PROTECTING THE NATURAL WORLD
Biodiversity is the variety and differences of living organisms in an area including marine, terrestrial and other aquatic ecosystems, according to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
It provides the world with a wealth of knowledge and food, whilst also helping to eradicate poverty.
The richer the biodiversity the quicker the earth can recover from disasters and feed a growing population.
CASE STUDY: Indicator Species
Moths and butterfly reduction in UK
With work now being done to try and stop the destruction of biodiversity, ways to measure biodiversity must be found.
By using indicators to measure the health of ecosystems or of a particular species, the overall health of biodiversity can be seen.
Measuring biodiversity loss is a complex matter and there are various methods involved. Many countries have set up their own specific indicators to measure biodiversity in their territory.
Indicator species are species which can provide an indication as to the health of an ecosystem. The species could be one which is sensitive to changes and therefore can provide a warning of damage to an area or it could be a species which is at the top of the food chain which could show a decline due to its food sources disappearing.
By monitoring the populations of these species, trends and indications to the health of the environment around them can be seen.
WWF Living Planet Index
The WWF’s Living Planet Index is another measure of biodiversity. The index tracks population changes in over 2500 vertebrate species from 1970 to 2008. Through the data, average changes of species population are presented showing that global LPI has declined by around 30% between 1970 and 2008.
The Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI) process was started in 2005 to provide a streamlined and workable set of biodiversity indicators for Europe to measure progress towards the target of holding biodiversity loss in Europe by 2010. SEBI aim was to build on current monitoring and available data to avoid duplication of efforts and to complement and not replace other activities to describe, model and understand biodiversity and the pressures upon it. http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/streamlining-european-biodiversity-indicators-2020