Measuring biodiversity change
Biodiversity has many dimensions including variety, quantity, composition and distribution. Whichever of these we choose to measure, biodiversity is changing in unprecedented ways. To respond to this, we need to know what is changing, where, and at what rate.
UNEP-WCMC provides information to show the current status of biodiversity and how this is changing, using our own assessments and building on work done by others. We support national governments and regional bodies to develop and measure indicators of the state of biodiversity, and enable global reporting on biodiversity change. This kind of information is essential for tracking whether we are on course to meet targets like those adopted as part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, and can help measure progress towards other global objectives like the Millennium Development Goals.
UNEP-WCMC has worked with other members of the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership to identify indicators and data sets that can be used to measure progress towards these targets. These are being developed further for use in the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, which will be launched at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Twelfth Conference of Parties in 2014.
In addition to measuring past-to-present trends, this work also projects trends forward to 2020 and, in some cases, beyond. We build scenarios to show how biodiversity and ecosystem services are likely to change according to future conditions, to provide guidance to governments and others on how, for example, we might feed ourselves in the future while also retaining a healthy and vibrant natural world.
See also our featured work on A partnership to monitor biodiversity.