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Nature, landscapes and biodiversity

What biodiversity indicators can be used?

Question and Answer | 18-06-2015

One of the most important issues to support policy makers is the development of a small number of simple and feasible biodiversity indicators that adequately express the homogenization process. Such indicators are also needed for the implementation of the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In The Hague 2002, the member states agreed to significantly reduce the rate of loss by 2010 at the global, regional and national level. Shortly afterwards the European Union and pan-Europe agreed upon a halt of the loss of biodiversity by 2010 (“ministerial process Environment for Europe", Kiev, 2003). In 2004 a global agreement was achieved on a small number of indicators for immediate testing in order to review the progress towards the 2010-target and guide policy makers in finding effective measures. Four global indicators have been selected on the state of biodiversity to evaluate the progress towards the 2010-target, for immediate testing:  

  1. Trends in extent of selected biomes, ecosystems and habitats;
  2. Trends in abundance and distribution of selected species;
  3. Change in status of threatened species;
  4. Trends in genetic diversity of domesticated animals, cultivated plants, and fish species of major socio-economic importance. 

In May 2004 the ‘Message of Malahide’ listed a first set of European Biodiversity Headline indicators to evaluate the progress towards the 2010-target at the European level similar to the above listed CBD indicators. The European Council urged the European Commission to develop, test and finalise this set by 2006. The use of similar indicators at the global, regional and national level is recommended by the CBD for efficiency and consistency reasons. Since 1997 the Dutch government has actively contributed to these consistent global and regional indicator development in the CBD, OECD and Europe.

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