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Linked indicator sets for addressing biodiversity loss

Tim H. Sparksa1 p1 c1, Stuart H. M. Butcharta2 p3, Andrew Balmforda1, Leon Bennuna2, Damon Stanwell-Smitha3, Matt Walpolea3, Nicholas R. Batesa4, Bastian Bomharda3, Graeme M. Buchanana5, Anna M. Chenerya3, Ben Collena6, Jorge Csirkea7, Robert J. Diaza8, Nicholas K. Dulvya9, Claire Fitzgeralda3, Valerie Kaposa3 p4, Philippe Mayauxa10, Megan Tierneya3, Michelle Waycotta11, Louisa Wooda3 and Rhys E. Greena1 p2

a1 Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK

a2 BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK

a3 United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK

a4 Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, St. George’s, Bermuda

a5 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sandy, UK

a6 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, UK

a7 Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Rome, Italy

a8 Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia, USA

a9 Earth to Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

a10 Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Ispra, Italy

a11 School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Abstract

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 CBD will be defining a suite of relevant indicators, building on those developed for the 2010 target. Here we argue that explicitly linked sets of indicators offer a more useful framework than do individual indicators because the former are easier to understand, communicate and interpret to guide policy. A Response-Pressure-State-Benefit framework for structuring and linking indicators facilitates an understanding of the relationships between policy actions, anthropogenic threats, the status of biodiversity and the benefits that people derive from it. Such an approach is appropriate at global, regional, national and local scales but for many systems it is easier to demonstrate causal linkages and use them to aid decision making at national and local scales. We outline examples of linked indicator sets for humid tropical forests and marine fisheries as illustrations of the concept and conclude that much work remains to be done in developing both the indicators and the causal links between them.

(Received October 19 2010)

(Reviewed December 09 2010)

(Accepted February 02 2011)

(Online publication June 21 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK. E-mail thsparks@btopenworld.com

p1 Also at: Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Poznań, Poland, and Fachgebiet für Ökoklimatologie, Technische Universität München, Freising, Germany

p2 Also at: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sandy, UK

p3 Also at: United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK

p4 Also at: Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

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