Indicators such as the Living Planet Index can be used as policy tools to monitor progress towards a variety of biodiversity targets including international, regional and national targets. The LPI can act as a useful measure that can be applied at multiple scales and can be used as an indicator of wider biodiversity trends.
Convention on Biological Diversity
The LPI played a pivotal role in measuring progress towards the 2010 target of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss which, according to the suite of 2010 biodiversity indicators , was not met.
In response, the 193 nations of the CBD committed themselves to a revised Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets , for the 2011-2020 period including actions which will “…take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity in order to ensure that by 2020 ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services, thereby securing the planets variety of life, and contributing to human well-being, and poverty eradication.”
The 2020 targets focus on maintaining ecosystem services in which biodiversity plays an important role. Both the Living Planet Index and the Sampled Red List are applicable indicators for many of the Aichi Biodiversity targets under Strategic Goals A-D which address the causes, pressures, state and benefits of biodiversity.
Next generation of indicators
Whilst the above approach offers good information on how biodiversity is changing, little information is provided on what we should be doing about biodiversity loss. By linking indicators to explicit monitoring objectives it is possible to make decisions about which monitoring schemes require additional support, which can be informed by predictions of the value of such schemes to enable better policy decision making. Developing our existing indicators to address this could provide a valuable way forward, as discerning between competing policies will provide the tools for better decision making .
Without intervention, the continuing global population increase will result in a progressive loss of biodiversity, and a reduction in the ability of the natural world to produce the goods and services on which humanity depends. The magnitude of the challenge of slowing the rate of biodiversity loss is demonstrated by the fact that most of the direct drivers of biodiversity loss are projected to either remain constant, or to increase in the near future.
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Visit the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership for more information on indicators for CBD targets.