Indicators: tracking progress for biodiversity

Monitoring progress towards targets endorsed by the Convention on Biological Diversity

The challenge

The conservation of biodiversity around the world requires biodiversity indicators to monitor progress towards internationally agreed targets. Accurate and useful reporting on biodiversity faces many challenges, such as: considering all species, not just the well-known groups; capturing patterns and ecological processes at a fine spatial resolution; implementing a consistent reporting system for any region in the world and; establishing sustainable access to data for long-term monitoring.

Our response

To address these challenges CSIRO develops global biodiversity indicators to monitor the state of biodiversity at a spatial resolution that is both capable of capturing essential ecological processes and suited to inform decision-making. The modelling system, BILBI1, is a multiscale analytical infrastructure that combines biological, environmental, and socio-economic data at 1 km resolution, and can be applied locally through to globally. BILBI has enabled the development of two indicators endorsed by the Convention on Biological Diversity for reporting against Aichi Targets. The Protected Area Representativeness and Connectedness Indices (PARC) represent the diversity of biological communities within a protected area system, as well as how connected protected areas are within the broader landscape. It is used to report on Aichi Target 11. The Biodiversity Habitat Index (BHI) represents the proportion of biodiversity retained within a given area (such as a country or an ecoregion) in relation to the degree of habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation experienced. It is used to report on Aichi Target 5.

Case-study: Multiscale indicators of biodiversity persistence and protection

BILBI biodiversity indicators enable reporting on biodiversity persistence and protection for any area across the globe. These indicators have been implemented in the global and regional assessments undertaken by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES). National-level indicators have been made available via the Biodiversity Indicator Partnerships dashboard, while customised assessments for any specified area (e.g. catchment, within-country region or state, multi-country region) can be undertaken by CSIRO.

Figure 1. Multiscale applications of BILBI for reporting on biodiversity, from left to right: global representativeness of the protected area system (dark green = greater representation), trends in protected areas representativeness in the Americas (coloured lines = different countries), current protected area representativeness for habitats in Belize (darker green = greater representation)