Leon Bennun

Leon Bennun
The Biodiversity Consultancy

Doctor of Philosophy

About

129
Publications
52,618
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
7,436
Citations
Citations since 2016
26 Research Items
3671 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Introduction
I’m interested in how biodiversity science can be applied to improve policy and practice for nature conservation. My current research focuses on managing the biodiversity impacts of development. This includes implementation of the mitigation hierarchy, achieving ‘no net loss’ or ‘net gain’ for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and metrics to set and track science-based conservation targets for business and governments.
Additional affiliations
March 2016 - present
University of Cambridge
Position
  • Academic Visitor
June 2014 - present
The Biodiversity Consultancy
Position
  • Managing Director
January 2002 - June 2014
BirdLife International
Position
  • Managing Director
Education
October 1984 - April 1989
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Zoology
October 1981 - June 1984
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Natural Sciences (Zoology)

Publications

Publications (129)
Article
Full-text available
Bird and bat turbine collision fatalities are a principal biodiversity impact at wind energy facilities. Raptors are a group at particular risk and often the focus of post-construction fatality monitoring programs. To estimate fatalities from detected carcasses requires correction for biases, including for carcasses that are removed or decompose be...
Article
Full-text available
There are growing calls for businesses to implement ‘nature-positive’ strategies. Convergence around a precise definition is now needed. We review definitions of ‘nature-positive’, highlight differences between ‘nature-positive’ and previous iterations of organizational biodiversity strategies (e.g. net positive impact) and propose four key element...
Preprint
Full-text available
There are growing calls for businesses to implement ‘nature-positive’ strategies. Convergence around a precise definition is now needed. We review definitions of ‘nature-positive’ and propose four key elements for ‘nature-positive’ strategies: 1) demonstrating positive biodiversity outcomes across the entire value chain; 2) measurable outcomes agai...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is an increasing expectation on the private sector to address biodiversity impacts and contribute towards global conservation goals. Appropriate evidence use can help businesses avoid biodiversity losses and realise gains, reduce resources wasted on ineffective or suboptimal action, whilst minimising biodiversity-related risks and securing op...
Article
Full-text available
The Convention on Biological Diversity’s post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will probably include a goal to stabilize and restore the status of species. Its delivery would be facilitated by making the actions required to halt and reverse species loss spatially explicit. Here, we develop a species threat abatement and restoration (STAR) metric...
Article
Full-text available
The mitigation hierarchy (MH) is a prominent tool to help businesses achieve no net loss or net gain outcomes for biodiversity. Technological innovations offer benefits for business biodiversity management, yet the range and continued evolution of technologies creates a complex landscape that can be difficult to navigate. Using literature review, o...
Book
Full-text available
Achieving a climate-resilient future requires rapid, sustained and far-reaching transformations in energy, land-use, infrastructure and industrial systems. Large-scale expansion of renewable energy can play a critical role in meeting the world’s growing energy demands and in the fight against climate change. However, even ‘clean’ energy sources can...
Article
Full-text available
Many nations use ecological compensation policies to address negative impacts of development projects and achieve No Net Loss (NNL) of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Yet, failures are widely reported. We use spatial simulation models to quantify potential net impacts of alternative compensation policies on biodiversity (indicated by native ve...
Article
Full-text available
Increasing exploitation of marine natural resources and expansion of energy infrastructure, shipping, and aquaculture across the oceans are placing increased pressure on marine life. Biodiversity offsets, as the last stage of the mitigation hierarchy, provide an opportunity to promote a more sustainable basis for development by addressing residual...
Article
Full-text available
A global goal of no net loss of natural ecosystems or better has recently been proposed, but such a goal would require equitable translation to country-level contributions. Given the wide variation in ecosystem depletion, these could vary from net gain (for countries where restoration is needed), to managed net loss (in rare circumstances where nat...
Article
Full-text available
de Castro, J.J., Capstick, P.B., Nokoe, S., Kiara, H., Rinkanya, F., Slade, R., Okello, O. and Bennun, L., 1991. Towards the selection of cattle for tick resistance in Africa. Exp. Appl. Acarol., 12: 219-227. Half-body tick collections and visual assessment of tick burdens were performed monthly over six months on 100 bulls at the Kenya National Bo...
Article
Full-text available
Loss of habitats or ecosystems arising from development projects (e.g., infrastructure, resource extraction, urban expansion) are frequently addressed through biodiversity offsetting. As currently implemented, offsetting typically requires an outcome of “no net loss” of biodiversity, but only relative to a baseline trajectory of biodiversity declin...
Article
Full-text available
Over US$60 trillion is predicted to be spent on new infrastructure globally by 2040. Is it possible to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9 (develop infrastructure networks) without sacrificing goals 14 and 15 (ending biodiversity loss)? We explore the potential role of “no net loss” (NNL) policies in reconciling these SDGs. We assess count...
Article
Full-text available
Systematic conservation planning and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are the two most widely used approaches for identifying important sites for biodiversity. However, there is limited advice for conservation policy makers and practitioners on when and how they should be combined. Here we provide such guidance, using insights from the recently develo...
Article
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine...
Article
Full-text available
Critical Habitat has become an increasingly important concept used by the finance sector and businesses to identify areas of high biodiversity value. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) defines Critical Habitat in their highly influential Performance Standard 6 (PS6), requiring projects in Critical Habitat to achieve a net gain of biodivers...
Data
Further datasets considered and justification for exclusion. Includes information on which element of the PS6 Critical Habitat they align with, the dataset investigated and the reason it was excluded from the global screening layer. (DOCX)
Data
Relevance of regional-scale designations to Critical Habitat criteria. (DOCX)
Data
Global screening layer (1x1 km raster) for terrestrial Critical Habitat. A GIS dataset of the terrestrial Critical Habitat screening layer is available on request for research and conservation purposes from information@unep-wcmc.org. (DOCX)
Data
Biodiversity features included in the screening layer for the identification of Critical Habitat. Includes information on which element of the PS6 Critical Habitat they align with, the dataset used, their classification as likely or potential Critical Habitat and justification based on the degree of alignment with the PS6 definition and the certain...
Data
Proposed alignment between the KBA criteria in the new global standard for the identification of KBAs (IUCN 2016) and IFC Critical Habitat (CH) criteria. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species provides assessments of extinction risk for over 80,000 species. It has become an important tool for conservation and for informing natural resource policy and management more broadly. Over the last 10–15 years, the role of the Red List in business decision-making has become increasingly significant. We descr...
Conference Paper
Increasingly, development projects are managing biodiversity and ecosystem service risk through the application of IFC's Performance Standard 6. Central to PS6 is the identification of Critical Habitat, which in turn requires the definition of one or more Discrete Management Units. Guidance for this is limited, and DMU delineation can be especially...
Conference Paper
Engaging constructively with stakeholders is vital to managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) risks successfully. Understanding and engaging with stakeholders is relevant at both corporate and operational levels and is necessary throughout the project life cycle. We have identified a wide range of potential stakeholders who have BES inte...
Article
Full-text available
World governments have committed to increase the global protected areas coverage by 2020, but the effectiveness of this commitment for protecting biodiversity depends on where new protected areas are located. Threshold-based and complementarity-based approaches have been independently used to identify important sites for biodiversity. Here we bring...
Article
Full-text available
As November's IUCN World Park Congress approaches, and the IUCN develops a policy on biodiversity offsets, we sense increasing excitement about the potential for biodiversity offsets as an innovative financing mechanism for protected areas.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
In their letter, Sheil et al. appear to have misinterpreted several key points. Far from ignoring local opportunity costs, we assumed that for reasons of fairness and effectiveness, establishing new protected areas "will require the full opportunity costs of conservation to be paid" (Supplementary
Article
World governments have committed to halting human-induced extinctions and safeguarding important sites for biodiversity by 2020, but the financial costs of meeting these targets are largely unknown. We estimate the cost of reducing the extinction risk of all globally threatened bird species (by ≥1 International Union for Conservation of Nature Red...
Article
Full-text available
There is an increased appreciation of the need for horizon scanning: the identification and assessment of issues that could be serious in the future but have currently attracted little attention. However, a process is lacking to identify appropriate responses by policy makers and practitioners. We thus suggest a process and trial its applicability....
Article
Full-text available
Protected areas (PAs) are a cornerstone of conservation efforts and now cover nearly 13% of the world's land surface, with the world's governments committed to expand this to 17%. However, as biodiversity continues to decline, the effectiveness of PAs in reducing the extinction risk of species remains largely untested. We analyzed PA coverage and t...
Data
Coverage of IBAs and AZEs by PAs and by internationally designated sites, and site-scale conservation under climate change. (DOC)
Data
Red List Index of species survival for species triggering IBAs of which over 50% are completely protected, compared with those for which≤50% are completely protected. Shading indicates the 95% confidence intervals based on uncertainty around the estimated value that is introduced by Data Deficient species. (TIF)
Data
Observed annual percentage declines in Red List Index (RLI) are significantly different from those expected by chance based on 10,000 randomisations for (A) bird species (during 1988–2008) with>50% of IBAs completely protected (N = 1,004, P<0.001), and (B) for bird (1988–2008), mammal (1996–2008) and amphibian species (1980–2004) restricted to sing...
Data
Completely protected IBAs (n = 737) are significantly less threatened than partially/unprotected IBAs (n = 1,263; chi-squared test: χ2 = 19.0, df = 3, P <0.001), but almost half (47%) face ‘high’ or ‘very high’ threats. (TIF)
Data
Annual percentage decline in Red List Index for bird species (during 1988–2008) with different proportions of IBAs completely protected. Numbers within each bar refer to the number of species. Error bars show 95% confidence intervals based on uncertainty around the estimated value that is introduced by Data Deficient species. (TIF)
Data
List of countries excluded from the analysis of PA coverage of IBAs owing to incomplete data on IBAs and/or their PA coverage. (DOCX)
Data
Trends in mean % area protected for IBAs in different (A) habitats and (B) regions. Shading shows 95% confidence intervals based on uncertainty around date of protection (and, for a small subset of IBAs, proportion protected). (TIF)
Data
PA coverage (% area) for IBAs in different ecosystems, habitats, regions, and relevant to different Multilateral Environmental Agreements. (DOCX)
Article
Our aim in conducting annual horizon scans is to identify issues that, although currently receiving little attention, may be of increasing importance to the conservation of biological diversity in the future. The 15 issues presented here were identified by a diverse team of 22 experts in horizon scanning, and conservation science and its applicatio...
Article
Full-text available
The target adopted by world leaders of significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 was not met but this stimulated a new suite of biodiversity targets for 2020 adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2010. Indicators will be essential for monitoring progress towards these targets and the CB...
Article
Full-text available
This review describes outcomes of a 2010 horizon-scanning exercise building upon the first exercise conducted in 2009. The aim of both horizon scans was to identify emerging issues that could have substantial impacts on the conservation of biological diversity, and to do so sufficiently early to encourage policy-relevant, practical research on thos...
Article
We completely agree with Wu and Petriello that a connection exists between the biodiversity crisis and threats to indigenous communities. Indeed, there are remarkable parallels between the geographic pattern of threats to biodiversity and threats to indigenous languages ([ 1 ][1]). Although this
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many migratory bird populations are in decline, with 14% of 2274 migratory species listed on the IUCN Red List as globally threatened or near-threatened with extinction, 42 of these being in the Africa-Eurasia flyway. There are many challenges in implementing effective conservation for species that cross national boundaries on migratory journeys th...
Article
Full-text available
SummaryThe Taita Apalis Apalis fuscigularis (IUCN category: Critically Endangered) is a species endemic to south-eastern Kenya. We assessed population size and habitat use in the three forest sites in which it is known to occur (Ngangao, Chawia and Vuria, totalling 257 ha). The estimate of total population size, derived from distance sampling at 41...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing Biodiversity Declines Understanding human impact on biodiversity depends on sound quantitative projection. Pereira et al. (p. 1496 , published online 26 October) review quantitative scenarios that have been developed for four main areas of concern: species extinctions, species abundances and community structure, habitat loss and degradati...
Article
Full-text available
The continued growth of human populations and of per capita consumption have resulted in unsustainable exploitation of Earth’s biological diversity, exacerbated by climate change, ocean acidification, and other anthropogenic environmental impacts. We argue that effective conservation of biodiversity is essential for human survival and the maintenan...
Article
Full-text available
Important Bird Areas (IBAs) form a network of priority sites that are critical for the conservation of birds and biodiversity. A standard framework for monitoring IBAs is being implemented by the BirdLife Partnership globally. Scores are assigned on a simple ranked scale for state (condition), pressure (threats) and response (conservation action) a...
Article
Full-text available
White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) breeding timing and reproductive success were documented in 1995 and 1996 at Lake Naivasha, Kenya (0°49'S), considered to be seasonally constant. In both years, pairs breeding earlier fledged significantly more chicks per breeding attempt than pairs breeding later. Smaller brood sizes later in the seas...
Article
The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), a partnership comprising 67 of the world's biodiversity conservation non-governmental organizations, has pinpointed where Endangered and Critically Endangered species exist at one remaining known location [1xPinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions. Ricketts, T.H. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A....
Article
Full-text available
Coordinated waterbird counts have been carried out in major Kenyan wetlands annually over the last decade. The lakes of Naivasha, Elmenteita, Nakuru (counted since 1991) and Bogoria are close to each other in the southern Rift Valley and hold the bulk of both resident and migrant waterbirds counted each year. Levels of the four lakes fluctuate subs...
Article
Full-text available
Robust and rapid ways of assessing and monitoring forest biodiversity are increasingly necessary. To this end, we present a classification of forest birds in Kenya and Uganda into three simple categories: forest-specialists (FF species), forest generalists (F species) and forest visitors (f species). FF and F species, but not f species, are depende...
Article
Habitat attrition may affect ranging patterns of individuals in natural populations, e.g. by engendering larger territory sizes as the preferred habitat decreases. Radio-telemetry was used to explore the ranging behaviour of the white-starred robin Pogonocichla stellata in the highly fragmented Taita Hills landscape, south-east Kenya. Thirty-one ma...
Article
Full-text available
Our study focused on the Taita White-eye Zosterops silvanus, one of three bird species endemic to the Taita Hill forests, south-east Kenya. Formerly considered Critically Endangered, Taita White-eye has been down-listed to Endangered following the findings of this study. Between November 1998 and September 1999 we counted this species along line tr...
Article
Sound knowledge of underlying mechanisms is essential for understanding how species respond to habitat fragmentation. Because most threatened species are typically the first ones to suffer local extinctions with forest fragmentation, studying why they fare poorly at the broader landscape scale is difficult. Related, sympatric but common species may...
Article
Full-text available
Governments are often accused of responding only to short-term and parochial considerations. It is therefore remarkable that representatives of 190 countries recently committed themselves at the Convention on Biological Diversity to reducing biodiversity loss. This presents conservation biologists with perhaps their greatest challenge of the decade...