linear woody features (LWF), including hedgerows, windbreaks, shelterbelts as well as woody shrubs along fields, roads and watercourses, play a vital role in supporting biodiversity as well as serving a wide variety of other purposes in the ecosystem. Earth observation can be used to quantify and monitor LWF across the landscape. While individual features can be manually mapped, this research focused on the development of methods using line intersect sampling (LIS) for estimating LWF as an indicator of habitat availability in agricultural landscapes. The methods are accurate, efficient, repeatable and provide robust results. Methods were tested over 9.5Mha of agricultural landscape in the Canadian Mixedwood Plains ecozone. Approximately 97,000km of LWF were estimated across this landscape with results useable both at a regional reporting scale, as well as mapped across space for use in wildlife habitat modelling or other landscape management research. The LIS approach developed here could be employed at a variety of scales in particular for large regions and could be adapted for use as a national scale indicator of habitat availability in heavily disturbed agricultural landscape.
    International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 02/2016; 44:113-123. DOI:10.1016/j.jag.2015.07.008 · 3.47 Impact Factor
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    • "These targets require monitoring to assess progress towards specific goals. Such large-scale biodiversity assessment calls for methods which are able to provide an understanding of large-scale patterns in species' distributions, abundances and changes over time (Pereira and Cooper, 2006; Jones, 2011). This relies on surveys to collect data that are representative at a regional to national scale, and robust analysis that is able to provide an informed understanding of species' populations (Magurran and Dornelas, 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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    • "While existing indicators were shown to be efficient , they still should be improved by 'collecting data in a way that reduce existing bias' (Jones et al., 2011). A critical way to improve the reliability of global biodiversity indicators is to collect data at broader spatial extent, which is the actual scale for both population functioning and policy decision making (Jones, 2011; Jones et al., 2011; Pereira and Cooper, 2006). However broad-scale species monitoring is very costly, while funds to manage biodiversity are very limited, highlighting the need to maximize the cost-effectiveness of monitoring programs. "
    Ecological Informatics 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ecoinf.2015.08.007 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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