+ All Categories
Home > Documents > COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY...

COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY...

Date post: 19-Aug-2020
Category:
Upload: others
View: 0 times
Download: 0 times
Share this document with a friend
117
COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY - CBD Expert Meeting Stockholm 6-7 December 1999 Electronic Conference http://www.gencat.es/mediamb/bioind November 1999 - January 2000 Larsson, T.B & Esteban J.A. (Eds.) Swedish Scientific Council on Biodiversity Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Ministry of Environment, Government of Catalonia
Transcript
Page 1: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESSBIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN THE FRAMEWORK OFTHE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY - CBD

• Expert MeetingStockholm 6-7 December 1999

• Electronic Conferencehttp://www.gencat.es/mediamb/bioindNovember 1999 - January 2000

Larsson, T.B & Esteban J.A. (Eds.)

Swedish Scientific Council on BiodiversitySwedish Environmental Protection AgencyMinistry of Environment, Government of Catalonia

Page 2: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

2

Page 3: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

3

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................5

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RESEARCH NEEDS................................7

PART - I Expert Meeting in Stockholm 6-7 December 1999...........................11

• Programme............................................................................................13

• Report from discussion groups.............................................................15

• Summary of contributions.....................................................................23

• List of participants and contacts...........................................................43

PART - II Electronic Conference November 1999 - January 2000...............47

• Introduction...........................................................................................49

• Summary of the E-conference sessions...............................................50

• Contributions sent by participants to the E-conference........................57

Page 4: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

4

Page 5: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

5

INTRODUCTION

In the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD there is a need fortools to measure progress achieved by the signatory parties. The development ofindicators of biodiversity has thus been a long-term issue in connection with theConvention on Biological Diversity. It has e.g. been suggested to establish a "coreset of indicators" to be used in National Reporting and in the Thematic Areas of theConvention (cf. UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/Inf.13 and COP-3 Decision III/10, Paragraph 21966). The possibilities to establish biodiversity indicators and targets was furtherdiscussed at the Sixth Global Biodiversity Forum 3-4 April 1997 and at the thirdSBSTTA meeting 1-5 September 1997.

A further development introducing the concept of "generic indicators" is suggestedbased on discussions by The Liaison Group Meeting on Biodiversity Indicators,Montreal, 24-25 September 1999, in a document on "Development of Indicators ofBiological Diversity" (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/5/12) that is presented to the SBSTTA 5meeting in Montreal with options for recommendations to the Conference of theParties (COP-5) to be held in Nairobi May 2000.

There are several problems to be faced in the further development andimplementation of biodiversity indicators, not least related to capacity and costs toassess biodiversity. A major problem may also be the need for better scientificknowledge to create cost-effective assessment methodologies for biodiversity. Thereare several reasons why the European Union should take the lead to developbiodiversity assessment technologies and indicators in the CBD context:• The scientific capacity in the field of biodiversity and the knowledge of European

biodiversity is relatively good,• Assessment of biodiversity is specifically supported in the current EU RTD

programme.

In order to contribute to the development of cost-effective biodiversity assessmentmethodologies in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity the SwedishScientific Council on Biodiversity/Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in co-operation with the Ministry of Environment, Government of Catalonia invitedEuropean scientists, representatives of Governmental and other organisations andothers concerned to a project with the objective of:• Defining the policy-framework of biodiversity assessment methodologies and

indicators,• Presenting the state-of-the-art of scientific knowledge regarding biodiversity

assessment methodologies,• Creating a dialogue between scientists and policy-makers, including the sectors,

organisations and the general public as a basis for the further research anddevelopment on biodiversity assessment.

Two main activities were performed during November 1999-January 2000:• An Electronic Conference on Biodiversity Assessment and Indicators open 1

November 1999 to 31 January 2000. (http://www.gencat.es/mediamb/bioind)• An Expert Meeting in Stockholm 6-7 December 1999.

Page 6: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

6

In this report the outcome of these combined activities are briefly presented. It wasgenerally agreed that further development of adequate indicators is considered to bethe key to the proper implementation of the Convention. The introduction of theconcept of "generic indicators" combined with a flexible approach to the specificvariables to be monitored is a feasible strategy to achieve harmonisation of efforts. Itis premature to establish a core set even of generic indicators; there is still a need forfurther development and validation.

The Expert Meeting as well as the Electronic Conference reflects very well howcomplicated the issue to monitor and asses biodiversity is - basically due to the factthat biodiversity is such a complex concept. During the second day of the ExpertMeeting three discussion groups were established to give a state of the art asregards assessment of biodiversity; 1. Nature conservation and sectorial planning, 2.Ecological processes/global change & 3. Genetical biodiversity/biotechnology.Furthermore the contributions and discussions to the internet conference have beensummarised. There is also a lot of information and interesting points of view to collectfrom specific contributions in the Electronic Conference as well as during the ExpertMeeting and because of this these are also presented in this report.

The European Union has given priority to "Monitoring and assessment of biodiversityloss" in the current EU 5th RTD Framework Programme. Research is however notenough - indicators on biological diversity will in the short and medium timeperspective have to be developed based upon "best knowledge". Best Knowledge isscientific information that is policy relevant.

A future priority is thus to establish a "European Forum for Biodiversity" with the two-fold objective to: (1) create a meeting place between policy-makers, scientists andothers concerned in issues related to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and (2)in light of the social concerns for sustainable development, enhance scientificconsensus-building and theoretical development in the field of biodiversity.

Barcelona & Stockholm in January 2000

Aniol Esteban Tor-Bjorn Larsson

Ministry of Environment The Swedish EnvironmentalGovernment of Catalonia Protection AgencyAv.Diagonal 523-525 Bleckholmsterrassen 36Barcelona, E-08029 Stockholm, SE-10648Spain Sweden

e-mail: [email protected] e-mail: [email protected]

Page 7: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

7

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RESEARCH NEEDS

This section summarises the conclusions and research needs identified from thecontributions and discussions that took place at the Expert Meeting in Stockholm andthroughout the Electronic Conference.

The scope of the discussions ranged from the debate on very general statementsand ideas to comments and suggestions addressing specific subjects. This isreflected in the following list, which although somewhat heterogeneous, still is anattempt to reflect the inputs and ideas received from the participants.

MAIN CONCLUSIONS AS REGARDS THE DEVELOPMENT OF OPERATIONALINDICATORS OF BIODIVERSTY

1. Biodiversity is a multi-level complex system with different levels to be considered.The CBD presents a definition of biodiversity that is a good general starting pointfor further elaboration of a framework to be used for monitoring of biodiversitychanges.

2. Biodiversity assessment is needed for a range of purposes and we need todevelop methodologies for all of these.

3. The total amount of biodiversity information that can be potentially assessed ismore or less without limitation, therefore:

- We need to identify and focus those components that are most relevant,- We need indicators which can be used to assess the identified

components.

4. There is some scepticism about the use of biodiversity indicators, but they are anecessity since no alternative method to of rapidly monitoring biodiversity doesnot exist.

5. At present there is a strong development in this field and it is premature toestablish standard monitoring schemes based on "core indicators". The recentCBD approach to introduce the concept of "generic indicators" to be assessed bya flexible set of variables is commendable, as it allows further development.

6. There is a lack of common language when it comes to the concept and use ofindicators in different fields/biota (cf. e.g. the indicator work in freshwaterecosystems, in forests etc). A further multisectorial/multidisciplinaty dialogue onthe indicator concept is needed.

7. Indicators must be evaluated continuously. The meaning of the wordassess/assessment should be clarified.

Page 8: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

8

8. Before searching for indicators we first need:

- to define what we are trying to assess

- to define targets and goals

- to identify what are the best indicators for each of the targets

9. Indicators are strongly target-dependent. There is a need for concordancebetween economic sector goals and biodiversity conservation goals. There is aneed for development of indicators that combine the aspect of sustainableproduction and biodiversity conservation.

10. Indicators sets for biodiversity must also include aspects of ecosystem functionand services.

11. Indicator sets for land-use change should be developed with high priority sinceland use change is the major threat for biodiversity on a global and Europeanscale

12. Indicators sets for different landscapes taking time and space into considerationshould be developed not only to value ecosystems in pristine states but also for”less than ideal” state ones.

13. The main reason to use indicators for some target instead of directly measuring itis to higher efficiency, otherwise the indicator is not useful for the conservation ofbiodiversity

14. The use of ”best current knowledge” for target setting/choice of indicators, andcontinuous re-evaluation of their use is a pragmatic and desirable approach.

15. Although further research is needed, scientists should start to identify and usebiodiversity indicators despite major gaps in the knowledge. The issue ofbiodiversity indicators should be approached from a multi-disciplinar point of view.

16. Scientific knowledge must be implemented into political action, andcommunication with the public has to be enhanced.

Page 9: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

9

RESEARCH NEEDS

Further research is needed:

1. To improve the understanding of what biodiversity is, how it could be used andpreserved and to improve our knowledge of the relationships betweenenvironmental and anthropogenic influences,

2. To identify key pressures on biodiversity and link them with basic ecosystemprocesses and how indicator species/populations react to disturbances,

3. To link local and global scales for indication of biodiversity changes,

4. To develop early warning system indicators,

5. To develop guidelines for the definition of targets,

6. On sustainable production methods that consider biodiversity conservation ineconomic sectors (agriculture, forestry fisheries…),

7. On socio-economic aspects to improve the way how to implement empiricalknowledge into decision making,

8. To combine data for efficient use in assessing biodiversity, to improve theharmonisation of figures and data collection methods and to define appropriatetechniques for the different issues,

9. To understand basic ecosystem processes and to clarify the relation betweenthem and biodiversity,

10. To improve the knowledge on land use and ecosystem changes in global scales,

11. To assess biodiversity in fragmented areas and isolated areas,

12. To know and monitor the extent of buffer zones around protected areas and ofcorridors connecting ecosystems,

13. To define highly indicative organisms ("key stone", "unbrella" species etc),

14. To conduct base-line studies in undisturbed ecosystems incl. studies of referencepopulations,

17. There is a need to enhance the research on Genetical biodiversity and to fullyimplement the genetic level into biodiversity protection measures,

18. Biodiversity assessment from the genetic level should mainly focus on:

• Looking for genetic regions that differ between highly selected, well-performing breeds and original, local breeds,

• Monitoring disease resistance and correlated genetic markers (MHC),• To discover negative inbreeding effects, negative effects on disease

resistance (MHC), to detect hampered selection-response ability,

• The maintenance of functional responses, genetic uniqueness, evolutionarysignificant units (ESU), genetic variability.

19. Special attention should be given to diversity of bacteria and on the relationbetween microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning.

Page 10: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

10

Page 11: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

11

PART - I

Expert Meeting in Stockholm6-7 December 1999

Swedish Environmental Protection AgencyBleckholmsterrassen 36SE-10648, Stockholm, SWEDEN

• Programme

• Report from discussion groups

• Summary of contributions

• List of participants

Page 12: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

12

Page 13: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

13

PROGRAMME

Monday 6 December 10.00 - 18.00

10.00-10.20 Welcome and introductionPeter Westman, Ministry of Environment, Sweden & Torbjorn Ebenhard, Swedish Scientific Council onBiodiversity

10.20-10.50 History of the biological diversity in EuropeUrban Emanuelsson, The Swedish Biodiversity Centre

10.50-11.05 The EU proposal on headline indicatorsBernt Röndell, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

11.05-11.20 Assessment of biodiversity in the framework of the Convention onBiological DiversityBjörn Åge Tömmerås, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA

11.20-11.50 Tee/Coffee

11.50-12.15 State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Terrestrial environmentLennart Hansson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

12.15 -12.40 State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Freshwater environmentRichard Johnson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

12.40-13.00 State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Microbial diversityEndre Laczko, ENSCMu, France

13.00-14.00 LUNCH

14.00-14.15 State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Soil biodiversityHenk Siepel, ALTERRA, The Netherlands

14.15-14.45 Monitoring of biodiversity in EuropeDominique Richard, European Topic Centre on Nature Conservation, Paris & Ulla Pinborg, EuropeanEnvironment Agency, Copenhagen

14.45-15.10 How to design a national biodiversity monitoring programme: Experiencesfrom FinlandHeikki Toivonen, Finnish Environment Institute

10 min pause

15.20-15.45 EU RTD "Global change, climate and biodiversity"Martin Sharman, European Commission

15.45-16.10 The EU project "Indicators for monitoring and evaluation of forestbiodiversity in Europe BEAR"Tor-Bjorn Larsson, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

16.10-16.35 Tee/Coffee

16.35-16.55 The EU project "European biodiversity assessment tools"Allan Watt, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, U.K.

Page 14: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

14

16.55-17.20 The EU project "Functional markers of genetical biodiversity"Marcello Buiatti, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Italy

17.20-17.40 The EU project "Design and testing of DNA microarrays to monitormicrobial diversity with adequate biodiversity indexes, using cyanobacteria as amodel system MIDI-CHIP"Annick Wilmotte, Universite de Liege, Belgium

17.40-18.00 The EU project "Biodiversity and human impact in shallow lakesSteven Declerck, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Belgium

18.00 - 21.00 ca BUFFET

Tuesday 7 December 8.30 - 15.00

08.30-09.00 Biodiversity indicators - from science to policyBen ten Brink, RIVM, The Netherlands

09.00-09.20 Biodiversity as instrument for the Sustainable Forest Management inthe ISO (Institute for Standard Organisation) 14.061 and 14.031 normative.Lucia Naviglio, Direttore Settore Scienze Biologiche E Tossicologiche, Dipatimento Ambiente,Italy

9.20 - 12.00 Discussion groups (mixed scientists /policy-makers) on theassessment of biodiversity

1. Nature conservation and sectorial planningModerator: Peter L Nowicki, Wye College, University of LondonRapporteur: Gunilla Almered Olsson, NTNU, Norway

2. Ecological processes/global changeModerator: Marianne Lilliesköld, Swedish Environmental Protection AgencyRapporteur: Michael Scherer-LorenzenMax-Planck-Institute for BiogeochemistryJena, Germany

3. Genetical biodiversity/biotechnologyModerator: Pekka Pamilo, Uppsala University, SwedenRapporteur: Per Sjögren Gulve, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

12.00-13.00 LUNCH

13.00-14.00 Reports from the discussion groups

14.00-14.20 Experiences on internet communication on research and biodiversityAniol Esteban, Ministry of Environment, Government of Catalonia

14.20-15.00 Continuing the dialogueTor-Bjorn Larsson, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

15.00 End of meeting

Page 15: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

15

REPORTS FROM DISCUSSION GROUPS

• Nature conservation and sectorial planning

Moderator: Peter L Nowicki, Wye College, University of LondonRapporteur: Gunilla Almered Olsson, NTNU, Norway

• Ecological processes/global change

Moderator: Marianne Lilliesköld, Swedish Environmental Protection AgencyRapporteur: Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Max-Planck-Institute forBiogeochemistry, Jena, Germany

• Genetical biodiversity/biotechnology

Moderator: Pekka Pamilo, Uppsala University, SwedenRapporteur: Per Sjögren Gulve, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency,Sweden

Page 16: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

16

Nature conservation and sectorial planning

Moderator. Peter L. Nowicki, Wye College, UKRapporteur: Gunilla. A. Olsson, NTNU, Norway

At the chairman’s suggestion the group participants presented themselves asbelonging to the categories Decision maker, Provider of knowledge (researcher) orImplementer (administrator of conservation or practical conservationist). Thisprocedure showed that all three categories of experts were represented in the group -working in the fields of wild life conservation including species conservation, generalnature conservation, conservation planning at national or European levels,agriculture, forestry, and in Europe and in the Tropics.

The perspective of 6.000 years of human impact on biodiversity in the developmentof European agriculture and the semi-natural ecosystems and habitats was used bythe chairman as a framework for the task of biodiversity conservation and sectorialplanning.

Use of concepts for habitat classification

The ambition to classify habitats according to degree of ‘Naturalness’ or ‘Pristine’ isneither realistic nor productive.

A useful alternative approach is applying ‘Ecological disturbance’ as a criterium. Thiscould include both degree and type of disturbances like ‘Forest with natural fireregimes 150 years ago’, ‘Woodland grazed by livestock 50 years ago’, ‘Clear cutforest area’, ‘Semi-natural grassland maintained by mowing’, ‘Successionaldeciduous forest — former horse pasture’ etc.. Knowledge of the disturbance factorsis critical for relevant monitoring and interpretation of changes and hence forassessing management measures.

How to interpret and handle changes in semi-natural ecosystems?

Semi-natural ecosystems and habitats are today remnants of ecosystems shapedwithin a framework of pre-industrial agricultural economy and technology. Todaywhen technology for food production has changed dramatically such habitats nolonger have an economic use. However, they are often subjected to strongconservation interests due to their biodiversity values. How to handle this paradox?

Changes in agricultural technology have led to land use changes and hence also tochanges in the semi-natural habitats. Further, today we also have to cope withongoing environmental changes like climatic change, pollution etc.

Both from historical and ecological point of view it is not scientifically defendable toestablish a certain time period as the most interesting point in time for conservation.Rather it should be accepted that changes are part of ecological systems. Ecologicalprocesses rather than states should be focused in the ambition to conserve biologicaldiversity. Such an approach could acknowledge the positive potential of changes.

Page 17: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

17

The relationship between biological production sectors and conservation of biologicaldiversity

Protected areas are valuable as reservoirs of biodiversity, protection of somesensitive and rare species etc. However, protected areas will also in the future coveronly very small areas in relation to areas used for economic production. From aglobal point of view the main part of the world’s biodiversity will have to exist outsideprotected areas. It is thus extremely important that production methods within thesectors agriculture, forestry and fishery will be changed and developed so thatbiological diversity can be maintained also within the economic production systems.

The CBD/ Biodiversity convention and the UNCED both stress the relationshipbetween sustainable production and biodiversity conservation. Biodiversityconservation is an aspect of sustainable production systems. The need fordevelopment of Indicators that combine the aspect of sustainable production andbiodiversity conservation was stressed.

The importance of economic policies for the sectors and biodiversity conservation

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the European Community was discussedas an example of the gap between the goals and measures in an economic sectorpolicy and the goals in the CBD. The need for concordance between economic sectorgoals and biodiversity conservation goals was stressed.

Indicator concept shows the gap between political and scientific processes.

The political sectors demand solid baseline data and indicators that can begeneralised for decision making and recommendations. The scientific process isbased on long-term studies and experimental research work. Scientists are oftenreluctant to make large-scale generalisations based on site specific studies. Use of‘Best current knowledge’ for target setting/choice of indicators, and continuous re-evaluation of their use is a pragmatic and desirable approach.

Need for future research — Indicators

The following issues were focused upon:Research on Sustainable production methods that consider biodiversity conservation- in economic sectors (agriculture, forestry, fishery etc).Linking local and global scales for indication of biodiversity changes.Early warning system indicators.Monitoring of land use and ecosystem changes in global scale; Capacity building forremote sensing in developing countries.

Page 18: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

18

Ecological processes / Global change

Moderator: Marianne Lilliesköld, Swedish Environmental Protection AgencyRapporteur: Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry,Jena, Germany

In a first round of the discussion, statements of the participants about the importanceand usefulness of indicators in the field of ecological processes and climate changewere collected. These included:

• A general scepticism about how to define indicators for such a wide ranging fieldas "ecological processes and climate change".

• The knowledge about some basic ecological processes is good in most Europeancountries (e.g. forest productivity on the basis of intensive and long-term forestinventories). However, the relation between biodiversity and these processes ingeneral remain debatable as only data from few experiments are available (whichshowed a positive relation between diversity and some important ecosystemprocesses like productivity). One approach in the search for indicators could be athorough inspection of these core data-sets and adapt them to be indicators of theprocess under consideration. However, it is difficult to measure processesdirectly, so patterns of biological objects reflecting the process rates may be used.

• The basic ecosystem processes must be clarified for each ecosystem beforeindicators can be found.

• The definition of baseline data for ecological processes and global change mustbe done very carefully.

In a second step, the possible search for indicators was discussed using the exampleof nitrogen-deposition as a major threat for biodiversity:

• N-deposition leads to profound biological and chemical changes withinecosystems: the abundance and diversity of mycorrhiza and plant composition isaffected, but also the chemical composition of the soil or of the plants.Additionally, productivity may increase (only if N is the "limiting" nutrient and ifother nutrients are available sufficiently) or nitrate leaching may increase. Ingeneral, chemical indicators react faster to changes in N-load than biologicalindicators. Therefore, indicator sets that tell something about the influence of N-deposition on biodiversity must be a combination of quick reacting chemicalindicators and slowly reacting biological indicators, which monitor the long-termtrends.

Page 19: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

19

The issue of the obvious gap between scientific knowledge and political decisionmaking was also addressed. It was agreed upon that:

• It is necessary to increase the implementation of scientific knowledge into politicalaction (e.g. forests are cut although scientist have shown that it is of high value).Therefore, the communication with the public has to be improved.

• Further research focusing on socio-economic aspects is needed to improve theway how to implement empirical knowledge in decision making.

The proposed core set of biodiversity indicators within the SBSTTA 5-process wasalso discussed (see SBSTTA document from 22/10/1999). It appeared that:

• Within the section of indicators for "ecosystem quality", ecosystem processes orecosystem functioning are not included. Therefore, it is recommended to includefunctional indicator-sets focusing on these processes.

• Indicators for landscape change should be included in the section of "pressureindicators".

• Within the CBD in general, main emphasis is giving to pristine or "natural"conditions. As the state of biodiversity in Europe strongly depends on continuousmanagement, the value and importance of this "cultural landscape"("Kulturlandschaft" in German) should also be included in the search for quality-indicators of ecosystems.

• The exact definition of the spatial scale and of the landscape type is veryimportant for the use of biodiversity indicators in international comparisons.Hence, harmonisation of procedures and standards is essential.

Research needs:

The following research needs were identified, although some of them are not directlylinked with the problem of how to find indicators for biodiversity and ecologicalprocesses or climate change:

• As indicators are strongly target-dependent, the development of guidelines for thedefinition of such targets would be helpful.

• The use of indicators from regional and landscape ecology in the context ofecological processes and climate change should be tested.

• A research project about the theory and history of the definitions and the use ofindicators in biology and ecology could clarify the whole indicator-concept. Thiswould reduce confusion and misinterpretations due to the lack of a common"language".

Page 20: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

20

• How do species respond to several aspects of global change (land-use change,fragmentation, acidification, N-deposition, climate change etc.)? Some information isavailable in this area but large-scale experiments are lacking!

• More information is urgently needed about regional and global patterns of microbialcommunities and about changes along environmental gradients. Research on therelation between microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning is only at its beginningand has to be strengthened in the future. Related to this topic is the need forinvestigations concentrating on the influence of antibiotics (cows) on microbialcommunities.

• There is some evidence from aquatic restoration projects that the structure of food-webs remains unchanged after water quality was improved. Therefore it would beinteresting to investigate how food-web structures can be changed in order to forcethe system to a new – wanted – equilibrium.

• An urgent need for a European-wide monitoring programme of the extent of bufferzones around protected areas and of corridors connecting ecosystems was identified.

• In general, more controlled experimental approaches are needed in biodiversityresearch. This also includes the search for biodiversity indicators.

Conclusion:

• Indicator sets for biodiversity must also include functional aspects. As an example forfurther discussion, the search for the 100 most functional important species orfunctional groups for the maintenance of ecosystem processes was proposed. Suchfunctional indicators relate to the question of how the system is working, and have tobe complementary to structural indicators and to indicators of threatened species.

• In a first step, key pressures on biodiversity have to be identified and linked with thebasic ecosystem processes. Then, indicator sets may be found for each major groupof threats (landscape fragmentation, habitat destruction etc. on the one side andacidification, N-deposition, climate change etc. on the other side). However, there isstill a lack of knowledge of how those pressures will influence ecological processes,so indicators must be evaluated continuously.

• Indicator sets for land-use change should be developed with high priority as land-usechange is the major threat for biodiversity on a global and European scale.

• For areas where natural disturbances are a major driving force for biodiversity,indicators describing these disturbances should be developed.

• It is very important to develop indicators for land-use change and for chemicalpollution in order to detect the real importance of both pressures on biodiversity.

• Scientists have to start to identify and use biodiversity indicators despite major gapsin the knowledge. We cannot wait for the ideal indicator! In consequence, controllingsystems to evaluate the indicators have to be implemented from the beginning inorder to develop the ”best” indicator.

Page 21: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

21

Genetical biodiversity / biotechnology

Moderator: Pekka Pamilo, Uppsala University, SwedenRapporteur: Per Sjögren Gulve, Swedish Environmental Protection AgencyOther participants: Johan Abenius, Jan Stenlid, Annick Wilmotte & Steffen Weigend

The group started to discuss domesticated taxa and reached the followingconclusions as regards assessment of biodiversity:

- Molecular techniques are well developed Many breeds/stocks are highly selected;

- Selection è inbreeding

- Look for genetic regions that differ between highly selected, well-performingbreeds and “original”/local breeds

- Monitor disease resistance and correlated genetic markers (MHC)

Consequently the future activities should focus on following aims/objectives:

- Avoid / discover negative inbreeding effects (habitat fragmentation)

- Avoid / discover negative effects on disease resistance (MHC)

- Avoid / detect hampered selection-response ability

- Maintain functional response (e.g., micro-organisms)

- Maintain / detect genetic uniqueness (where known or expected) and ESUs

- Maintain level(s) of overall genetic variability

- Use genetic and ecological techniques to examine pop. isolation (W) and origin(W+D)

More generally assessment of genetical biodiversity should focus on:

- Define highly indicative taxa and reference populations

- Define appropriate techniques for the questions

- Conduct base-line studies

- Examine sensitivity to anthropogenic effects, environmentalstress and variation (how have pop.s responded?)

- Make surveys to examine degree of generalisation

Page 22: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

22

It was also stressed that there is a great need of reference/baseline data:

• Under undisturbed conditions

• At good performance and good functional response

• Genetic marker behaviour vs. functional response

Furthermore special attention should be given to genetic diversity of bacteria

• Effects on composition of bacterial communities by land use

Other important issues:

• Define questions/issues/research areas where important indicators can be soughtin genetic data/studies.

• Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs)

• Harvested species (populations)

• Habitat fragmentation at the landscape level

Page 23: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

23

Summary of contributions

• The EU proposal on headline indicatorsBernt Röndell, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

• Assessment of biodiversity in the framework of the CBDBjörn Åge Tömmerås, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA

• State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Terrestrial environmentLennart Hansson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

• State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Freshwater environmentRichard Johnson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

• State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Microbial diversityEndre Laczko, ENSCMu, France

• State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Soil biodiversityHenk Siepel, ALTERRA, The Netherlands

• How to design a national biodiversity monitoring programme: Experiencesfrom FinlandHeikki Toivonen, Finnish Environment Institute

• The EU project "Indicators for monitoring and evaluation of forestbiodiversity in Europe BEAR"Tor-Bjorn Larsson, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

• The EU project "Biodiversity and human impact in shallow lakes-BIOMAN”Steven Declerck, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology,Belgium

• Biodiversity indicators - from science to policyBen ten Brink, RIVM, The Netherlands

• Biodiversity as instrument for the Sustainable Forest Management inthe ISO (Institute for Standard Organisation) 14.061 and 14.031normative.Lucia Naviglio, Settore Scienze Biologiche E Tossicologiche, Dipatimento

Page 24: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

24

The proposal from DG Environment on Headline Indicators

Bernt RondellSwedish Environmental Protection Agency

The indicator work within the European union and especially the work within theso called EPRG-expert group on indicators and the DG Environment’s proposalon Head-line indicators. A proposal that is put forward to the European Councilat our prime ministers meeting in Helsinki in December 1999.

A. Background

A1. ‘Architecture’ of an overall indicator system in the European UnionDifferent policy requirements necessitate a range of indicator products. Twokinds of indicators are foreseen: Environmental indicators, and SectoralIntegration indicators. Together, they should answer the following questions:- Is there a general improvement in the state of the environment?- Do key sector policies take environmental concerns into account?- Can Sustainable Development be achieved in sectoral policies and forthe society as a whole?

A2. Environmental Indicators

With respect to specifically environmental indicators, two new, complementaryproducts are foreseen, an annual indicator report from the EuropeanEnvironment Agency (EEA) and a more focused set of environmentalheadline indicators.

The first is a fairly substantial report from the EEA, which will cover a widerange of environmental topics and include some 60-70 indicators. Thepublication of such a report is foreseen in the revised EEA Regulation. It will betargeted principally at environment decision-makers. The first version of this isplanned for late 1999.

The second product is a more limited set of headline indicators aimed atpresenting a more general picture of the trends in key environmental areas. Apossible set of indicators has been prepared by an expert working group madeup of representatives of Member States, Eurostat and the EuropeanEnvironment Agency.

Page 25: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

25

Issue “Ideal”environmentalheadline indicator

Work to be done Time frame

Climate Change Aggregated index of6 Greenhouse Gasemissions (CO2,CH4, N2O, HFCs,PFCs, SF6)

Aggregate of 3 mainGHG available (approx.98-99% of total GWP).Data collection of HFCs,PFCs and SF6 has to beimproved

short- to mid-term

Air Quality A) Number of days ofpollution exceedingstandards

orB) Aggregated indexof 4 pollutants (SO2,NOx, NH3, NMVOCs)

Emission data of mainpollutants available.Weighting factors (usedfor problem ofacidification and problemof tropospheric ozone)have to be scientificallyaccepted. Need forbetter data on (small)particulates.

short- to mid-term

short- to mid-term

Water Quality:

Inland water

- marine water

A) Proportion ofinland water thatcomply the EU andnational water qualitystandardsorB) European “riverquality index” (to bedefined)

indicator to bedefined

Selection of parametersneeded

Has still to be developed

Has still to be developed

long-term

long-term

long-term

Water Quantity Intensity of freshwater use (ratio,relating total waterabstraction to wateravailability in termsof renewable water)

Partially available.Relevant improvementsto be done concerningtime coverage and dataavailability at nationaland local level (regionalwater balances)

mid-term

Nature & Bio-diversity - Bio-diversity indexbased on geneticand habitat variety- Agri-environmentprogramme

Has still to be developed long-term

Land-Use Changes in differentuses of land,including the changefrom natural to builtup area and erosionand desertificationaspects

Indicator has to bedefined and to bedeveloped

long-term

Chemicals Toxicity weightedindex onconsumption of toxicchemicals

Further research neededfor: assessment ofchemicals risk to humanhealth and thenvironment; identificationof toxic chemicals to becovered in the index;improvement in dataquantity and quality

long-term

Waste - Volume of landfilledand incineratedwaste (with andwithout energyrecovering)Recycl of selectedwaste stream

Data collection has to beimproved

short- to mid-term

Resource Use Total Material Data collection has to be short- to mid-

Page 26: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

26

Requirement (TMR) improved termUrban Areas To be identified,

possible indicatorsrelated first totransport, (air qualityand land-use asrelated themes)

Has still to be developed short- to mid-term

Fragile Eco-Systems To be identified,possible indicatorsrelated to marinewater quality andland-use

Has still to be developed(2 or 3 indicators toaddress this issues)

long-term

Assessment of biodiversity in the framework of the CBD

Bjorn Age Tommeras,Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA

Article 7 in the Convention on Biological Diversity is the starting point on whatprocesses under the CBD to be considered here. The Convention speaks aboutidentification and monitoring in the same article and connects these twoactivities. 1,75 mill species are described - global and 17.000 new species areadded each year. The estimates of the global number of species vary. Mostestimates are from 6 to 20 mill, while the book after the huge UNEP processwhere more than 1000 scientist contributed - Global Biodiversity Assessment(1995) says 13-14 mill. CBD supports strongly the Global Taxonomy Initiativewhich is recognised as very important to get knowledge about the species. Thepower of any indicator for biodiversity must be tested. Almost none suchsuccessful tests have been performed. The need for other methods forassessing biodiversity is recognised, but the need to be at least as reliable asthe present data is already. In the CBD the discussion about Indicators ofbiodiversity is present, but there is scepticism about the valid of such indicators.When the reliability of proposed indicators is not shown, the high ambitions inCBD about good knowledge behind policy and management in the use andconservation of biodiversity can end in a conclusions saying that indicators onbiological diversity at present is a short-cut not solving the CBD responsibility.Therefore, I will not predict what is going to happen when the SBSSTA meets inJanuary/February and later in May 2000 when COP meets both having the topicindicators on biodiversity on the agenda. You find an initiative document on:

http://www.biodiv.org/sbstta5/Html/SBSTTA-5-12e.htm"

Page 27: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

27

Biodiversity indicators in terrestrial environments

Lennart Hansson,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Biodiversity is not any operative concept, due to its complexity, and we have to try tomake it operative. One possible way is to use indicators that may be species,structures or processes of focal ecosystems. Indicators have a long history inecology, being foremost used for monitor pollution. In the context of biodiversity,Management Indicator Species were enforced by law for protecting original states inAmerican forests. A more recent approach in the US is Gap Analyses combiningcartographic techniques with vertebrate and plant indicator species. No similarsystem has been formally employed in European environments but sea eagles andwoodpeckers have been utilised as ‘flagships’ for indication of pollution levels in theBaltic and for preservation of pristine forests, respectively. A lot of research projectsare under way regarding the usefulness of various species and ecosystem structuresfor monitoring the maintenance of biodiversity in various European countries. ASwedish research program for forest biodiversity was described in some detailed(Indikatorer på biologisk mångfald i skogslandskapet. Skog & Forskning 99:2:7-59,1999 – unfortunately still only available in Swedish). A main conclusion from thisresearch is that species richness in various taxa is generally not correlated. However,some more general approaches to develop indicator systems have emerged:

First, species or physical structures that are strongly related to various stages ordisturbance regimes of focal ecosystems could be used as indicators about theexistence or lack of prerequisites for the majority of species. Secondly, nestedness ofspecies matrices could be used to distinguish relatively rare species that usuallyoccur when the majority of the species are present – however, still with the problemof poor correlation between taxa. A third way was suggested in this talk, based onLambeck´s (1997, Conservation Biology 11:849-856) ‘focal species approach’.Species that are sensitive to 1) the size of area required, 2) to limited dispersal andconnectivity, 3) to crucial resources and 4) to natural (or induced) processes asrecurrent fires or grazing are discerned. If landscapes are managed with regard tostructure and function to retain such species then the vast majority of all speciesshould also be retained. At the same time ecosystem characteristics are alsoconsidered. Furthermore, the focal species complement is reflected in a specificlandscape composition. Such a system may be applied to pristine landscapes usingthese indicator species or for managed landscapes employing the corresponding, butsomewhat less precise, landscape configuration. It may also be adapted to variousspatial scales.

Page 28: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

28

Biodiversity of freshwater assessment and statistical considerations

Richard K. JohnsonSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

A number of methods, ranging from the use of relatively simple algorithms or bioticindices, to combinations of several indices (the multimetric approach), to relativelycomplex, multivariate approaches are currently used bioassessment of aquaticecosystems. Indicator metrics, or the type of organism-groups used, range frommicroscopic algae to vertebrates such as fish and aquatic waterfowl. However, asbenthic ecologists were pioneers in understanding how indicator assemblages relateto ecosystem quality, during the last hundred years, and in particular in the last twodecades, a number of biotic indices have been constructed to evaluate the structuraland functional integrity of surface waters using macroinvertebrates (Johnson 1995).For example, in a recent review Knoben et al. (1995) noted that of some 100 differentbiological methods currently used in freshwater bioassessment, two-thirds werebased on macroinvertebrates.

In assessment of aquatic biodiversity, holistic approaches (comparison of ecologicallysimilar units) to ecosystem management are being increasingly used, i.e. focus isshifting from single- to multi-site management. Two approaches are commonly usedto estimate expected conditions in the absence of environmental stress: (i) referencecondition approaches, where a single index or combinations of indices are calculatedfor a pre-determined set of regionally representative reference sites and (ii) site-specific approaches, where conditions, indices or probabilities of taxon occurrences,are predicted (Johnson 2000). The latter approach, predictive modelling of expectedtaxon occurrences in the absence of stress is being increasingly used to ascertainreference or ecological target conditions, and when combined with simple bioticmetrics shows promise as a diagnostic tool for assessment of biodiversity.

A number of problems still exist, however. Though a number of methods are currentlyavailable for assessing aquatic biodiversity, many are used indiscriminately, withoutexplicit tests of the power to detect change when change occurs (statistical power).Recent findings using lake and stream macroinvertebrate communities in Swedenshow that the frequency of false negatives (beta or type II error) can be alarminglyhigh (Johnson 1999). For example, four methods that are commonly used toascertain acidification stress in the Nordic countries had type II error frequencies of >25% and two of the metrics had expected errors of > 50%! Similarly, statistical powerof commonly-used ecological metrics often require more than 20 independentsamples (e.g. years) to ascertain beta errors < 5% (e.g. Johnson 1998, Urquhart etal. 1998; Sandin and Johnson in press). Minimising indicator metric variance (bothspatial and temporal) and maximising the expected change (delta) by carefulselection of indicator metrics, are two factors that should be considered in designingprograms to assess changes in aquatic biodiversity.

Page 29: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

29

References:

Johnson, R.K. 1995. The indicator concept in freshwater biomonitoring.Thienemann Lecture. pp. 11 - 27. In: Chironomids - from Genes toEcosystems, Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium onChironomidae, Canberra, Australia. (ed. P.S. Cranston), CSIRO,Melbourne.

Johnson, R.K. 1998. Spatio-temporal variability of temperate lakemacroinvertebrate communities: detection of impact. EcologicalApplications, 8: 61-70.

Johnson, R.K. 1999. Benthic macroinvertebrates, p 85-166, In: Sjöaroch vattendrag. Bakgrunds rapport, Biologiska parameter (T. Wiederholm,ed), Naturvårdsverket Rapport 4921, pp. 85-166.

Johnson, R.K. 2000. RIVPACS and alternative statistical modellingtechniques - accuracy and soundness of principles. Assessing thebiological quality of freshwaters: RIVPACS and techniques' Edited by J FWright, D W Sutcliffe & M T Furse. Freshwater Biological Association2000 in press.

Knoben, R.A.E., Roos, C. and M.C.M van Oirschot. 1995. BiologicalAssessment Methods for Watercourses. UN/ECE Task Force on Monitoringand Assessment, 86p.

Sandin, L. and R.K. Johnson. Statistical power of selected indicatormetrics using macroinvertebrates for assessing acidification andeutrophication of running waters. Hydrobiologia, in press.

Urquhart, N.S., Paulsen, S.G. and D.P. Larsen. 1998. Monitoring forpolicy-relevant regional trends over time. Ecological Applications 8:246-257.

Page 30: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

30

A State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Microbial diversity

Endre LaczkoENSCMu, Mulhouse, France - Solvit, Luzern, Switzerland

Assessment of microbial diversity

This contribution is not an exhaustive list of latest methods but rather a valuation ofthe available methodology illustrated with some examples. I believe that the state ofthe art is best represented in this way.

To avoid confusion I have to start with some definitions and general concepts, then Iwill pass over to the specific methods and examples. MO’s are by definitionmicroscopically small rganisms.They show a fascinating diversity of forms andcomprise very divers taxonomic groups like bacteria, archea (i.e. methanogenicbacteria), fungi, alga and protozoa.

MO’s inhabit all parts of the biosphere. Although many species have extraordinaryadaptation capabilities, MO’s species have distinct environmental requirements andform typical associations or communities with other organsims.

The greatest genetic diversity of life comes from within MO’s yet the least is knownabout many groups of them. For example, about 4200 bacteria are described, but10’000 up to one million are suspected to exist.

Nevertheless it is well known that MO’s or microbial communities are a functional partmajor ecosystems (e.g. soil, freshwater systems, sea), many bigger organsims (e.g.rumen community, gut flora of termites, mycorrhizal flora and rhizobes of plants,lichens) and also of biotechnical systems (e.g. fermentation industry, wastetreatment). Some important functions of MO’s shall be mentioned:

- Due to the metabolic diversity, microbial communities represent the base of manyfood chains or webs. Photo- and chemolithoautotrophic MO’s (means alga,cyanobacteria, „sulfur“ bacteria and others) contribute essentially to the primaryproduction of organic biomass in freshwater systems and the sea;

- Heteroorganotrophic MO’s metabolize all kind of organic compounds andcontribute essentially to secondary production of biomass and to the degradationof organic matter; in this function they convert unavailable or even toxic organicsinto food, bioactive compounds (e.g. antibiotics) and anorganic substances(water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, minerals);

- MO’s convert atmospheric nitrogen into bioavailable nitrogen compoundsThe important points to memorize are that MO’s are very divers and have a functionalrole in our world.

The identification of microorganisms is based on 4 methodologies, 3 of them, thephysiologic (metabolic), the biochemical and the morphologic characterisation(means typing) analyses the phenotypes, the last, the genetic, selfevidently thegenotype.

Page 31: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

31

Modern taxonomy and systematics of bacteria use these 4 methods in combination.This polyphasic approach is not entirely mature, but is recognized as the right way todo the job.

Since the mass of single bacteria is to low for a direct analysis and the morphotypeshave no meaning, proliferation, that means cultivation of isolated cells is necessarybefore an analysis can be performed - nota bene - on the pure culture. This appliesalso for many (small, unicellular) fungi.

Some fungi, most alga and protozoa may be identified directly by the help ofmorphologic criteria, like many animal and plant.

Important points here are that most microorganisms are identified by a polyphasicmethodology and that type (or species) information (characteristics) depend on thecultivation of the species of interest.

The analysis of microbial communities composition, which is the effective work donewhen we try an assessment of biodiversity, uses the same taxonomic methods asintroduced before.

Each community shows characteristic patterns on various organisational levels.Empirically, we perceive and approach biodiversity through the analysis of thesepatterns. In the case of (microbial) communities, the patterns analysed are notnecesserly attributes of species. In these cases they represent an other view on thecommunity structure as we are used from plant or animal ecology. This view isjustified by the fact, that the species typing is simply not feasible and that in this casethe „simplified“ patterns render more information as any bulk parameter like microbialor fungal biomass.

The important point to remember is that analysis of microbial communities or patternscannot relay on species typing. In the case of MO's the analysis of communitypatterns by broad scale methods which identify major groups is a gain of information.This is not in conflict with the CBD defintion of biodiversity!

The assessment of microbial diversity has some tradition. It is not possible to givehere much details. All currently used or developped techniques realy on the analysisof one ore more of 4 mentioned properties: morphotype, chemotype, metabolic typeor genotype.

Not all pattens are equally usefull. For example DNA sequences or widly occuringchemical species which cannot be attributed to any process or biological propertymay be of limited power in respect to the enlightment of environmental processes.

It is important to recognize that from all the possibilities we have to analyse microbialcommunities it may be wise to choose the ones which may be related to processes orbiological properties of interest. And interst is a question of convention!

For the monitoring of ecosystem functions or sustainability of ecosystems broadscale methods like PLFA analysis (e.g. Laczko et al. 1997) or BIOLOG (Insam andRangger 1997) seems to be the best choice. Both assess with one analysis all or

Page 32: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

32

many microorganisms and differentiate the essential functional parts of the microbialcommunity. Some molecular methods may be used in an similar way.

For the monitoring of key functions or key species (whatever the key-concept standsfor) clearly the highly specific morphological typing or genetical methodology is thebetter choice (e.g. van der Heijden et al. 1998, see also the meeting contribution ofA. Wilmotte). The notion of key pieces assumes that the most important parts areknown and adequately valued. If we remember the poor knowledge with have aboutmicrobial species the notion of keys may be questioned.

Conclusions

• Broad scale methods like PLFA or BIOLOG assess through one analysis manydifferent taxonomic groups at the same time.

• Specific methods like the analysis of known gens assess through one anlysis (oneprobe) a specific species or group. The same is true for morphotyping or classicalbacteriology. The combination of several or many analyses is required if diversityis to be inferred from the results.

• Polyphasic approaches which combine two or more methodologies may profit frombroad scaling and specifity in an very effective way (e.g. Maire et al. 1999).

• It is clear that the right indicator is not yet defined. But it should be clear now thatthere are several usefull procedures for the assessment of microbial diversity. Thedesign of an indicator is possible but depends strongly on the goals adressed bythe user, e.g. the measures or the decisions to be taken on the basis of someindicative values. These goals. measures or decisions as well as the appliedindicative values (baselines, valuation,...) should be defined first, but we have torecognize that this is not a purely scientific issue!

Abbreviations:

BIOLOG = a standardized and commercially available metabolic typing technologyon the base of microtiter platesCBD = Convention on BiodiversityDNA = Desoxyribonucleic acid, essential chemical structure of gens and genomsMO = microorganismPLFA = Phospholipid fatty acid

Cited literature:

Insam H, Rangger A. 1997. Microbial Communities. Springer Berlin.Laczko E., Rudaz A., Aragno M. 1997. Diversity of Anthropologically Influenced orDisturbed Soil Microbial Communities. In Insam H, Rangger A., MicrobialCommunities, Springer Berlin, pp 57-67.Maire N., Borcard D., Laczko E., Matthey W. 1999. Organic matter cycling ingrassland soils of the Swiss Jura mountains: biodiversity and strategies of the livingcommunities. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 31: 1281-1293.van der Heijden MGA, Klironomos JN, Ursic M, Montoglis P, Streitwolf-Engel R,Boller T., Wiemken A, Sanders IR. 1998. Mycorrhizal fungal diversity determinesplant biodiversity, ecosystem variability and productivity. Nature 396: 72-75.

Page 33: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

33

State of the art of biodiversity assessment: Soil biodiversity

Henk SiepelALTERRA, The Netherlands

Introduction

The environmental policy in The Netherlands also aims to protect biodiversity outsidenatural areas because of its life support functions (LSF). Therefore LSF indicators arebeing developed. One indicator is the biological indicator for soil quality. Schouten etal. (1997) surveyed important processes in soil and the organisms involved. Theyselected the following functions and processes:

- degradation of organic material (fragmentation and degradation),- recycling of nutrients (e.g. nitrogen mineralisation),- structure formation (bioturbation and aggregate formation),- availability of nutrients for plants and- the stability of ecosystems (food-web).

Diversity within functional groups was suggested for each process as indicativevariable and simple measurement protocols for these groups were proposed.According to the proposal, the soil biological indicator contains 12 distinct indicativevariables.

Outline of the pilot-project

In 1997 a pilot-project was performed to test the indicator system in the Dutch SoilQuality Network. The variables measured were: nematodes, earthworms,enchytreads, nitrifying activity, microbial functionality (using the Biolog-system), totalactivity and numbers of bacteria. Determination of the mite fauna and complete foodweb sampling was performed on a limited number of sites. In addition the chemicalsoil composition was measured to relate the presence of organisms to abioticconditions and land-use. During the try-out 20 grasslands on clay and 20 horticulturefarms were sampled. In order to obtain a scale for land-use effects (disturbance),reference samples were also collected on polluted sites and biological farms.

The research questions were:

- can the measurements, necessary for the bio-indicator system, be carried out in theSoil Quality Network ?- do the indicators distinguish between soil-use and soil-types ?- can the results be used in diagnostic and prognostic instruments (decision supportsystems like Nature-planner or Ecological Capital Index) of the RIVM?

Page 34: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

34

Results

Indicator values in the two land-use types (grasslands and horticulture), the referenceand polluted sites are summarised in table 1. The indicators were chosen from afunctional biodiversity perspective. Therefore often the number of species perfunctional group was used. The indicators show clear significant differences (lastcolumn). It proves that they distinguish at least between the two investigated soiltypes and/or land-use forms. A usable clean reference was only obtained for thegrasslands. Most (biodiversity) indicator values reached highest values at the chosenreference site. The number of reference sites has to be extended to make statisticalcomparison with other monitoring data possible.

The soil on the polluted sea clay sites contained moderate levels of heavy metals,pesticides and PAH. Effects were not always clear or just absent. This may becaused by a low availability due to ageing during 30-40 years, a neutral pH and ahigh clay content.

A diagnostic instrument for soil quality can be made according to the so-calledAMOEBE method. It is a graphic presentation of several indicator values scaledagainst a historical or undisturbed situation. The biological farm indicator data wereused as a reference here. The AMOEBE of soil indicators is presented in figure 1.

Conclusion

The pilot has shown that the selected indicators often differ significantly between theDSQN land-use categories “grasslands on sea clay” and “horticulture farms”. As anexample of ecological soil quality assessment , an ‘AMOEBE-presentation’ was madeof the grasslands with a biological farm used as a reference. The AMOEBE-presentation is a relative (qualitative) way to judge biodiversity changes against afunctional background.

The quantitative relation between biodiversity and LSF is not known. A few essentialsoil processes can be calculated with a food-web model. It is a method to linkstructural diversity to functions. The model needs data on structure and biomass offunctional groups during a year cycle. The input for model calculations requirestherefore more field research and is less practical on a large scale.Structural participation of biomonitoring in the Soil Quality Network (40 sites a yearduring 5 years) results in a database that permits response modelling of theindicators on abiotic factors.

Policy objectives for soil biodiversity related to functions can be obtained by: a)formulation of references, b) systematic biomonitoring and building of a database, inorder to collect enough data for response models, c) fundamental research on therelation between diversity and functions.

Page 35: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

35

How to design a national biodiversity monitoring programme: Experiencesfrom Finland

Heikki ToivonenFinnish Environment Institute, P.O.Box 140,FIN-00251 Helsinki, Finland

According to the National Action Plan for Biodiversity (for 1997-2005) a network willbe established for monitoring biological diversity in Finland. Negotiations have beeninitiated in the working group representing ministries, major governmental institutes,universities and national history museums. First aim is to decide the scale andcontent, and distributions of costs of biodiversity monitoring, and a related system ofnational and international reporting.

Biodiversity monitoring should include following aspects: 1. Habitats, ecosystems andlandscapes, 2. species and communities, and 3. Genetic diversity. At first phasemonitoring of species and nature types should focus on those in the EU Flora-Fauna-Habitat directive, EU Bird directive, and threatened species and biotopes recognisedin the national legislation. Targets will also be biotopes under influence of agriculture,forestry and reindeer husbandry.

Recent monitoring activities include some representative monitoring programmes ofselected species and groups of species (birds, butterflies and moths, vascularplants). Also mapping and monitoring of threatened species is of high quality. Theseactivities are based largely on the work of volunteers. There are also two large-scaleinventories of natural resources: The National Forest Inventory, and Wildlife TriangleInventory. In these inventories many aspects of biodiversity are involved, e.g. NFI sitesurveys include key biotopes, old trees and amount of decaying wood. Distributionand abundance if more than 30 wildlife species are monitored annually on the wildlifetriangles.

Needs for developments of monitoring activities have been recognised. Biodiversitymonitoring should be combined with inventories of natural resources and land use.This integration should include involvement of indicator species and importantstructural characters of ecosystems in the inventories of natural resources. Also useof remote sensing techniques and GIS applications should be strengthened. In orderto make better generalisations on landscape and regional levels, more research isneeded on interactions of species and habitat diversity, and their relations to theland-use history. Survey scheme at the landscape level (type of wider countrysidesurvey) should also be introduced.

Page 36: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

36

The EU FAIR project "Indicators for forest Biodiversity in Europe BEAR"

Tor-Bjorn Larsson,Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

The EU project "Indicators for forest Biodiversity in Europe BEAR" aims atformulating an integrated system of indicators of forest biodiversity over a wide rangeof European biogeographic regions at several scales.

One of its central tasks is to identify Biodiversity Evaluation Tools (BET’s),combinations of indicators of biodiversity and the identification of common,standardised methods to apply them in different biogeographical regions.

The analytical approach of the BEAR-project is outlined below:

1. ECOSYSTEMAn ecosystem has three major components:Structure (e. g. physical aspects), composition(e. g. species) and function (e. g. regulating mechanisms).Forest biodiversity should be analysed accordingly.

2. KEY FACTORSA forest ecosystem can be characterised by Key Factors of, and determining,biodiversity. These can be grouped according to the major ecosystem componentsand furthermore the scale (national/regional, landscape and stand levels) must betaken into account. A common scheme of Key Factors for European forests havebeen elaborated.

3. BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENTThe relative importance of the Key Factors vary Among forests. A scheme ofEuropean Forest Types For Biodiversity Assessment has thus been elaborated.

4. INDICATORSIndicators are the tools to assess the Key Factors of forest biodiversity; indicatorschemes should be adapted to the specific objectives of biodiversity assessmentas well as to the forest types concerned.

A first step in the BEAR-project was to analyse major European Forest Types. The27 partners have, based on their current research and expertise agreed on acommon scheme of factors that influence biodiversity. These Key Factors, which areparameters of, and determining biodiversity, may include abiotic and biotic factorsthat directly or indirectly influence biodiversity and also the major componentsthereof. Factors will vary among regions and parts of regions and are classified asstructural, compositional (species, functional groups etc.) or functional (disturbanceor management regimes). The suggested scheme of common Key Factors ofEuropean forest biodiversity is:

Page 37: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

37

Key factor/Scale

Structural Compositional Natural disturbancemanagement

National regional Total area of forest

Area of exploitable forest (byforestry)

Afforestation (yearly rate)

Deforestation anddesertification (yearly rate)

Forest protection(IUCN categories)

Area of old growth forests

Native species

Alien species

Landscape Forest cover continuity

Fragmentation, mosaic and

Isolation of forest habitats

Forest connectivity

Ecosystem diversity

Water courses

Direct human impact

Species with largearea requirements

Similarity to potentialnatural vegetation

Stand Size

Shape

Tree stand structural

complexity

Forest regeneration

Gap distribution

Dead wood

Litter

Water courses

Stand type specificspecies

Biological soilcondition

Alien species

Natural disturbance:

Fire

Wind & snow

Biological disturbance

Human influence:

Silviculture

Special forestry treatment

Agriculture & grazing

Social influences

Urban forests

Pollution

The (relative importance of) specific Key factors vary greatly between different Europeanforests. It is necessary to take this variation into account and thus a set of have beenidentified. The criteria for identifying a FTBA is thus that it is forest to take into accountwhen managing biodiversity on a European level which has unique features as regardsthe key factors and thus needs specific considerations.

The ca 30 identified Forest Types for Biodiversity Assessment FTBA have beenassociated with the existing classification of vegetation using the map “NaturalVegetation of Europe”. The project is presently focusing on finalising the list of FTBA´sand in parallel on identifying potential pan-European indicators for biodiversity as well asassessment methods according to a common scheme but applicable to the 30 identifiedFTBA´s. Potential indicators and assessments will be communicated to end-users forconsultation.

Page 38: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

38

The EU project: BIOdiversity and huMAN impact in Shallow Lakes - BIOMAN

Steven DeclerckKatholieke Universiteit Leuven, Laboratory of Aquatic EcologyBelgium

Problems to be solved:

If sustainable management and restoration of biodiversity is to be succesful, it isimportant to have cost-effective methods for reliable large-scale monitoring ofbiodiversity, to be able to assess the current state of biodiversity, determine trendsand patterns and to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration measures. In addition,there is an urgent need for tools to predict the effects of human activity andrestoration measures on the biodiversity of target ecosystems. The proposed projectaims at providing the necessary methodologies and tools (indices, indicator specieslists, predictive mathematical models) for monitoring biodiversity and assessinghuman impact on biodiversity in a specific type of habitat that is important in manyareas of Europe: mesotrophic to eutrophic shallow lakes that are subject to natural orcultural eutrophication. Shallow lakes are abundant in Europe, are ecologically andeconomically very important, and are subject to many threats.

Scientific objectives and approach:

The objectives of BIOMAN are (1) to develop reliable and cost-effective indices formeasuring overall biodiversity in the water column of shallow water bodies; (2) todevelop mathematical tools that allow prediction of the effects of human impact onbiodiversity in shallow waters, including the prediction of the response to restorationmeasures; (3) to compile a database on the current state of biodiversity in arepresentative sample of European shallow bodies, covering the classical food web(fish, zooplankton, phytoplankton) as well as the microbial loop (bacterioplankton andheterotrophic protists), and also covering genetic diversity of zooplankton anddiversity as measured through the egg bank; and (4) to develop a reliable method toevaluate the success of restoration measures.

In a large-scale field survey covering 96 shallow standing waters along a north-southgradient in Europe, we focus on organisms occurring in the water column, belongingto the microbial loop (bacteria, heterotrophic nanoflagellates, ciliates) and theclassical food web (phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish). The ponds and lakes studieddiffer widely in the degree of human impact (relatively pristine and successfullyrestored habitats versus heavily impacted ones), degree of isolation, structuraldiversity, nutrient loading and size. We compare different measures of biodiversity interms of the indices used (e.g. Hill numbers), the functional resolution (trophic level),the type of biodiversity measured (taxon diversity, genetic diversity within taxa) andthe approach used for taxon delimitation (morphological or genetic criteria). In parallel

Page 39: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

39

with our field survey, we also measure diversity in the resting egg pool, allowing acomparison of biodiversity in the active populations (field survey) and in the restingegg bank for specific groups of organisms (e.g. zooplankton) and potentiallyproviding an estimate of potential diversity.

A comparative multivariate analysis incorporating the data on the different trophiclevels and levels of diversity (taxon versus genetic diversity) as well as the data onresting egg banks is used to develop a cost-effective and reliable measure of overallbiodiversity. The field survey provides data on the current state of biodiversity andcharacteristics of the target state of biodiversity in European shallow lakes. The dataare incorporated into mathematical models and an expert system to predict theresponse of lakes to specific impacts (e.g. restoration measures) in terms ofbiodiversity, given the starting conditions of the lake studied.

To back up our survey results, we also explore the relation between biodiversities atdifferent trophic levels (zooplankton and phytoplankton) experimentally, and validateour indices and mathematical tools using existing data sets on experimental lakemanipulations.

Expected impacts:

Our results (cost-effective methods to assess biodiversity in shallow lakes; databaseson biodiversity in European shallow lakes; predictive mathematical tools onbiodiversity changes upon changes in, e.g., human impact) will be of use to watermanagers and policy makers. Our results will contribute to the standardization ofbiodiversity studies, provide methods for the follow-up of restoration measures, andcontribute to the development of common regulations and standards in Europe.

Page 40: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

40

Biodiversity indicators - from science to policy

Ben ten Brink,RIVM, The Netherlands

In national monitoring of the state of nature millions of dollars have been spent. Officeand library shelves are now piled high with data. Many models have been built. Butdespite this huge amount of data and tools, it is not easy to say whether the state ofour nature is getting better or worse. In many cases we are “data-rich informationpoor”.

Cost-effective indicators are in the first place feasible indicators which are ecosystemrelevant and policy significant from the perspective of the Convention of BiologicalDiversity (CBD). However, many existing indicators lack essential features whichmake them less useful. Baselines are undispensable to give policy significance tostatistics, e.g. the presence of 1000 storks does not have any meaning withoutbaselines such as the expected number in a more natural state or the number in acertain year in the past. Baselines enable also aggregation of many specificindicators to one single indicator of ecosystem quality, and enable consistency of theindicators and their significance within and between countries. Further the indicatorhas to be explicit in its spatial and temporal scale, should be linkable to socio-economic scenarios and measures, should be affordable measurable, and the set ofindicators as a whole should provide a representative picture of the entire ecosystem.

The indicator framework as developed in the CBD (documentsUNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/9, 3/inf. 13 and 5/12), the so-called “Natural Capital Indexframework” (NCI) takes into account the above requirements and provides acommon, feasible and simple framework to assess ecosystems. The NCI-frameworkaims at providing a quantitative and meaningful picture of the state and trends inbiodiversity to support policy makers in a similar way as socio-economic figures suchas GNP, employment and Price Index. The NCI-framework is designed in such a waythat it can be applied on all scales, from local to global, and for all ecosystems, fromforest and marine to agricultural ecosystems. The state of biodiversity can be given inmany detailed figures, but also in a few or if necessary in one single highlyaggregated natural capital index, depending on the purpose. The indicators of NCIare intending to be linkable to socio-economic developments. This would enable toanalyse different socio-economic scenarios and policy options on their effect onbiodiversity, and would make the NCI-framework suitable for integratedenvironmental outlook reports. Although the framework is universal and the resultsmutually comparable, the elaboration and implementation is country-specific.Depending form the budgets, it may be implemented in a rather simple andaffordable way, but also a more sophisticated and expensive way is possible.

In Bratislava 1998, the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity have decidedto discuss and test the suitability of the NCI-framework in the next years. Thedevelopment of the framework is an open-ended process fed by discussions andexperiments.

Page 41: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

41

Biodiversity as instrument for the sustainable forest management in the ISO(International Organization for Standardization) 14.061 and 14.031

Lucia Naviglio, Mario CastorinaItaly

The 1992 United Nation Conference of the United Nation focussed the sustainableforest management as a major global issue. Since that time there have beennumerous initiatives developing principles, criteria and indicators for the SustainableForest Management in order to involve policy makers and interested parties in amore environmentally sound forest management. In 1995 the United Nationsestablished an Intergovernmental Panel on Forest in order to develop criteria andindicators for forest sustainable management.

In the same time, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) decided todevelop the ISO 14000 series standards in order to apply the EnvironmentalManagement Systems (EMS) to the forestry and forest products. The ISO 14001describes the basic elements required for an EMS (is similar to the ISO 9000 qualitystandards), the ISO 14004 provides the guidelines for the EMS and the ISO 14031establish the indicators useful for the Environmental Performance Evaluation.

According with those principles and referring to a list of intergovernmental processeswhich have developed criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management(International Tropical Timber Organization, 1992 - Pan European Process (Helsinki),1994 - Montreal process on boreal forests, 1995 - Tarapoto Proposal, 1995 - DryZone Africa Initiative, 1995 - North Africa and Near East Initiative, 1996 - CentralAmerican Initiative of Lepaterique, 1997 - African Timber Organization Initiative,1996) was developed the ISO 14061 which provides forestry organizations withinformative reference material for implementing the generic management systemstandard to the specific field of forestry.

All the mentioned processes and ISO 14061 consider biodiversity as one of the coreindicators and criteria for forest sustainable management. Forestry certification istaken into account also from some other non-governmental initiatives who developedits own criteria and indicators including biodiversity. It is necessary to consider theForest Stewardship Council (FSC) who decided 10 principles and associated criteriafor the well managed forests and who have accredited several certifying bodies, andthe Pan European Certification Scheme which comes from a voluntary privateinitiative based on the Helsinki and Lisbon resolutions which describes a list ofquantitative and descriptive indicators for the biological diversity in production forest.

The focal point for the biodiversity assessment, in Europe is the Habitat directive(43/92/CEE) whose goal is to promote the maintenance of biodiversity taking intoaccount of economic, social, cultural and regional requirements.

The major problem is that all the processes and standards taking into accountbiodiversity assess in a very generic way the problem and at a national, regional andlocal level a strong effort have to be done to establish how to measure biodiversity inan intercomparable way and how to obtain a cost-effective data (as happen with IBE-environmental biotic index- for the freshwater environment).

Page 42: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

42

To be useful, indicators have to be chosen at an appropriate scale, have to befeasible and reliable. Which set are effective in different situations have to beassessed and, for the application to ISO 14031, the indicators have to be related withthe Environmental Performance Indicators of the organization.

In order to manage the environment in a sustainable way the biodiversity should becarried out considering the relationship among three parameters: diversity, naturalityand functions of the ecosystems at an appropriate scale.

Page 43: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

43

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

Expert meeting 6-7 December 1999, Stockholm, Sweden

Johan AbeniusSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLM, SwedenFax: +46-8-698 1585

Ermias T AzeriaSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesDept. of Conservation BiologyBox 700275007 UPPSALA, SwedenFax. +46-18-67 35 37

Thomas BolgerNational University of Ireland – DublinDept of Zoology,BelfieldDUBLIN 4, [email protected]: +353-1-706 11 52

Ben ten BrinkRIVMP.O. Box 13720BA BILTHOVEN, Holland

Ariel BrunnerParma UniversityBorbo San Giuseppe 12I-43 100 PARMA, ItalyFax: +39-0521 90 54 02

Mario CastoriniaE.N.E.A. – CR CasacciaVia Anguillarese 301I-00060Roma, ItalyFax: +39-06-30484080

Steven DeclerckLaboratory of Aquatic EcologyCatholic University of Leuven,Ch. de Beriotstraat 323000 LeuvenBelgiumFax:+32 (0) 16 32 45 75

Laurent DuhautoisI.F.EN. (Institut francais del’Environnement)61, Bd A MartinF-45058 ORLÉANS, Cedex 1France

Torbjörn EbenhardSwedish Scientific Council of BiodiversitySwedish Biodiversity CentreBox 7007S-750 07 UPPSALA, SwedenFax: +46-18-67 35 37

Veerle van EetveldeUniversity of GentKrijgslaan 281, S8B-9000 GENT, BelgiumFax: +32-9-264-4985

Urban EmanuelssonSwedish Biodiversity CentreBox 7007S-750 07 UPPSALA, Sweden

Lars EricsonEcology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversitySE-901 87 UMEÅ, Sweden

Per-Anders EsseenEcological Botany, dept. of Ecologyand Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversitySE-901 87 UMEÅ,SwedenFax: +46 90 786 6691

J. Aniol EstebanMinistry of EnvironmentGovernment of CataloniaAv. Diagonal 523-525E-08029 BARCELONASpainFax: +34-93-419 87 09

Page 44: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

44

Lennart HanssonSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesDept. of Conservation BiologyBox 7002S-750 07 UPPSALASweden

Ola IngheSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLMSweden

Richard K JohnsonDept. of Environmental AssessmentBox 7050750 07 UPPSALASwedenFax: +46-18-673156

Ola JörnstedtSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLMSweden

Endre LaczkoENSCMu LLO3, rue A WernerF-68093 MULHOUSEFrankrikeENSCMu / SolvitNeubadstr. 126CH-5054 BASELSchweizFax: +41-61-301 73 44

Tor-Björn LarssonSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyResearch Dept S-106 48 STOCKHOLMSwedenFax: +46-8-6981663

Marianne LillesköldSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLMFax: +46-8-698 1667

Cinzia MarchianiUniversity of ParmaVia delle ScienzeI-43100 PARMAItalyFax: +39 0521 905402

Lucia NavaglioEnea, Environmental Biology SectionS.P. Anguillarese 301I-00061 ROMA , ItalyFax: + 39 06 30 48 40 80

Jari NiemeläUniversity of HelsinkiDept of Ecology and SystematicsP.O. Box 17FIN-00014 HELSINKIFinlandFax: +358-9 1917301

Jan NilssonMISTRA (The Foundation of StrategicEnvironmental Research)Gamla Brogatan 36-38S-111 20 STOCKHOLMSweden

Nicole Nowicki-CaupinEurositePB 1366, 5004 BjTilburg, NLFax: + 31 134634 129

Peter L NowickiWye College, University of LondonEnvironment departmentTN25 5AH, Wye, UKFax : 00-44-1233-812 855

Mira van OlmenInstitute of Nature conservationKliniekstraat 25B-1070 BRUSSELS, BelgiumFax: +32-1-21 558 18 05

Gunilla A. OlssonSwedish Scientific Council of Biodiversity +Norwegian University of Science &Technology, NTNUN-7491 TRONDHEIM, NorwayFax: +47-73-59 61 00

Julius OszlanyiInst. of Landscape EcologySlovak Academy of SciencesStefanikova No 3 P.O.box 254814 99 BRATISLAVA, SlovakiaFax: +421-7-52494508

Page 45: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

45

Illze OpermaneLatvian Environmental Consulting andMonitoring CentreRupniecibas 25LV-1045 RIGALatvia

Pekka PamiloDepartment of BiologyUniversity of OuluBox 3000FIN-90401 OULUFinland

Papastergiadou EvaGreek Biotope Wetland Centre14 th KM Thessaloniki – MihanionaGR 57001 Thermi,GreeceFax: +3031 471795

Gunnar PerssonSLU, Dept. of Environmental AssessmentBox 7050SE - 750 07 UPPSALASwedenFax: +46 18 67 31 56

Roger PetterssonDept of Animal Ecology,SLUSE-901 83 UMEÅ, [email protected]

Ulla PinborgEEA (European Environment Agency)Kongens Nytorv 6DK-1050 COPENHAGEN KDenmarkFax: +45-33 36 71 99

Paul QuataertFlemish AdministrationDivision of NatureKonig Albert II – Laan 20, Bas 8B-1000 BRUSSELS. BelgiumFax: +32-2-550 20 15

Dominique RichardEuropean Topic Centre on NatureConservationMuseum Natural d’Histoire Naturelle57 rue CuvierF-75 005 PARISFranceFax: +33-1-40 79 38 67

Bernt RöndellSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLMSweden

Michael Scherer-LorenzenMax-Plank-Institute for BiogeochemistryJenaUlmenweg 3D-88074 MECKENBEURENGermany

Ingela ScherlingThe Swedish EU/R&D CouncilBox 7091103 87 STOCKHOLM, Sweden

Martin SharmanResearch DgEuropean CommissionRue de la Loi, 200 (SDME 4-75)B-1049 BRUSSELS,BelgiumFax: +32 2 296 05 88

Henk SiepelAlterra green world researchP O Box 476700 AA UtageWageningen,The NetherlandsFax: +31 317 49 8812

Kjell SjöbergDept of Animal Ecology, SLUSE-901 83 UMEÅSwedenFax: +46-90-786 68 17

Per Sjögren GulveSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLMSweden

Jan StenlidDept of Forest Mycology and PathologySLUBox 7026S-750 07 UPPSALA, SwedenFax: +46-18-30 92 45

Andrew StottDept Environment, Transport and TheRegionsTollgate House,Houlton StBS2 9DJ BRISTOL, UKFax: +44 (0) 117 987 8182

Page 46: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

46

Hans Erik SvartNational Forest and Nature AgencyHaraldsgade 53DK-2100 COPENHAGEN ØDenmarkFax: +45-39-27 98 99

Jan TerstadSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLM, SwedenFax: +46-8-698 1422

Liisa Tuominen-RotoFinnish Environment InstituteP.O. Box 140FIN – 00251 Helsinki,FinlandFax: +358-9-403 00 791

Heikki ToivonenFinnish Environment InstituteP.O. Box 140FIN-00251 HELSINKI,FinlandFax: +358-9-4030 0791

Bjørn Åge TømmeråsNorwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTungasletta 2N-7485 Trondheim,NorwayFax: +47 73 80 14 01

Allan D. WattBancory Research StationHill of Brathens, GlasselBanchory AB31 4BYScotland, UKFax: +31 445 3943

Eva WillenSLU, Dept. Environmental AssessmentP O Box 7050SE-75 007 UPPSALASwedenFax: +46 18 67 31 56

Steffen WiegendInst. Animal Science and Animal BehaviourHoetlystrasse 10D-31535 NEUSTADTGermanyFax: +49 0 5034 871 143

Annick WilmotteUniversity of LiègeDepartment of Botany B224000 Liège,Belgium

Lars WikarsDept. of Entomology,Swedish Univ. of Agricultural SciencesBox 7044Se-750 07 UPPSALA, Sweden

Gunnar ZetterstenSwedish Environmental Protection AgencyS-106 48 STOCKHOLM,Sweden

Page 47: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

47

PART - II

Electronic ConferenceNovember 1999 - January 2000http://www.gencat.es/mediamb/bioind

Ministry of Environment, Government of CataloniaAv. Diagonal 523-525, Barcelona E-08029, Spain

• Introduction

• Summary of the conference sessions

• Contributions sent to the E-conference

Page 48: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

48

Page 49: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

49

INTRODUCTION

The E-conference on biodiversity assessment and indicators was organised by theSwedish Scientific Council on Biodiversity in co-operation with the Ministry ofEnvironment, Government of Catalonia, and the Swedish Environmental ProtectionAgency. A mail list and a web site were the main tools available for the participants.Throughout the first five weeks of the E-conference, 50 contributions coming frommore than 220 participants were forwarded to the mail list. The E-conference run from 1 November 1999 to January 2000. Almost all thediscussion took place during the first weeks prior to the Expert meeting held inStockholm 6-7 December 1999. After the meeting very few contributions werereceived. One of the main purposes of the E-conference was to create previous dialogue to setthe ground for the discussion at the Expert meeting held in Stockholm. The E-conference started with a contribution from the organisers, setting the groundfor discussion and reminding the main goals of the conference:

• Defining the policy-framework of biodiversity assessment methodologies andindicators

• Presenting the state-of-the-art of scientific knowledge regarding biodiversityassessment methodologies

• Creating a dialogue between scientists and policy-makers, including the sectorsorganisation

There was no Chair or committee chairing the discussion topics that arosethroughout the conference. This fact combined with the diversity of subject areas andthematic possibilities on a subject such biodiversity assessment and indicators,resulted in a wide variety of issues and ideas coming from the participants. The following list summarises the main discussion topics of the E-conference

• General overview on the biodiversity assessment and indicators issue• Meaning of Assessment and Biodiversity• Indicator properties• Need of further research• Need and usefulness of biodiversity indicators• Proposals to approach the multi-level complexity of biodiversity• Shannon index as a measure of diversity• Giving a value to species and organisms• Focal species as biodiversity indicators• Rarity indices• Genetic diversity

Page 50: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

50

SUMMARY OF THE CONFERENCE SESSIONS

• Introduction• Background considerations• Organisational dimension• Technical dimension INTRODUCTION There are many ways to summarise the information emerging from the contributors tothis conference, obviously any systematic arrangement of the opinions and points ofview expressed throughout the conference will always result in a simplification ofreality. Thus, following a Top-Bottom approach, from general to more specific issues,we may classify the discussion topics raised by the participants into three majorgroups: Background considerations *General overview on the issue of biodiversity assessment and indicators *Need and usefulness of biodiversity indicators *Meaning of the word assessment and biodiversity *Need of further research Organisational Dimension *Proposals to approach the multi-level complexity of biodiversity *Genetic diversity Technical Dimension *Indicator properties *Shannon index as a measure of diversity *Giving a value to species and organisms *Focal species as biodiversity indicators *Rarity indices

Page 51: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

51

BACKGROUND CONSIDERATIONS There were many contributors who took part in the conference by expressing theirviews on what is the current state of biodiversity assessment and indicators, andwhich were to their mind the steps that had to be taken in order to achieve bettersolutions for the assessment of biodiversity. The first contribution coming from the organisers focused on the issue by stating thatthe total amount of biodiversity information that can be potentially assessed, wasmore or less without limitation, therefore: -we need to identify and focus those components that are most relevant. -we need indicators which can be used to assess the identified components. Although this idea was shared by most of the participants, it was immediatelycomplemented by two topics which attracting the focus of the discussion: themeaning of the word assess, and the need to define targets and goals beforesearching for indicators to assess biological diversity. It was agreed that the word asses, or assessment is very vague and needs to beclarified. A number of participants listed interesting approaches, among them thedefinition given by the SBSTTA of the CBD for (biodiversity) assessment: analysis ofthe gap between a present state and a reference one. In other words, biodiversityassessment means to measure biodiversity for a particular purpose. The main purposes of biodiversity assessment, included in the CBD are to provideinformation for: -the conservation of biodiversity -the sustainable use of biodiversity -the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of biodiversity It was concluded that biodiversity assessment is needed for a range of purposes andthat we need to develop methodologies for all of these. Thus, considering that theapproach chosen depends on the particular purpose of the biodiversity assessment,all the approaches listed by participants might be valid. In addition to the debate on the meaning of (biodiversity) assessment, someparticipants considered that the most urgent need is for an understanding of andconsensus about the concept of biodiversity itself. However, it was also argued thatsince the word biodiversity had become so political and popular it would be extremelydifficult to achieve a consensus on its definition. In connection to this point it wasconcluded that since almost all the participants considered that biodiversity per sehas no operational definition, a “biodiversity indicator” is theoretically and practicallyimpossible. The number of responses received trying to shed some light into the issue of themeaning of biodiversity and assessment, suggests that many of the participantsagreed that in order to assess biodiversity we need clarity and definitions at everystep of the process.

Page 52: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

52

This view was not shared by some participants who pointed out that despite thespecific meaning of (biodiversity) assessment, the first step in the whole processshould be to define very carefully what we are trying to assess, to define the targetsand goals for the particular study and, once they are defined, to identify what are thebest indicators for each of the targets. This idea was emphasised by manyparticipants throughout the conference leading to the following conclusion: indicatorsare goal dependent thus they may not be developed for something which is notdefined. A contribution expressing some sceptical points of view on the issue of biodiversityand indicators brought in another discussion topic. The contribution questioned theuse and the need of biodiversity indicators, stressing that there is no use in searchingfor biodiversity indicators while there are already tools to do so such as Shannon andBrillouin’s indices. It also criticised the use that scientists made of biodiversity as atool to attract the attention of decision-makers. Some participants reacted to this opinion discussing the use of Shannon index (seechapter Technical Dimension) and arguing that the main reason to use indicators forsome target instead of directly measuring it was to higher efficiency. However, it waspointed out that if such a gain of efficiency could not be proved, then we shouldconclude that the indicator was not useful for the conservation of biodiversity. As a conclusion to this set of ideas, one delegate stated that although no consensuson indicators was coming from the conference, indicators were a necessity since analternative method of rapidly monitoring biodiversity did not exist for the moment. To put an end to this section, it should be remarked that almost all the participantsmade some reference to the need for further research when it comes to assessbiological diversity. The participants suggested further research was needed to:

• to improve the understanding of what biodiversity really is and how it could beused and preserved.

• to learn how indicator species react to disturbances• to improve our knowledge of the relationships between environmental and

anthropogenic influences• to combine data for efficient use in assessing biodiversity indicators

A contribution received at the end of the conference focused mainly on this issue,claiming that a lot of research should be done at the genetic, species, ecosystem,and phylogenetic level, considering the latter, as a special topic within the speciesdiversity. The contribution concluded by stating that only the combination of biologicaldata, geographic, climatic and environmental-anthropogenic data could lead totrustworthy development of biodiversity indicators.

Page 53: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

53

ORGANISATIONAL DIMENSION

There was a general agreement in considering biodiversity as a multi-level complexsystem with different levels to be considered, each of which required a set ofindicators. Throughout the E-conference, many participants commented on theorganisational aspects that we have to face when designing a system to assessbiological diversity, suggesting different ways to approach the assessment ofbiological diversity.

Most of the contributions dealing with this issue mentioned that indicators to assessbiological diversity should cover at least three levels: the genetic, the species, andthe ecosystem level.

These three levels were further completed in a previous contribution where it waspointed out that indicators should cover:

- Species / Population assessment- Environment / Habitat and interactions between organisms- Genetic level- Ecosystem processes

Another proposal based on the various motivations of people assessing biodiversitywith the help of indicators, suggested the following sections:

- Nature protection- Plant protection- Ecological resilience

In relation to the previous approach, based also on the ecosystem level, aparticipant suggested the following three categories:

- Productive systems- Self-sustaining ecosystems- Biogeographically characteristic ecosystems

One contributor tacked the issue of which sectors should take part in the process ofdeveloping indicators to assess biological diversity. To his mind, an approach onbiodiversity indicators should be agreed with representatives of the economical andpolitical sector, by bringing together knowledgeable and dedicated individuals fromthe following sectors:

-Environmental research -Industry representatives and organisation-Educational -Political-Economic

Page 54: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

54

There were some delegates commenting on the possible ways to structure the setsof tools to assess biological diversity, among them, it was suggested to create achecklist for biodiversity indicators. The checklist, working as a taxonomic key systemwould allow end-users to identify indicators for their specific purpose. This idea wasfurther developed by another participant, who argued that all the approachesindicated by the participants; reflected a need for a consistent overview of biodiversitymeasures. Thus, we should develop a list of biodiversity measures with well-definedgoals, criteria sensitivity...etc, including other tools than indicators, and which couldbe used both by scientists and the general public. Some initiatives like these arealready being developed in some sectors such as the marine one.

Although there was a general consensus on the three level approach of biodiversity:genetic - species - ecosystems, almost all the contributions made throughout theelectronic conference tackled with the diversity of species and ecosystems. Onecontributor reminded about the importance of genetic diversity indices by mentioningsome standardised methods which are widely used in conservation biology not onlyto describe genetic diversity but also for management, monitoring and conservationprogrammes. In relation with the issue of genetic diversity, one participant remarkedthe fact that there was much confusion about the terms “taxonomic” and “genetic” inthe context of biodiversity, arguing that taxonomic diversity was basically geneticdiversity. He also warned that putting too much emphasis on “species” might be anobstacle for the conservation of biodiversity if we take into consideration that speciesin different phyla do not, on average, represent the same amount of evolutionaryhistory.

Page 55: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

55

TECHNICAL DIMENSION

This section compiles all the contributions commenting on the technical aspects ofindicators, including not only those dealing with indicator properties but also thosediscussing the use of some available "tools" as indicators, or addressing the issue ofchoosing indicators. A high number of contributions falling within one of the previoustopics, were received during the conference.

To start the debate on technical indicators we could say that: Biodiversity has anunlimited number of facets, all facets are not equally relevant for the purpose ofconserving biodiversity. Although a general indicator for biodiversity can not befound, indicators for certain facets of biodiversity are possible. However, before theirapplication there are some aspects which need to be clarified. One contributionaddressed this issue commenting on the following properties of indicators:

-Specification: Related to a specific level of organisation and to specific criteria.

-Occurrence & Distribution: Common and widespread

-Persistence: Closely connected to certain areas or spatial units

-Identification: easy to identify or determine

-Sensitivity: react sensitively to changes in certain forms of biodiversity

Some of these points were discussed by one participant who emphasised thatindicators should be strongly associated to the properties they describe, and inreference to the occurrence and distribution argued that depending on the goals ofthe indicator it might be more suitable to work with restricted-range-size indicatorsthan with common and widespread ones. Another contribution stressed once again(see Background considerations) the need to define goals and targets, underliningthat once these have been defined, the choice of an indicator for that target is only atechnical challenge. He supported the idea that anything that is convenientlymeasurable and has predictive and discriminative power is an appropriate indicator.

One participant introduced the issue of valuation of species, when discussing theprocess of selecting species and groups of organisms as indicators. He launched theidea of reaching a global consensus to assign relative values to different groups oforganisms. The valuation of species was reinforced by the comments of somedelegates, who remarked that it was not only possible but also necessary to assignvalues to species for the choice of single species as targets for indicators ofbiodiversity. It was also suggested that threat was the main determinant for thatchoice. There was a response to those comments, which did not agree with the valueargument and reminded that too many species had been driven to extinction becauseof their lack of value.

To sum up, we could conclude that most of the participants did not like the idea ofgiving values to groups of species, nonetheless priorities have to be chosen and itcould be said that in one way or another this leads us to assign values.Another subject which, centred the attention of the participants, was the debate onthe use of Shannon and Brillouin's expressions as indicators. The discussion was

Page 56: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

56

initiated when some contributors suggested that there were already proven methodsto assess biodiversity. Some of the participants agreed that Shannon index was auseful biodiversity indicator and that it should not be forgotten that it was probably themost widely used diversity index. However, this opinion was not shared by otherparticipants who considered that Shannon index was not much helpful to quantifydiversity since it was not clear enough what information they provided in terms ofecosystem functioning or conservation value. It was also remarked that Shannonindex did fit best for vegetal than animal communities and that diversity indicesshould not be brought into the discussion on indicators due to the amount of time andresources required to obtain detailed inventories.

In addition to the disagreement of the conference delegates on the value of diversityindices, one delegate added that since those indices did not reflect the existence ofrare species in one ecosystem, a factor of rarity was required. Some participantsexpressed that rarity was a difficult issue to deal with and that further clarification wasneeded. This point was complemented with some examples and experiencesdescribed by the participants suggesting that rarity mainly depends on the samplingmethods, instead of the chosen index as some contributors had suggested.

Within the different suggestions made to approach the issue of biodiversity indicatorsone contributor drew attention to the focal species approach by Lambeck suggestingthat focal species would be excellent indicators. This point of view was not shared byone participant who replied that focal species could be insignificant in terms ofecosystem functioning, adding that the focal species approach was already inpractice whenever "umbrella" species and most-sensitive species were selected asindicators for biodiversity such as the Red lists.

In relation to the role of most-sensitive species, the same author stated that in aEuropean level, where we should search for levels of human use tolerable forecosystems, we needed indicators to value ecosystems in less-than-ideal-statesinstead of most-pristine ones. This idea was further elaborated by other participantswho shared the same opinion supporting the development of sets of indicators fordifferent landscape taking into consideration time and space scales.

It should be said that apart from the previously outlined discussion topics, there weremany participants who raised issues of high interest and relevance to the discussion.They were not further developed probably due to a number of reasons such as thetime length of the conference or the unpredictable succession of issues brought inthe conference. Among those subjects we should mention: The aggregation ofindicator data, the problems to assess biodiversity in fragmented habitats andisolated habitats, the potential source of data which could be provided by amateurnaturalists, the statistic significance of the assessment tools, and the harmonisationof figures and data collecting methods.

Page 57: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

57

CONTRIBUTIONS POSTED TO THE ELECTRONIC CONFERENCE

http://www.gencat.es/mediamb/bioind

• Welcome to the E-conference on Biodiversity Assessment and Indicators(1/11/99)

• Biodiversity Indicators (3/11/99)

• Re: Biodiversity Indicators (9/11/99)

• A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicators (5/11/99)

• Re: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicators(5/11/99)

• Re: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicators (II)

(5/11/99)

• Indicators & Motivations - Re: A short question regarding .... (III) (5/11/99)

• Re: Indicators & Motivations - Re: A short question regarding .... (9/11/99)

• Re: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicators(IV)

(6/11/99)

• Re: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicators (V)

(7/11/99)

• Assessment (of biodiversity) (A reply to Lennart Hansson and others) (8/11/99)

• Comments on biodiversity indicators (6/11/99)

• Biodiversity, indicators, concepts and action (8/11/99)

• Required properties of biodiversity, indicators (9/11/99)

• Re: Required properties of biodiversity indicators (10/11/99)

• Publication: "Guidelines for monitoring & evaluation for biodiversity projects(9/11/99)

• A check list for biodiversity indicators (10/11/99)

• Another indicator approach (15/11/99)

• Re: Another indicator approach (17/11/99)

• Choosing indicators (16/11/99)

• The use of nematodes as bioindicators (16/11/99)

• Choosing target species - RE: Another indicator approach (22/11/99)

• RE: Choosing target species (23/11/99)

• RE: Choosing target species (II) (24/11/99)

• Some thoughts on biodiversity indicators (22/11/99)

• Biodiversity indicators across space and time (24/11/99)

Page 58: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

58

• Reflections from a sceptic (25/11/99)

• RE: Reflections from a sceptic (30/11/99)

• Another sceptic (25/11/99)

• Using of Shannon index for biodiversity assessment (29/11/99)

• RE: Using of Shannon index for biodiversity assessment (30/11/99)

• About diversity (= complexity?) and biodiversity (= species richness?) (1/12/99)

• RE: About diversity (= complexity?) and biodiversity (= species richness?)(2/12/99)

• Rarity Indices ? (2/12/99)

• RE: Rarity Indices ? (2/12/99)

• RE: Rarity Indices ? (II) (3/12/99)

• A question regarding biodiversity monitoring and assessment at large scales(2/12/99)

• Indicator sets (3/12/99)

• Genetic diversity (3/12/99)

• Indicators and Indices (3/12/99)

• Why are diversity indices not useful as indicators ? (3/12/99)

• Further ways helping to assess biodiversity (7/12/99)

• RE: Further ways helping to assess biodiversity (14/12/99)

• Response to sceptics of rarity index (7/12/99)

• Checklist; announcing the BIOMARE initiative (7/12/99)

• Aggregation of indicator data and evaluation of sites (13/12/99)

• Need for Assessing Biological Objects as Indicators of Biodiversity (13/12/99)

• Workshop and Conference "Biodiversity and dynamics of ecosystems in the NorthEurasia" (13/12/99)

• Biodiversity, definitions, indicators, values, and more (14/12/99)

• Briefs notes on the expert meeting and the electronic conference agenda(15/12/99)

• Expert Meeting in Stockholm: A brief report (17/12/99)

• International Day for Biological Diversity (29/12/99)

• Biological diversity at species level and its endangerment as a criterion andindication for the monitoring of sustainable forest management - A contribution tothe discussion of the "Helsinki process" (14/1/00)

Page 59: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

59

Contributions posted to the Electronic Conference

Welcome to the E-conference on Biodiversity assessment and indicators.Author: Aniol Esteban & Tor-Björn LarssonDate: 1/11/99

Dear Mail List subscriber,

Please read the following information about the E-Conference structure andfunctioning:

Electronic conference on Biodiversity Assessment and Indicators

The electronic conference will run throughout the next weeks until the 3rd ofDecember 1999.

The Electronic Conference intends to create some dialogue on Biodiversityassessment and indicators. In a first step this will give an input to the Expert Meetingto be hold in Stockholm 6-7 December 1999.

The main goals of the conference is to contribute to the development of cost-effectivebiodiversity assessment methodologies in the context of the Convention on BiologicalBiodiversity by:

- -Defining the policy-framework of biodiversity assessment methodologiesand indicators

- -Presenting the state-of-the-art of scientific knowledge regardingbiodiversity assessment methodologies

- -Creating a dialogue between scientists and policy-makers, including thesectors, organisations and the general public as a basis for the furtherresearch and development on biodiversity assessment.

All participants who subscribe to the mail list, will be able to send and receive e-mailscommenting on the previous contributions and to express their views in the field ofBiodiversity assessment and indicators.

New contributions will be forwarded daily to all the Mail List delegates, and will belaunched in the Conference web site which will be updated regularly:

http://www.gencat.es/mediamb/bioind

Page 60: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

60

You are most welcome to take part in the electronic conference and to express yourviews on the previously listed issues by sending an e-mail to the E-conference co-ordinator: [email protected]

Thanks very much in advance for your participation and interest.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any doubt or comment

Aniol EstebanE-conf [email protected]://www.gencat.es/mediamb/bioind

CONFERENCE ORGANISATION:

Swedish Scientific Council on BiodiversitySwedish Environmental Protection AgencySE-106 48 Stockholm. SwedenTel +46 8 698 1447Fax +46 8 698 1664Contact person: T-B LarssonE-mail [email protected]

The Electronic Conference Secretariat:Ministry of Environment, Government of CataloniaAv. Diagonal 523-525, Barcelona E-08029. SpainTel +34 93 444 50 00Fax +34 93 419 87 09E-mail: [email protected]

Page 61: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

61

Biodiversity IndicatorsAuthor: Tor-Björn Larsson, Allan Watt, Aniol EstebanDate: 3/11/99

We need to monitor the state of and assess changes in the wide biodiversity complexas identified in the Convention of Biological Diversity. A total assessment of evensuch a relatively well-defined component as the species numbers is in practiceimpossible, if we add genetical composition and/or ecosystem functions the totalamount of biodiversity information that could be potentially assessed is more orless without limitation.

Any successful strategy to assess biodiversity must rely on two basic principles;firstly we need to identify and then focus on those components of biodiversity thatare most relevant for the objective of the strategy being either subject to majorthreats to be mitigated or in focus by the management targets. Secondly we needindicators that can be used to assess the identified components.

The conclusion of this is that any successful development of biodiversity indicatorsmust start with identifying the biodiversity components to take into account in thespecific situation. Secondly the biodiversity indicators must be selected to fulfil bothpractical and scientific requests.

We think that a discussion on biodiversity indicators in addition to assessing speciesand populations, their environment/habitat and the biological interactions betweenthe organisms should cover also the genetical level. Today we have an intensedevelopment of molecular markers to assess genetical diversity and also find moreintegrated approaches including also biological and traditional/morphologicalfeatures. Another issue, where research has just started is the influence onbiodiversity on ecosystem processes like nutrient and carbon circulation. Of courseindicators are needed also in this context.

The indicator issue is by no means new and there is an intense development ofdifferent systems in a number of policy-related fora. We feel that there is a greatpotential for a more serious dialogue between scientists and policy-makers andothers concerned to develop better biodiversity indicators. This is relevant for the twotrack approach recommended in the context of the Convention on BiologicalDiversity; both when developing indicator systems based on available knowledge andwhen designing research projects to study biodiversity indicators. In the first casepolicy-makers should make better use of scientific expertise and not least encouragemore advanced analytical approaches to develop indicator systems. In the secondcase it is a general experience that a research project that delivers results that aresuccessfully implemented into policy have the necessary links to the end-usersestablished during the whole project.

In the discussions to follow in this Electronic Conference we look forward to a morein-depth treatment of the above, and other issues. We also look forward to thecontacts with scientists, policy-makers, sectors, NGO s and other concerned with thisissue and hope this initiative can establish a forum on biodiversity indicators.

Tor-Bjorn Larsson, Swedish Environmental Protection AgencyAllan Watt, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, U.K.Aniol Esteban, Ministry of Environment, Government of Catalonia

Page 62: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

62

A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicatorsAuthor: Lennart Hansson, Uppsala, Sweden.Date: 5/11/99

It is stated that we need indicators to 'assess' the identified components. We shouldalso be 'assessing' species and populations. It is unclear to me what is here meantwith assess, in scientific writing I find this word just to be confusing, but this may bedue to my poor English.

So does assess mean:

1. To count species, structures, etc.2. To monitor over time3. To examine new environments with regard to biodiversity4. To evaluate biodiversity retention in relation to management (or mismanagement)5. To put a value on biodiversity

I believe that more concise writing, or explanation within this electronic conference,would be useful

Lennart HanssonDepartment of Conservation Biology, SLUBox 7002, S-750 07 UPPSALA, Sweden

****************************************

RE: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicators:Author: Janet Riley, Harpenden, UKDate: 5/11/99

In response to Lennart Hansson's plea for clarity I agree wholeheartedly with him.The word 'Assess' is very vague and needs to be clarified. To initiate some form ofclarification, I would suggest that :

* if we are assessing the state of something then we are describing what it is like now- with numbers or words

* if we are assessing changes then we are measuring, e.g. with counts, or describingwith words e.g. more, less, better, worse

* if we are assessing impact of changes within the existing biodiversity complex thenwe need to be clear that it is indeed impact that we are describing

A phrase such as 'assess the identified components' is not very helpful because itdoes not specify which of the above three activities are involved.

I hope this helps. Any ideas to clarify this further will be very welcome,

Janet RileyRothamsted Experimental Station. Harpenden. UK

Page 63: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

63

RE: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicators (II)Author: Marie-Joelle RochetDate: 5/11/99

In response to Lennart Hansson's and Janet Riley's plea for clarity I agreewholeheartedly with them.

I have three points in response to Janet's points:

* As scientists we are expected to provide numbers rather than words, as far aspossible.

* Assessing changes is nothing else than assessing the state of something twice - ormore.

* I agree that we need to be clear that it is indeed impact that we are describing,hence we should specify the impact of what. This has to do with identifying andfocusing on those components of biodiversity that are subject to major threats: whichthreats are we dealing with when defining an indicator ?

Marie-Joelle ROCHET

Laboratoire MAERHA(Mathematiques Appliquees a l'Exploitationdes Ressources Halieutiques et Aquacoles)IFREMER, B.P. 2110544311 NANTES CEDEX 03, FRANCE

****************************************

Re: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicatorsAuthor: Roman Danilov, SwedenDate: 8/11/99

In response to Lennart Hansson's & Janet Riley’s opinions I think that it is ofimportance not to forget statistic significance of "assessing" (sorry for the use of avague term!) tools. The subjective influence of the person/researcher will beminimised in this case.

Dr Roman Danilov

Mid Sweden UniversityDept. Appl. Sci.S-87188 Haernoesand, Sweden

Page 64: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

64

Indicators and Motivations (Re: A short question regarding the intended use ofbiodiversity indicators)Author: Peter Duelli, SwitzerlandDate: 8/11/99

From Janet Riley we learn that there are basically three ways of assessingbiodiversity: state, changes, and impact. If we go one step further, and consideringthe various motivations of people assessing biodiversity with the help of indicators,we have to develop an entire hierarchy, or a dendrogram, of indicators. One willnever do!

My proposal for a further distinction based on human motivation is another basictriplet of indicators:

1. Nature protection (diversity of threatened species)2. Plant protection (diversity of beneficial organisms)3. Ecological resilience (species diversity of all organisms)The latter comes closest to a value free assessment of organismic diversity.

Each branch of this triplet of motivations requires a different kind of indicator. Anexample: In the branch "state" (see above) the motivation NATURE PROTECTIONwill best be indicated by a set of numbers of Red List species. The motivation PLANTPROTECTION may be indicated best by species numbers of epigeal predators, or byaphidophaga such as syrphids, coccinellids and lacewings. The motivationECOLOGICAL RESILIENCE is best represented by an indicator based on a provencorrelate to overall local biodiversity (alpha). This may be a set of selected taxa, e.g.Aculeate Hymenoptera, Heteroptera, and flowering plants, or a representativesample of all arthropods collected with a standardised sampling method such as awindow interception trap.

Obviously, these three indicators will give different values for biodiversity in any oneplace. The main point I want to stress here is that there is no single objectiveindicator for biodiversity!

I am interested to hear (rather see) proposals for additional motivations to measureand evaluate (if to assess is no longer acceptable) biodiversity. And what would bethe best indicators in those motivations?

Best wishes,

Peter Duelli

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest,Snow and Landscape ResearchCH-8903 BirmensdorfSwitzerland

Page 65: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

65

Re: A short question regarding the intended use of biodiversity indicatorsAuthor: Fredrik von Euler, CanadaDate: 8/11/99

I agree that in order to assess biodiversity such that it translates into science-basedpolicy, we need clarity and definitions at every step of the process. However, I thinkthat the most urgent need is for an understanding of, and consensus about, theconcept of biodiversity itself.

So far, there has been few attempts to formalize and define biodiversity beyond theall-encompassing definition from the Rio summit. I believe that definition is not ameasurable entity. Whether in the end we will use indicators of biodiversity, or assessit directly, we need to both define AND be able to measure biodiversity.

Biodiversity is the diversity of life-forms. This diversity is the result of a 4-billion-yearevolutionary process. An assemblage of dead objects can not have biodiversity,although they may be the result of life processes. There has been a tendency toconsider the study of life-forms to automatically also be the study of biodiversity, but ifthe concept is to have any relevance, biodiversity has to be more than its parts (theindividual life-forms) or the number of such parts.

We have focused on "bio" and forgot about "diversity". Diversity is indeed anemergent property of an assemblage of objects. The relevance of biodiversity is inthe differences among life-forms, and to measure biodiversity is to measure thosedifferences. The genetic code is arguably the most fundamental property of life, sobiodiversity would be based on genetic differences among life-forms. If taxonomicclassifications reflect genetic differences, they can be used to estimate suchdifferences for a defined assemblage of life-forms, in a certain place, at a certaintime.

Whether we want to study the ecological function of biodiversity, or how it is affectedby human encroachment, for example, biodiversity has to be defined independently.

Fredrik von Euler

Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of British Columbia2424 Main MallVancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4Canada

Page 66: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

66

Re: A short question regarding the intended use of Biodiversity indicatorsAuthor: Allan D. Watt, Banchory, Scotland, UK.Date: 8/11/99

Lennart Hansson is correct to warn against the imprecise use of the word "assess",and indeed any word used to discuss biodiversity. My dictionary tells me that assessmeans to "fix the amount of taxes or fines". This is clearly not what we mean whenwe use it in the context of biodiversity!

I, for one, use the words "assess" and "assessment" all the time, particularly"biodiversity assessment". And I'm not alone: a quick literature search shows thatsince 1989, 29 scientific papers have used both the words "biodiversity" and"assessment" in their titles. And there are several books on the subject, notablyUNEP's Global Biodiversity Assessment.

My dictionary gives a second meaning to assess: "to estimate the value of". This iscloser to its usage in reference to biodiversity but like so many words it has taken onits own meaning in a particular context. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technicaland Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention for Biological Diversity givethe following definition (in their Recommendations for a Core Set of Indicators ofBiological Diversity, 1997): "[Biodiversity] Assessment: analysis of the gap betweenthe present state and a reference one."

Whatever this "reference state" may be depends on the purpose of the biodiversityassessment. Thus "biodiversity assessment" means more than "biodiversitymeasurement". It means to measure biodiversity for a particular purpose. The mainpurposes of biodiversity assessment, all explicitly included in the Convention forBiological Diversity are to provide information for a) the conservation of biodiversity b)the sustainable use of biodiversity and c) the fair and equitable sharing of thebenefits of biodiversity.

Thus biodiversity assessment may mean all of the approaches listed by LennartHansson? the approach chosen depends on the particular purpose of the biodiversityassessment.

Janet Riley and Marie-Joelle Rochet also point out that there are differentapproaches to biodiversity assessment and both focus on threats to biodiversity.SBSTTA documents on biodiversity indicators also recognise these differentapproaches and classify indicators as state (measuring status and trends), pressure(measuring processes of threat) and response (measuring effectiveness ofmeasures) indicators.

One of the aims of this electronic conference is to debate the strengths andweaknesses of different biodiversity assessment methodologies. This debate canonly take place by recognising that biodiversity assessment is needed for a range ofpurposes and that we need to develop methodologies, or "biodiversity assessmenttools", for all of these.

Allan WattInstitute of Terrestrial EcologyBanchory Research StationHill of Brathens, GlasselBanchory AB31 4BYScotland, UK

Page 67: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

67

Biodiversity, indicators, concepts and actionAuthor: Miguel Araujo, London, UK / Evora, Portugal.Date: 8/11/99

Frederik von Euler wrote:> I agree that in order to assess biodiversity such that it translates> into science-based policy, we need clarity and definitions at every step> of the process. However, I think that the most urgent need is for an> understanding of, and consensus about, the concept of biodiversity> itself.

> So far, there has been few attempts to formalize and define biodiversity> beyond the all-encompassing definition from the Rio summit. I believe> that definition is not a measurable entity. Whether in the end we will> use indicators of biodiversity, or assess it directly, we need to both> define AND be able to measure biodiversity.

I suppose there are different views about what biodiversity means. However, I don'tthink this is critical for our discussion. Kevin Gaston (1996) provided a useful reviewof what biodiversity is for different people. He pointed out that there were at leastthree different viewpoints:

1. Biodiversity as a concept2. Biodiversity as a measurable entity3. Biodiversity as a social/political construct

Biodiversity as a concept is essentially abstract. Expressed as the 'variety of life', itsbreadth is so wide as in fact to be exceedingly difficult to fully understand it. Theother two viewpoints can be seen as following from two, sometimes opposing,conservation strategies: proactive and reactive.

If we take a proactive approach, it follows that we need few indicators representingvariation in many other organisms. Of course this stems from the idea that we canmeasure biodiversity, but we just don't have time or resources to do it. That's thetraditional debate on whether a taxonomic group is a good surrogate for another, orwhether higher taxa predicts variation in lower taxa, or whether assemblage ofspecies - i.e. habitats - are good at predicting the occurrence of many otherorganisms.

If we take a reactive approach - i.e. firefighting as particular organisms becomeendangered - our indicators are simply those attributes we believe require the most ofour attention. Again these can be threatened species, assemblages of speciesassociated with threatened attributes, etc. Here the overall goal is to focus on thoseattributes that have higher probability of disappearing, regartheless of their indicatorproperties for other organisms.

So, what seems really important to me is to define TARGETS for environmental andconservation policy. Once they are defined we can start identifying what are the bestindicators for each of the targets.

Page 68: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

68

Lets give a couple of examples. If the EU decides that what is really important are theoligotrophic rivers, then we can identify those attributes that are more sensitive tochanges these systems. If the EU decides that what is important is to prevent furtherextinctions in Europe, then what we have to work closely with the Council of Europe-WCMC-WWF-IUCN to improve our endangered species lists. If the EU decides whatis important is maintain the likelihood of species survival given environmentalchange, then we may have to work on a list of attributes that are particularly sensitiveto them, etc.

INDICATORS ARE GOAL DEPENDENT. Without a clear idea of what are theindicators for, I cannot see how we can go much further than:

1. Defining what indicators are under different circumstances;2. How could they be used once targets were defined;3. What are the priorities for research?4. What resources would be needed if we were to work out a strategy for biodiversity conservation and monitoring in Europe.

All the best

Miguel AraujoPhD Student at the Natural History Museum, LondonAddress: Foros do Queimado, S.M.Machede, Evora, Portugal

****************************************

Re: Biodiversity IndicatorsAuthor: Ronald J. Baxter, USADate: 8/11/99

I am in complete agreement with Larsson that the first step in this process is to definevery carefully exactly what we are trying to assess (regardless of the specificmeaning of the word). We must first define what the goals are for the particularstudy, be that to monitor species richness, species evenness, or whatever. Only afterthe specific goals or performance criteria are established, are we in a position todesign a meaningful experiment to test our hypotheses regarding the effects ofmanagement decisions. To boldly rush out and attempt to monitor all taxa in thehopes that the desired results will fall out of the data would be both wasteful andfiscally irresponsible.

Regards to all,Ron

Ronald J. Baxter Center for Natural Lands ManagementLake Mathews - Estelle Mnt. Reserve 13225 Cajalco Road Perris,CA 92570 USA

Page 69: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

69

RE: Biodiversity IndicatorsAuthor: Otto M. Bundy, Florida, USA.Date: 9/11/99

Diversity, of which one is biodiversity indicators drives the ecosystems of the worldand becomes a tool for management of there continued existence or change in thefuture.

I concur with the participants that have expressed their thoughts and opinions in theopening comments " Re: A short question regarding the intended use".Environmental interests that have probed the technical portion of our field will have tosort out the factors that are important to biodiversity indicators. Agreement may bedifficult to come by but its attempt necessary

When we recognize a method of classifying the factors that drive importantenvironmental relationships, location, time and the function are not as important asthe interrelationship among all factors that affect multiply and diverse ecosystemssites. I believe that ecosystems research and identification will be a continuingprocess as it pertains to ecosystems biodiversity but I believe that man will alter thesame before we have the opportunity to act upon on them. Two entities of importancethat influence the interpretation and policy portion of such a conference are theeconomic and political sector. Will these groups have sufficient knowledge of theimportance of biodiversity indicators to agreed upon an approach. The study andidentification of ecosystems can be challenging, time and money consuming, for theyare not isolated systems. Location and boundaries have little affect on the alteration ,favourable or unfavourable, of ecosystems unless man is prepared to enter intoagreements..

We feel that education has been a motivating source in our growth. Environmentaleducation should be extend to all generations (young or old) to provide informationand facts related to the consequences. The economic and political sectors, plays animportant in environmental policy and legislation Their commitment to activeevaluation of new educational approaches and information is essential to thedecision making process. Within our companies we believe that vertical interrogationis part of the biodiversity solution, excluding the governmental agencies responsiblefor tracking certain environmental activities. This type of integration reduces theconflict in understanding new environmental techniques as they are presented.

A balance among information, of what was and what will be, should be givenconsideration to properly manage time, data collection and fiscal input. Their shouldbe increasing importance for research by the technical environmental sector,biodiversity changes may already be taking place and like-habitats may bedifferentiating systems. Thirty years of evolvement ecosystems restoration has madeus aware of biodiversity issues and changes. If ecosystems change is too rapid theindustry will need the direction of a diverse environmental group to design moreefficient and sustainable habitats.

Page 70: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

70

Bring together knowledgeable and dedicated individuals from the following:

*Environmental Research(all allied disciplines soils, plants and atmosphere)

*Educational(audience total population)

*Industry Representatives and Organization(represented by longevity and performance)

*Economic(developer, provider, user, technician and politician)

*Political(all levels of federal, state, county and city government)

ACTION:

1. Determine that you can bring together the meaningful participants to develop thebase line information.

2. How would this information be efficiently disseminated.

Otto M. BundyCEO and PresidentEcogroup International Corp.Parrish, Florida USA

Page 71: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

71

Required Properties of Biodiversity IndicatorsAuthor: Carl BeierkuhnleinDate: 9/11/99

Biodiversity indicators can be single objects, groups of objects or systems. Beforetheir application, some aspects of these indicators, indicator groups or indicatingsystems have to be clarified. They are addressed with the following topics.

1. Specification

To my opinion, this is the most important point. Willing to indicate biodiversity, first wehave to question: "Which Biodiversity?"

Biodiversity exists on different levels of organization (e.g. tissues, organs, organisms,communities, ecosystems). The term biodiversity or biological diversity wasintroduced in the 80ies to reflect this broader understanding. At each of these levelsdifferent criteria (functional, structural, temporal, phylogenetic etc.) can be applied toclassify types that can be counted or quantitatively characterized afterwards.

Species diversity is only one possibility to characterize biodiversity on the level oforganisms. For instance besides this, the number of species, life forms, plantfunctional types, strategy types or other typological units can be of interest.

Quantitative data on biodiversity must be related to a specific space and time, so areindicators. Biodiversity emerges only in relation to these scales.

Other qualities of biodiversity as the variability between objects (beta-diversity,heterogeneity, similarity) or the ecological complexity (resulting from interactionsbetween the units) have to be clearly separated from the number of objects.

In conclusion it is necessary to relate biodiversity indicators to a specific level oforganization and to specific criteria as for example morphological or more generalspatial structures, phylogenetic similarity or functional traits. A general indicator forbiodiversity can not be found. Nevertheless, indicators for certain aspects ofbiodiversity are possible.

2. Occurrence and Distribution

Biodiversity indicators have to be common and widespread. They should occur underthe different environmental conditions that are of relevance according to the qualitiesof biodiversity under consideration.

3. Persistence

Biodiversity indicators have to be closely connected to certain areas or spatial units.It seems to be problematic to look at species which use different habitat types or atruderal communities with low spatial and temporal constancy. The life time ofindicators has to cover the life time of the objects whose diversity is addressed.

Page 72: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

72

4. Identification

Indicators of biodiversity must easy to identify or determine. There should be acommon agreement concerning their classification and terminology. Objects with onlytemporal or cryptic occurrence or unclear terminology are not appropriate. So areobjects with an high effort of time and material (i.e. money) accessible to only a fewexperts.

5. Sensitivity

Biodiversity indicators have to react sensitively to changes in certain forms ofbiodiversity. They can indicate qualitative and quantitative aspects of comparableunits. For instance the occurrence of certain species of trees (e.g. Salix spp.) mightindicate a large variety of insects connected with this habitat, the occurrence of otherspecies (e.g. Fagus) might indicate low diversity. Or, the occurrence of certaincommunities might indicate a certain degree of the intensity of land use and therebya certain diversity of other communities. Another approach would be to regard thediversity within a certain widespread community or ecosystem and conclude from thisthe diversity within other less common or more diverse communities or ecosystems.

Dr. Carl BeierkuhnleinLehrstuhl für BiogeographieUniversität BayreuthD 95540 Bayreuth, Germany

****************************************

Publication: Guidelines for monitoring and evaluation for biodiversity projectsAuthor: Ferry Slik, Leiden, The Netherlands.Date: 9/11/99

Dear participants,

Maybe I can put your attention on a publication of the World Bank from 1998. Itspecifically focuses on Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation for BiodiversityProjects and treats most of the problems that have been discussed during thiselectronic conference very clearly and precise, in such a way that it is both useful forscientists and policy makers. The complete reference is:

World Bank 1998. Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation for Biodiversity Projects.Environment Department Papers, Biodiversity series, no. 065.

Copies are available from the World Bank's Environment Department, GlobalEnvironment Co-ordination, Room S-2117X.

Greetings,

FERRY SLIKNational Herbarium of the Netherlands (NHN)Einsteinweg 2, room B101, PO-Box 95142300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

Page 73: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

73

RE: Indicators and MotivationsAuthor: Jervis Good, IrelandDate: 9/11/99

Peter Duelli's triplet proposal is very interesting and quite similar to the approach wehave been using in practice, based on three categories of ecosystem, and using soilstaphylinid beetle indicator assemblages:

1. Productive systems (e.g. wheat): Beneficial species only (predators), impactsmeasured semi-quantitatively (cumulative relative abundance of beneficial species).

2. Self-sustaining ecosystems (e.g. revegetated mine waste): species associated withecosystems not receiving external nutrient inputs and associated with litterdecomposition; impact measured semi-quantitatively (cumulative relative abundanceof selected indicator species).

3. Biogeographically characteristic ecosystems (e.g. calcareous fens): species whichare both local (therefore less likely to survive in historically degraded sites) and withspecialised habitat requirements (stenotopic); impact measured qualitatively(numbers of indicator species) because sampling methods are too biased in acomplex habitat to provide accurate quantitative results.

In each case, species comprising the indicator assemblage are selected a priori onthe basis of their relevance to the questions of (1) loss of productivity (increased pestdamage); (2) achievement of self-sustainable soil processes (successful long-termrevegetation); (3) ecological integrity of the habitat (for threatened ecosystem types).

For the category of Nature Protection, I suggest that it is important to distinguishbetween threatened species diversity (protection of designated threatened species)and habitat species diversity (protection of the ecological integrity (characteristicspecies) of designated threatened habitats). While the former ('flagship species') willprotect the latter in terms of site designation, they will rarely represent the complexityof the latter when it comes to interpreting management impacts. For habitat speciesdiversity, we need indicators of ecological integrity, interpreted crudely as thespecialist ability of ecosystems to deal with their climatic and edaphic environment,as well as specific soil/organic microenvironments. This raises the issue of how toindicate microbial diversity.

One further question. Is it correct that indicators of ecological resilience may be verydifficult to accurately select without a lot of experimentation, and may not always berepresented by the species diversity of all organisms ?

Best wishes,Jervis Good,Terrascope Environmental Consultancy,Glinny, Riverstick, Co. Cork, Ireland

Page 74: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

74

RE: Required Properties of Biodiversity IndicatorsAuthor: Miguel AraujoDate: 10/11/99

Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein proposed a useful list of properties to guide the choice ofbiodiversity indicators. I generally agree with him, but have some comments on thetwo topics discussed below.

> 2. Occurrence and Distribution>Biodiversity indicators have to be common and widespread. They should occur>under the different environmental conditions that are of relevance according to the>qualities of biodiversity under consideration.

I suspect this would depend on the goals of the indicators. For example, if the goal isto find the appropriate set of indicators to guide the selection of areas for biodiversityconservation, then it is most likely that restricted-range-size species, displaying highlevels of spatial turnover (i.e. beta-diversity) would be more adequate than 'commonand widespread' species. This is because the selection of representativeconservation area networks is particularly sensitive to the location of these species.Of course, if we don't know where these restricted-range-size species are it is betterto use 'umbrella species' with large home ranges and use a wide range of habitattypes or environmental domains. We would expect these species to represent a greatdiversity of others due to the species-area effect. This strategy has, however, provento be less than optimal in may areas and for many taxa (e.g. the Spotted Owl, in theUS, was shown to be bad indicator for aquatic plant species and for importantspecies from early successional stages; Similarly the Tiger, in India, has shown to bea bad indicator for many species of invertebrates and grasses). Therefore I suggestthat, as far as the selection of conservation areas for biodiversity in Europe isconcerned, we should be using the best data available on the distribution of the mostrestricted-range size species (e.g. narrow endemics) and endangered species.

> 3. Persistence>Biodiversity indicators have to be closely connected to certain areas or spatial>units. It seems to be problematic to look at species which use different habitat types> or at ruderal communities with low spatial and temporal constancy. The life time of> indicators has to cover the life time of the objects whose diversity is addressed.

Yes. But again how would you define the spatial unit required for a migratory bird.What is a well-defined spatial unit for the eyes of a aerial photography may well bejust a tiny part of a broader spatial unit, say for a Crane (Grus grus). Otherwise youmay be restricting your indicators to those that are only sensitive to lower levelhabitat variation. I suggest that much more research is needed on scale effects andon habitat perception from various possible indicators species.

Instead of persistence I suggest using the word 'fidelity' which is well described in astatistical sense by the early school of phytosociology and is now widely used inmultivariate methods such as TWINSPAN, IndVal, or others (these methods groupareas according their similarity and find 'indicator species' which are 'faithful' tothem). That is: Indicators should be strongly associated to the properties theydescribe.

Hope this helps for the discussion.

All the bestMiguel Araujo, Foros do Queimado, S.M.Machede, Evora, Portugal.

Page 75: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

75

A check list for Biodiversity indicatorsAuthor: Michael Scherer-LorenzenDate: 10/11/99

So far, the discussion centred around very basic problems about the use and abuseof indicators for biodiversity (and the term biodiversity itself). While these basicdiscussions are scientifically interesting, we should not forget the people working inthe field of biodiversity conservation or in bioregional management projects: theyneed such indicators now!

Therefore, I think this forum could be an excellent opportunity to develop somethinglike a "check list for biodiversity indicators", which could be used by these "endusers"to identify indicators for their specific purpose. Such a check list presumably wouldhave a hierarchical design, starting with basic questions about the goal of the project("indicators are goal dependent", see also contribution by Carl Beierkuhnlein), andending with concrete recommendations for possible indicators. It may be written inthe style of taxonomic identification keys, for example.

Let’s start:

1. What is the goal of your search for an indicator?

1a: Assessment of plant species number in a given area...go to x.

1b: Assessment of habitat diversity in a given area...go to y.

1c: etc.

(To be criticized or completed by the participants of the "Conference on cost-effectivebiodiversity indicators"...)

Best wishes,Michael Scherer-Lorenzen

Page 76: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

76

Another indicator approach:Author: Lennart HanssonDate: 15/11/99

We have learned that biodiversity can be 'assessed' for very different reasons and indifferent ways. However, most people still reflect on indicators for conservation ofbiodiversity and, indeed, most indicator systems have been developed for thatpurpose, or for related purposes.

I want here to draw attention to the 'focal species approach' by Lambeck(Conservation Biology 11:849-856, 1997). Focal species were there implicated formanagement of biodiversity but that management also required regular monitoring.Lambeck suggested that an array of species were selected to represent the greatestsensitivity towards area, resource, dispersal and process limitation. Such specieswould be fairly sedentary and specialised. If the landscape would be managed forconservation of these species most other species would also be retained.

Such focal species might be excellent indicators provided that they also have someother suitable attributes as being easily identified and easily observed or sampled. Nosuch system appears still to be at work but could probably be fairly swiftly outlined bya team of ecologists covering various taxa. In order to make the species useful foreasy monitoring we might have to accept some second rank focal species.

According to Lambeck the array of species is also reflected in a certain structure ofthe landscape with some concern towards important processes as grazing,harvesting, etc. Thus, a more cost-effective use of this concept might be to monitorthe landscape structures and processes, e.g. from satellite imagery or forestry maps.

We should thus get two more and less expensive indicator systems: For biodiversityhot spots we might monitor practically useful focal species but for the productionlandscapes the crucial structures and processes.

Lennart HanssonDepartment of Conservation Biology, SLUBox 7002S-750 07 UPPSALA, Sweden

Page 77: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

77

Choosing indicatorsAuthor: Brian BoagDate: 16/11/99

The choice of Biodiversity Indicators is always going to be a problem and the speciesor group(s) of organisms chosen to be monitored vary depending upon the questionsasked.

One factor which I believe gets overlooked is the possibility of weighting organismswith respect to how many have been described. So far about 1.75 million of anestimated 13 million species of organisms on earth have been described (GlobalBiodiversity Assessment, UNEP,1995). It can probably said with some confidencethat most mammals and birds have been identified but this is not true of manysmaller organisms e.g. soil inhabiting nematodes. While any one of these smallerorganisms may not be seen to be as important as larger more easily identifiedspecies they probably represent many more yet unidentified species within their taxaand therefore, it could be argued, should warrant a higher profile than mightotherwise be the case.

It would be nice to think that a global consensus could be reached as to the relativevalues that could be placed on different groups of organisms but this probably isimpossible as each person approaches the problem about the choice of biologicalindicators from a different perspective and cannot be entirely objective. However I stillthink it could be a goal that delegates at the meeting in Stockholm could try andaddress.

Brian Boag

****************************************

The use of nematodes as bioindicatorsAuthor: Aldo ZulliniDate: 16/11/99

Dear Colleague,

We can say many things about advantages in the use of nematodes as bioindicators.But the principal thing is that nematodes are always present, even in small chunks ofmatter (soil, sediment) both in favourable and in inhospitable habitats.

To lower the costs (time, money) of nematological analyses, it is necessary to adopta rapid, simple and standardized method (extraction, inclusion in glycerine and onslides). Methodology for soil species is rather good (but still too toilsome, in myopinion), but extraction methods from freshwater sediment is far from optimal. Marinesediment is usually mostly mineral, but freshwater sediment is usually very rich oforganic detritus with the same density of nematodes. This prevents an easy partitionbetween detritus and nematodes. I would really know if somebody solved thisproblem. It is not a trivial problem, as it may seem.

Best regards.

Aldo ZulliniDip.Biologia, piazza della Scienza 2, 20126 MILANO

Page 78: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

78

Re: Another indicator approachAuthor: Bram AartsDate: 17/11/99

The "suite-of-focal-species" approach (Lambeck 1997), proposed by LennartHansson as another indicator approach, is yet another system of selecting umbrellaspecies and most-sensitive species as indicators for biodiversity. Most Europeancountries already apply such a system, because many use Red Lists of Threatenedand Vulnerable Species (= most-sensitive species). The problem with theseapproaches is that most-sensitive species are only indicators of most-pristine nature.In almost every European country, many ecosystems no longer contain these verysensitive species (such as top predators). But does this mean that these ecosystemsare worthless? Certainly not, because maybe these "focal species" are insignificantwhen it comes to their contribution to the functioning of the ecosystems. Focalspecies are just very sensitive creatures, but not intrinsically important to thefunctioning or the stability of the ecosystem (the term "keystone species" has beencoined for the latter species).

Recent views on the importance of biodiversity for the stability of ecosystems indicatethat biodiversity buffers changes in environmental conditions and might beconsidered as a kind of insurance (see Aarts & Nienhuis 1998). More species in anecosystems means more species that are possibly capable of helping an ecosystemsurvive changing future environmental conditions. Loss of species does notnecessarily have to impact ecosystem functioning at present conditions, but thesespecies may be crucial in the future. It's up to us to decide how much insurancewe want to pay for now.

In Europe, the pressure of the human population on nature is very high, and naturecan only persist sustainably within the boundaries of human use. We do not needindicators for nature in a pristine state, but we have to search for levels of human usethat we think are tolerable for ecosystems. New concepts from environmentalsciences, such as the ecosystem integrity concept, explicitly incorporate tolerablelevels of human use of nature (Aarts & Nienhuis 1999). In a European context, itwould be better to search for indicators to value ecosystems in less-than-ideal states.

References:

Aarts, B.G.W. & Nienhuis, P.H. (1998): Biodiversity and Sustainability as Objectivesfor Regional Policies and Spatial Planning? In: EU Electronic Conference onResearch and Biodiversity.http://www.gencat.es/mediamb/biodiv/regio3.htm

Aarts, B.G.W. & Nienhuis, P.H. (1999): Ecological sustainability and biodiversity. TheInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 6: 89-102.

Lambeck, R.J. (1997): Focal species: a multi-species umbrella for natureconservation. Conservation Biology 11: 849-856.

Bram AARTSDepartment of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science, University of NijmegenP.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL NijmegenThe Netherlands

Page 79: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

79

Choosing target species - Re: Another Indicator ApproachAuthor: Fredrik von EulerDate: 22/11/99

Brian Boag raised issue of choosing indicators. I believe that, once the TARGET(aspect of biodiversity) has been defined, the choice of an indicator for that target is apurely technical challenge. Anything that is conveniently measurable and haspredictive and discriminative power, is an appropriate indicator.

Targets however have to be chosen. I will focus on one type of targets: species. Thevalue of any single species may be whatever 6 billion human beings consider it to be,but it is possible and necessary to formalize the basis for valuation beyond that: thereare too many species for all to be target species, so choices are necessary.

Value categories:1. Intrinsic (not addressed here)2. Direct exploitation (commercial value)3. Ecological processes ("ecosystem" value), and services(commercial value)4. Evolutionary history (no immediate commercial value)

A species which has high value as well as being threatened by human activities, isobviously an appropriate target for an indicator of "biodiversity". A species which hashigh value, but whose persistence is not affected by human activities, is a lessappropriate target.

Below I try to classify SINGLE SPECIES within large "taxonomic" groups, wrt valueand appropriateness as targets.

Taxonomic group - Value (categories, see above) - Threat - Relevance as target

Microbes - 2: ? 3: ? 4: ? //Very low // Very lowSmall invertebrates - 2: ? 3: ? 4: ? // Low // LowLarge invertebrates - 2: high 3: ? 4: low-high // Low-high // Low-highMacroscopic plants - 2: high 3: ? 4: high //low-high//moderate-highVertebrates - 2: high 3: ? 4: high // high // high

Oh, well, those values look a bit vague. The point of this, however, is that THREAT isthe main determinant for the choice of singles species as targets. As far as I know,no described microbial "species" has ever been declared extinct (except smallpoxperhaps), and even if 99% of microbes still await description, it is unlikely that amicrobial extinction could ever be measured. For microbes, evolution will likelybe able to keep up with extinction regardless of human activities. The same appliesto many (but certainly not all) invertebrates.

Plants and vertebrates, however, are certainly not able to counter extinction withevolution (speciation) over any relevant period of time. These species may notalways have obvious value for direct exploitation or ecological processes, but theytend to represent a lot of evolutionary history (and often high "intrinsic" value as well).

Page 80: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

80

I conclude that vertebrates, plants, and some invertebrates, especially large ones,are the most appropriate "biodiversity" targets, in the single-species category. Athigher levels of organisation (functional groups, communities), microbes are oftentotally dominant for many ecological processes, but then, the targets should be eitherthose organizational units, or the processes themselves. This is beyond the scope ofthis comment.

Fredrik von Euler

****************************************

Some thoughts on Biodiversity IndicatorsAuthor: Erik SändstormDate: 22/11/99

On Friday, I read a lot of nice stuff, i.e. the previous contributions to this conference.The subject is huge. Maybe a reason for the quality of this discussion is that it hasconcentrated on certain parts of the subject. I will not really expand the discussionbut rather try to elaborate some of the good points already made.

Purpose of the assessmentSeveral contributors have referred to this point. Some of the purposes that we maydistinguish between are: 1. Information to top level decision-makers in society toassist them in allocating adequate resources for biodiversity issues. 2. Information toadministrations at top or medium level to assist them with knowledge on how to usethe allocated resources wisely. 3. Research to improve the understanding of whatbiodiversity really is and how it could be used and preserved. 4. Information to beused for international reporting and exchange of experiences which may help tocreate favourable conditions for the development of 1-3 above.

What do we need to assessIt depends a lot on the purpose of the assessment. I'd like to mention some ideas onthe needs for development. The biodiversity that we find today is the result of naturalconditions and previous use of natural resources. Some of the economicprerequisites for earlier land-use systems have disappeared. Biodiversity that dependon these systems may remain for quite some time but it will eventually disappear tothe extent that action is not taken. Thus it is good to understand current biodiversityin relation to previous, current and future use of natural resources. Biodiversityindicators therefore merit to be understood in the context of sustainable use ofnatural resources. This is the intention within some international processes forinstance the pan-European process on sustainable forest management. A trap butalso an opportunity when discussing indicators is the request that indicators must notinvolve collection of extra data. This relates closely to the threats and merits offigures. It is quite important to use figures with caution and to pay a lot of attention tothe validity of the indicator and to the reliability of the assessment. The availability offigures in a country depends on the institutional set-up. It defines a lot of theopportunities for data collection. Therefore, when considering international co-operation it may be a good idea to think about the need for harmonisation at threelevels. First whether it is possible to harmonise the concepts and whether theconcepts are suitable everywhere. The next step is to think about the opportunities toharmonise indicators. The third step would concern harmonisation of monitoringmethods.

Erik Sändstorm

Page 81: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

81

RE: Choosing target speciesAuthor: Ronald J. BaxterDate: 23/11/99

Greetings to All:

I hope that I am not mis-interpreting, but in reading the comments by von Euler, I amnot sure I am convinced of the "value" argument. The value of an indicator is notnecessarily how humans can benefit from it (although this is certainly a selling pointto the politicians and general public), but instead, it is its value as an indicator of howthe community will react to anthropocentric perturbations. Here in SouthernCalifornia we have seen too many species driven to extinction because they lack"value". I would therefore drop the qualifiers of a species only being an importantindicator if it is of high value, and instead just say that a good indicator is or is notsensitive to human activities.

I would also like to bring up the point of fragmented habitats (metapopulations). Mostof our discussions seem to [at least] imply that we have large, functioning"mainlands" of habitat, whereas in many cases habitats have become small,fragmented, and isolated. How can we measure overall biodiversity in such systemswhen the various microhabitat differences can drive some species (including theindicator) to extirpation in one location, and allow them to persist in another? Ourapproaches so far would allow us to say diversity has decreased in a particular patch,but this tells us little of the whole system's health.

One approach I have been working on is an index of metapopulation speciesdiversity, which would tend to drive us away from the concept of an indicator species.Since sampling protocols often can assess more than a single species (but still caninclude an appropriate indicator) why should we throw away data in favour of apresumed indicator, especially when, in our ignorance of the system, we may choosethe wrong one? I would argue that sampling could be designed to samplecommunities (and/or guilds?) within each subpopulation, and then relate the so-derived biodiversity to the overall metapopulation as a function of the spatially-explicitsub-populations' areas. In this way, as the sub-populations wax & wane, overalldiversity is measured directly, and can be compared from sampling period tosampling period, while at the same time, help us understand the overallmetapopulation spatial dynamics.

Just some thoughts....Regards to all....

Ronald J. BaxterCenter for Natural Lands Management

Page 82: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

82

RE: Choosing target speciesAuthor: Ruud FoppenDate: 24/11/99

Hello,

I agree with Bram Aarts when he states that there is a need for indicators that can beused in, as he mentions, less-than-ideal-states. In my opinion it all comes done todetermining sets of biodiversity indicators that can be used in various landscapetypes. Pristine forests in almost natural landscapes need other biodiversity indicatorsthan heavy human pressurized forest islands in western Europe.

Acknowledging this, I very much would like to support the point of Ronald J.Baxterconcerning the problem of fragmented ecosystems. An alternative for the approachhe has mentioned (which by the way seems sensible to me) is to use indicators onthe species level incorporating the spatial characteristics of a site. At our departmentof landscape ecology we work with a knowledge system that determines the spatialquality of a site for a particular species. Spatial quality (area and degree ofconnectivity) of a site is expressed in the viability status of an indicator species. So,an indicator like that does not tell you whether a species is present, but also whetherpotentially the configuration of the landscape is a guarantee for sustainability. Theindicator species selected for this purpose could be the ones vulnerable to area sizeand fragmentation (e.g. large mammals and birds). It could be very easy to scanlandscapes, e.g. with earth observational data and than assess whether or notlandscapes or nature areas support viable populations and thus to determine apotential for high biodiversity concerning the spatial aspects of a landscape (see thelatest 'state of the environment' report of the European Environmental Agency for anexample). Other biodiversity indicators are needed to tell us something about e.g. themanagement or state of pollution of the area. In many, certainly western Europeanlandscapes, specific human-induced pressures should constitute the basis of theseindicators.

Ruud Foppen

ALTERRA,Green world research,Institute for Forestry and Nature ResearchDepartment of Landscape Ecology,The Netherlands

Page 83: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

83

Biodiversity indicators across space and timeAuthor: Marcelo GandiniDate: 24/11/99

I agree with Ruud Foppen and Bram Aarts, biodiversity indicators must across

perception scales and must take into account this. At different scales (local, regional

and global) and different degrees of intervention, the perception of the biodiversity is

different, according to have been expressed by different contributors. Therefore their

estimate and interpretation is relative to the variability of microhabitat /habitat /region

to which are referring us. In small areas, with high diversity of microhabitats the

biodiversity can increase until certain scale and then to stay constant if the regional

environment is not variable. On the other hand, in agricultural zones and of high

degree of intervention can occur something similar if we have not into account the

spatial variations of the biodiversity. On the other hand, temporal variations are

negligible in some tropical habitats but they are crucial in temperate ones. I guess

this must have some weight in biodiversity estimation. I believe it is necessary to

include and weight it in some way the habitat diversity (in terms of changes in space

and time) and level of antropic managing to provide to define clear conservation

policies at regional level. Such be would insert the need of the fact that biodiversity

will be evaluated as a need at the scale which decissors defined the policies.

Marcelo Gandini

Facultad de Agronomía de Azul,Argentina

Page 84: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

84

Reflections from a scepticAuthor: Josep M. CamarasaDate: 25/11/99

Having read the different opinions and points of view expressed in this conference Ihave felt a little bit uncomfortable, a feeling which may have been provoked by thenotion that I have of ecosystem diversity. From my point of view, diversity meansinformation, and information at its turn is a group of signs ordered in an internallyconsistent intelligible way. This is the reason that explains why, to my mind, the mainmeasures for the diversity of an ecosystem are still the expressions suggested byShannon and Brillouin. The diversity measure as well as measures taken in timeseries help us to estimate the state of an ecosystem.

Certainly, it may be an old-fashioned idea because since 1980, when E.OWilsonintroduced the concept of Biodiversity, and since the Rio Summit in 1992 where a notvery proper definition of Biodiversity was adopted. Nowadays when speaking ofBiodiversity, we refer to a concept which has few points in common with the notion ofdiversity. It was also in 1980 when R. Margalef, in its book The Biosphere betweenThermodinamics and Game, presented the diversity as property which may reflectsome basic rules for the organisation of all the ecosystems. Bearing this idea ofdiversity in mind, we could say that the connection existing between diversity andBiodiversity is comparable to the one existing between the contents of a book and itstable of names.

When we try to find Biodiversity indicators, apart from expressing our frustration dueto our incapacity to complete the inventory of living organisms for any ecosystem, wealso express an urgent need to defend many areas from the voracity of the economicforces ruling the world, and to give them a high enough value (price) so that thedecision-makers who may decide upon the future of those areas do it in a way whichfavours its conservation.

There is certainly no better "marketing" tool left to scientists than Biodiversity to "sell"their product to politicians, while they try in a desperate way that the nature that weare to leave to future generations as a legacy is not further damaged. However, Iconsider it to be a vain attempt, condemned to Pyrrhic successes and great failures. Ithink that the scientist, as a researcher, should devote himself to his research workwith passion and dedication, and as a citizen should participate in all the socialplatforms which are within his scope so as to try to modify the dominant socialvalues, provided his knowledge shows him that those values lead to a catastrophe. Amixture of both things does not favour the research nor the society neither.

If Biodiversity is a table of names, indicators may only be compared to pressheadlines. Nevertheless, we should not deprive of hope since headlines are the onlything that most of the politicians read. For the moment being, it would be enough ifwe recovered the old concept of indicator species, a suggestion which has alreadybeen made in a subtle way in the last contributions posted to the conference,responding to the need of selecting good Biodiversity indicators.

Josep M. CamarasaDepartament de Medi Ambient, Generalitat de Catalunya.

Page 85: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

85

Using of Shannon index for biodiversity assessmentAuthor: Anatoly P. TsarevDate: 29/11/99

In addition to my message on first Electronic Biodiversity Conference EU (1998) Ishall try to turn to objective of this Conference (as I understand it) and consider thepossibility of practical using one of the biodiversity indicators- Shannon index. It wasused for quantitative analyze on population level some stands of Pinus sylvestris inRussian Karelia.

It is known that Shannon index (H) may be calculate on next formula:

H p pi ii

n= −∑

=ln ,

1

where: pi - relative frequencies of investigated trait;ln - natural logarithm.

The standard error is:

sHDn=

,where:

D p p Hi ii

n= −∑

=(ln ) 2 2

1 .

Differences between populations are defined by Students criteria (t):t X X

s s

H H

s sX X H H

= =−

+

+1 2

12

22

1 2

12

22

.

Comparative analyze was made in two population Pinus sylvestris in one type offorest Piceeta myrtillosum on four traits: thickness of branches, type of sexualization,length of crown (% from height) and relative height (h/d1,3). The results for twopopulations were not significant. Shannon indices were frequented for thickness ofbranches from 0,55±0,08 to 0,70±0,13; for type of sexualization from 0,99±0,14 to1,27±0,08; for length of crown from 1,11±0,09 to 1,28±0,11; for relative height from1,37±0,10 to 1,51±0,11.

But it is need to note that Shannon index is changed when we will change the scaleof degree of quantitative traits (table 1).

Table 1: Change of Shannon index (H) by different degree of quantitative traitsdifferentiation by Pinus silvestris)

Consequently the Shannon index may be used by assessment clear different traits(pyramidal or spread shape of crown, early or late open of leafs, colours of organsand so on). But if it need to assess of quantitative traits it is need to use identicalscale of its differentiation.

Another problem is how to combine the of forest trees diversity and itsproductiveness. It is need to try to find the optimal solution.

Anatoly P. TsarevPetrozavodsk State University, Faculty of Forest EngineeringChair of forestry, Professor, Dr. of Agricultural Sc.Lenin pr. 33, 185640 Petrozavodsk,Karelia, Russia.

Page 86: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

86

RE: Using of Shannon index for biodiversity assessmentAuthor: Ronald J. BaxterDate: 30/11/99

Hello All:

Regarding the comments of Tsarev, Shannon's Index is probably the most widelyused diversity index [at least in the U.S.], however, its usefulness would, again,depend upon the precise aspect of biodiversity one wishes to assess since it isweighted by species richness (i.e."S"). Other diversity indices may be better choicesdepending upon one's focus. I am sure you all are already familiar with it, but justin case you are not, I would call your attention to a little book by Anne E. Magurran(Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA) entitled "Ecological Diversityand Its Measurement", which gives a lucid discussion of the various indices, theirstrengths and weaknesses, and working examples of many.

Regards to all,Ronald J. Baxter, Center for Natural Lands Management

****************************************

RE: Reflections from a scepticAuthor: Fredrik von EulerDate: 30/11/99

It is a pleasure that some (J.M. Camarasa in this case) actually define what theymean by diversity or biodiversity. That is the first step toward a productive dialogue,but too infrequently observed.

I do not agree that indices type Shannon or Brillouin are very helpful to quantifybiodiversity. I should qualify that statement: I do not think they are helpful wrt animalcommunities. For a number of reasons, they may be more relevant to vegetationstudies.

Sure, they provide information, but what information? Is this information relevant forthe qualities that are threatened by the ongoing erosion of natural living resources?What is the expected value of the abundance distribution for any defined speciesassemblage? And what kind of abundance? Individuals? Biomass? Something else?(for plants, percent cover may be a relevant abundance measure in many situations).

Despite decades of empirical studies, there is still no credible and general theorylinking the observed distributions to the ecological status of communities.

These measures are also highly correlated with, and constrained by, speciesrichness, which is much easier to quantify, but also suffers from a lack ofinterpretative ecological theory.

Shannon and related indices can be applied to any assemblage of objects, but theydo not provide relevant information about any assemblage, and this is particularlytrue, in my opinion, of animal communities.

Best regards,Fredrik von Euler

Page 87: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

87

About diversity (= complexity?) & biodiversity (= species richness?)Author: Josep M. CamarasaDate: 1/12/99

I'm very glad that my "reflections from a sceptic" have aroused some interest. Iparticularly appreciate the response from Fredrik von Euler whose contribution willallow me to express my views more accurately. First of all I would like to say that myline of thought is the same one of someone who was (and fortunately still is) mymaster in Ecology, Prof. Ramon Margalef. To summarise it in a few words, we couldsay that the estimation of diversity applying Shannon index or Brillouin's expressionto the number of species and the number of individuals for each species in anytaxocenose of an ecosystem would give a measure of the complexity or maturity ofthat ecosystem. Whether this complexity or maturity is in some way or anothercorrelated to the conservation state of such ecosystem is a different issue. A lowdiversity index may often be correlated somehow with disturbed or unstablecommunities, nevertheless high diversity index should not be associated with a highstability, though it generally corresponds to communities which have evolved for along time without disturbances. I admit that this statement may apply better forvegetal communities than to animal ones, even though Margalef got brilliant resultsapplying it to plankton communities.

Admitting that the former conception of diversity while having a great interest forecological theory does not bring relevant information about the conservation state ofa community, what else do Biodiversity indicators contribute for? Do they expresssomething else beyond the species richness? Is this richness significant by itself?

I believe that only after continuous observations, accurate monitoring of variationsand by learning how indicator species react to disturbances we will be able to knowthe answers. The problem is that they will not be the immediate and unquestionableanswers that politicians request to do their decision making. That's just why we areall squeezing our minds.

Josep M. CamarasaDept. de Medi AmbientGeneralitat de Catalunya

Page 88: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

88

Another scepticAuthor: Lajos HajduDate: 25/11/99 (Not sent before due to technical problems)

Biological diversity indicator is a nonsense concept for my ears. Diversity do mean alot of species is it possible to find an indicator among them which lives only in diverseassemblage and would disappear from a lesser diverse one? Let us see an example:a diverse meadow show up a lot of flowers in different colour. It is easy tocomprehend: more colour-dots means higher diversity. Do we dare to postulate thatmost colourful pictures can be taken when we see bright violet dots? I doubt that.There is no indicator colour for colourfulness.

There are endemic or endangered species, worth watching but this is not diversitystudy. If such a rare target species would became extinct, the robust diversitymeasure wouldn't even change.

There are well proven methods to grasp the diversity, all talk about diversityindicators is some opinion manipulation to me.

Who wins on this manipulation? A taxonomist, trying to postulate that his/hertaxonomic group with let's say 5 species is well suited for such fashionable diversitystudies. There is no need to cooperate with others, to learn multivariate statistics, onecan even ignore computers, just re-lable the old taxonomic work and voila, it ismodern ecology. I do not want to diminish the importance of taxonomical knowledge,the ability to key a lot of organisms is the essential basis of mathematical ecology,but pure taxonomy or floristics is not diversity study.

Science-politicians benefit from diversity indicators too, one can spare money when itis not necessary to analyze a large part of the ecosystem, it would be enough to lookat a check- list of a handful "indicators". Yes! we can skip the whole bunch oftaxonomists, anybody can learn those few indicators worth watching, can't he?

Lajos Hajdu PhD, BIOMAD project manager,Inst. Systems Ecology, University of StockholmSVA P.O.Box 7073, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Page 89: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

89

RE: About diversity (= complexity?) and biodiversity (= species richness?)Author: Nicholas BaxDate: 2/12/99

J.M.Camarasa wrote:>Admitting that the former conception of diversity while having a great interest for>ecological theory does not bring relevant information about the conservation state of>a community, what else do Biodiversity indicators contribute for? Do they express>something else beyond the species richness? Is this richness significant by itself?

An interesting recent addition to diversity indices is the paper by Warwick and Clarke(1995). New 'biodiversity' measures reveal a decrease in taxonomic distinctness withincreasing stress. Mar Ecol. Prog. Ser. 129: 301-305.

What they propose is weighting the diversity indices by taxonomic distance. Theyfound that taxonomic distinctness appears to be a more sensitive indicator ofenvironmental perturbation than diversity indices which often remain constant over aperturbation gradient. Suggest new indices come closer to a 'biodiversity' index, thanH'. Suggest that total genetic component of a biome may, within limits, remainconstant but be partitioned differently among the hierarchy of taxonomic unitsaccording to the age of successional stage of the assemblage.

Nicholas Bax

****************************************

Rarity Indices?Author: Julian BaylissDate: 2/12/99

I am especially interested in the recent contributions to the proceedings questioningthe validity and interpretation of diversity indices such as the Shannon index. It wouldappear that there is much disagreement as to the value of such indices asbiodiversity indicators and there role in conservation. Diversity indices take intoconsideration two things: the number of species and the evenness (a measure ofabundance of species). But a high diversity score does not necessarily imply thatrare species are represented in this diversity; i.e. a smaller diversity score couldcontain more rare species than a higher score. Obviously some factor of rarity (ararity index) is required. Does anyone know of such rarity indices? Indeed cananyone provide a satisfactory definition of 'rarity'.

Kind regards,

Julian Bayliss

Page 90: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

90

A question regarding biodiversity monitoring and assessment at large scalesAuthor: Muriel Durand BourlierDate: 2/12/99

I'm a French PhD student (so, excuse my poor English !) looking for internationalcontacts. We work on biodiversity monitoring/assessment at large scales (regional,national or supranational) and on their role in the environment management (How aredata used by policy-makers ? What sort of information do they need ? Are exchangesbetween people who produce scientific data on biodiversity and people who needthem for public policies efficient ? Etc?). To analyse monitoring systems, wedistinguish two dimensions : - a technical one (the nature of the data ; tools used forthe collect and the treatment of the data, etc.) ; - an organisational one : how doesthe system work ? Who are the people involved in the system ? How are theyorganised ? Which are the links with policy-makers and how to improve them ? Etc.

We're trying to elaborate a monitoring system in the region Nord - Pas-de-Calais (inthe North of France) based upon naturalist surveys and knowledge of naturalists(professional as well as non professional). This is why I'd like to establish contactswith people who work at large scales. For instance, anyone who would agree toexplain the methods they use to evaluate the evolutions of biodiversity and to discussabout the use of these data for the nature management and for public decisions, thatwould be most interesting. I would also be pleased if some of you could advise somebooks, studies or references about biodiversity assessment/monitoring at largescales or contacts with people who work on the interface between scientific dataproducers and policy-makers.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Muriel DURAND BOURLIER, Ingenieur du Corps du GREF,Doctorante. Recherche en Gestion des Territoires et de l'Environnement(Research on territories and environment management) -

Natural Heritage Service / National Museum of Natural History57 rue Cuvier - 75 231 PARIS Cedex 05 - France

ENGREF - Environment DepartmentNational School of Rural Ingeneering, Waters and Forests19, avenue du Maine - 75732 PARIS CEDEX 15 - France

Page 91: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

91

RE: Rarity indices?Author: Lajos Hajdu, Uppsala, SwedenDate: 2/12/99

There is a rule: if you increase the sample size there is more likely to find a newindividual of a former rare species, as a new rare taxon. New sampling methodsmake you realize, that you find rare species you never thought could live in theinvestigated area. Rarity is hard to handle, not to talk about the statistical aspects,that is why Shannon index is so great, by giving slightly bigger weight to theevenness component.

Lajos Hajdu PhD, BIOMAD project managerInst. Systems Ecology, University of StockholmSVA P.O.Box 7073, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

****************************************

RE: Rarity indices?Author: Ariel BrunnerDate: 3/12/99

I would be also interested in information about specific rarity indexes and in apractical definition of rarity for conservation and management purposes. We arefinding it very complicated to assign an univocal "rarity class" to the different speciesbecause there are so many different aspects of rarity (local and general abundance,range size, taxonomical uniqueness and so on). A good book dealing with thosemultiple aspects is Kevin Gaston's "rarity".

Best regards,

Ariel Brunner.

Page 92: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

92

Indicator setsAuthor: Allan D. WattDate: 3/12/99

With less than a week to go before the 'non-electronic' conference on indicators inStockholm, it is interesting and perhaps a little worrying that no consensus onindicators is emerging from this electronic conference. This lack of consensus ifprobably why several sceptical voices have been raised in the last few days,culminating in the claim that indicators are nonsense. Whatever the delegates mayfeel, indicators are a necessity. If an alternative method of rapidly monitoringbiodiversity exists, we would all love to hear about it!

The main point of this contribution is to argue that a lack of consensus on whatconstitutes the perfect indicator is hardly surprising. There are several mainpurposes for biodiversity assessment, each explicitly included in the CBD processand, therefore, included in the scope of this conference. But even if we concentrateon one purpose - indicators for the conservation of biodiversity - no consensus hasyet emerged from this conference.

My view is that a consensus will never emerge and there is no point in trying to arguefor a perfect indicator, even for a single purpose. Research has suggested thatperfect indicators do not exist (e.g. Lawton et al. 1998, Watt et al., 1997). Instead, Ifeel we should be working towards 'biodiversity assessment tools', or sets ofindicators, that together will allow us to estimate trends in biodiversity. Thus, forexample, we might consider an indicator based on the focal species approach.However, this approach depends upon a knowledge of the ecology of the chosenfocal species, which is available for the Australian vertebrates that prompted the ideaof focal species, but not for the millions of undescribed invertebrates that are, despitewhat has been said in this conference, threatened with extinction. Nevertheless,focal species indicators (whatever they might be) may well have a place in a set ofindicators.

The idea of indicator sets is not novel. Indicators have been used to monitoreconomics for many years but no economist depends on a single indicator. Similarly,several ecologists have argued for sets of indicators (e.g. Stork 1995, Ferris andHumphrey 1999).

Biodiversity indicator sets may include indicators of large threatened vertebrates butthey must also include indicators to measure other components of biodiversity asBram Aarts have argued. Like Ronald Baxter, I feel uncomfortable with somediscussions of 'value' and, in any case, there is a danger that we underestimate thevalue of microbes and invertebrates - for very good reasons, E.O. Wilson referred tothe latter as the little things that run the world.

References

Ferris, R & Humphrey, J.W. 1999 A review of potential biodiversityindicators for application in British forests. Forestry 72, 313-328

Lawton, J.H., Bignell, D.E, Bolton, B., Bloemers, G.F., Eggleton, P.,

Page 93: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

93

Hammond, P.M., Hodda, M., Holt, R.D., Larsen, T.B., Mawdsley, N.A.,Stork, N.E., Srivastava, D.S. & Watt, A.D. 1998. Biodiversityinventories, indicator taxa and effects of habitat modification intropical forest. Nature 391, 72-76.

Stork, N.E. (1995) Measuring and monitoring arthropod diversity intemperate and tropical forests. Measuring and monitoring biodiversityin temperate and tropical forests (eds. Boyle TJB & Boontawee B), pp.257-270. CIFOR, Bogor.

Watt, A.D., Stork, N.E., Eggleton, P., Srivastava, D.S., Bolton, B.,Larsen, T.B., Brendell, M.J.D., & Bignell, D.E. 1997a. Impact offorest loss and regeneration on insect abundance and diversity. In:Forests and Insects (A.D. Watt, M. Hunter, & N.E. Stork, eds.),pp.273-286, Chapman & Hall, London.

Allan D WattInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology, Banchory Research StationHill of Brathens, Glassel, Banchory AB31 4BYScotland, UK

****************************************

Genetic diversityAuthor: Cesar BlancheDate: 3/12/99

Many of the contributions to the Electronic Conference are devoted to the Taxonomic(=Organismic) or Ecologic diversity. What about genetic diversity indices ?

There are some standard approaches, covering hundreds of organisms and providingus with easy parameters (i.e.: allozyme diversity = mean number of alleles/locus; %polimorphic loci; observed heterozygosity vs. expected heterozygosity), or evensimply, chromosome number (with more deep extension towards karyotype indices).These (and other) are widely used in Conservation Biology and are useful tools todescribe genetic diversity as well as in management, monitoring (short- and long-term) or ex-situ conservation programs (without the economic cost of some DNAanalysis). And, of course, genetic diversity is the true basis for research on food ormedicinal plant production and sustainable use (some authors agree with the ideathat we must conserve genes better than genomes). However, decision-makersusually prefer easy indicators as total number of species or number ofspecies/surface (hot spots).

But, as Araujo wrote, the true problem is that indicators are "goal dependent". And,unfortunately (or not), biodiversity is a multi-level complex system, not easy to bereduced to a single index. At least the three levels (taxonomic, ecologic and genetic)should be considered, and at each level a distinct set of indicators should beadopted.

Cesar BlancheGReB,Facultat de farmacia,Universitat de Barcelona

Page 94: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

94

Indicators and IndicesAuthor: Ronald, J. BaxterDate: 3/12/99

Greetings all:

I hope my earlier comments did not suggest that I supported the use of Shannon'sindex (or any other for that matter). The point I was trying to make was that if youdecide to use such an index, you need to be careful about interpreting the results,because each one is differently weighted.

Regarding the comments on "Rarity Indices", unless you nuke the entire communityand count all the bodies, the ability to discern rare species is always going to be aproblem. As we all know, species richness [usually] increases in a sigmoidal fashionas sampling area increases, until reaching a plateau where increases in samplingarea produce few new species. As such, rare species detection really becomes (asHadju points out) a sampling problem rather than a problem of which index tochoose.

Again it would seem that the focus of one's studies will dictate the approach. If one ismanaging for overall community diversity, sampling should be designed to assess therichness and evenness diversity components (including spatial and temporalconsiderations). If, on the other hand, one's mandate is managing for rare orendangered species, sampling will need to be focused on the requirements of thesespecies. If budgets are tight, this may conceivably be at the expense of overalldiversity assessments. This is not to say that one cannot do both, because samplingfor an endangered species can often result in data on other species at the sametime. My point is that there is probably no single answer to sampling approaches for,and the assessment of, biodiversity. If we are inflexible or dogmatic in ourapproaches, and try to fit a "square peg in a round hole" by coming-up with a singlediversity index, or the unquestioned use of "indicator" or "keystone" species, or theunwillingness or inability to take into consideration spatial components, then we aredestined to failure as land managers. As good scientists, let us keep our minds andour options open.

Best regards to all the participants in the coming new year....

Ronald J. Baxter, Reserve ManagerCenter for Natural Lands ManagementLake Mathews-Estelle Mnt. Reserve13225 Cajalco RoadPerris, CA 92570 USA

Page 95: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

95

Why are diversity indices not useful as indicators?Author: Miguel AraujoDate: 3/12/99

I can see at least three good reasons to drop out diversity indices from our discussionon indicators.

1. The whole reason for using indicators is that we don't have resources nor time tocarry out detailed inventories for most taxa. Therefore any data-hungry measure isuseless.

2. It is not clear what diversity indices tell us in terms of ecosystem functioning orconservation value. They only tell us that in some plot there x number of attributeswith x proportion of abundance. I wouldn't advice anybody to base a land usedecision on the basis of this information.

I think it is important to remind that diversity indices can be seen from two differentperspectives.

Ecologist perspective: They have a relationship with ecosystem stability, complexityand resilience. However attractive this may be, this relationship not universal (e.g.freshwater systems). Furthermore it is not clear that management would alwaysfavour stability, complexity and resilience as the preferred criteria. I can see manyecosystems which are dependent on regular disturbances and are species poor.Finally high diversity for a measured group (e.g. birds) may be inversely related todiversity in other non-measured group (e.g. grasses).

Taxonomist perspective: Diversity is a measure of the amount of evolutionaryinformation in an area or within taxonomic group. The highest the number of speciesand the more different they are from one another, the more evolutionary informationthere is. This is well encapsulated in the Agony of Choice paper by Vane-Wright et al.(1991) - Biol. Conserv. To my mind this is a more useful concept than diversityindices used in community ecology.

This debate is important because it focus our attention to what we are trying tomeasure.

Following a taxonomists perspective indicators are biotic or abiotic attributes that helppredicting where most of biodiversity is. In this context, indicators can be for example:

1. Higher taxa (e.g. family richness to predict species richness)

2. Indicator species (i.e. species which distribution co-varies with that of many othervalued organisms)

3. Habitat indicators (i.e. habitats that relate to the distribution of many valuedorganisms)

Page 96: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

96

4. Environmental diversity (i.e. sets of environmental factors that relate to thedistribution of valued organisms).

The problem with these approaches is that there has been very few attempts to testempirically their predictive power. So the most we can make are best guesses basedon our knowledge of relationships.

From an ecologist's perspective there are other concepts around which might proveto be useful. I would just refer "Naturalness" and "Integrity". These have beendescribed in the literature and may prove to be better choices than diversity indices.

All the best

Miguel AraujoPhD student at the Natural History Museum, London

Foros do QueimadoS.M.Machede7000 EvoraPortugal

****************************************

Further ways helping to assess biodiversityAuthor: Denis CouvetDate: 13/12/99

Rather than to find good but elusive bio-indicators, one might think to find rapid andefficient ways to indeed assess bio-diversity. In this regards, there exist all kind ofnetworks of people who look at nature, usually as amateurs. Many of these peopleare willing to contribute to the assessment of biodiversity, and there are ways forprofessionals to use the information they can contribute. For example, there is atradition for birds to use such networks for the assessment of the state of birdpopulations. A possibility is to generalize the existence of such networks to otherorganisms. That requires for professionals :

-to develop robust methods that can use this information.-to manage a large flow of information coming from diverse sources.

Denis CouvetMuséum National d'Histoire Naturelle CRBPO, 55, Rue Buffon, 75005Paris, France

Page 97: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

97

Response to sceptics of rarity indexAuthor: Jean LodgeDate: 13/12/99

I have to partly agree with the sceptic from Sweden with regard to indices for raritybased on our preliminary analyses of wood inhabiting microascomycete fungi in atropical rain forest. While the species richness and evenness were about the samebetween two adjacent patches of forest, the forest stand that had only slightdisturbance by humans more than 60 years ago had more undescribed species andspecies with restricted distributions, while the area that was moderately disturbedmore than 60 years previously had more 'weedy' species and few rare ones.

The bad news is that this means that finding the truly rare and undescribed speciesrequires an exhaustive sampling effort.

There were only two bits of 'good news' from our study. The first is that the Shannon-Wiener diversity index of trees would tell you where the rare fungi were because theywere correlated, and trees are much easier to sample than microascomycete fungi.

The second bit of 'good news' is that we have adapted some statistical methods forcomparing the species composition of two samples when almost all of the speciesare infrequent, as is often the case in tropical forests or when working with speciosegroups.

D. Jean Lodge, Botanist (mycologist)

Chair of the Mycological Society of America Biodiversity Committeeand Center for Forest Mycology ResearchUSDA Forest Service, Forest Products LaboratoryPO Box 1377 Luquillo, PR 00773-1377

Page 98: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

98

Checklist; announcing the BIOMARE initiativeAuthor: Herman HummelDate: 13/12/99

Dear colleagues,

Reading the contributions to the electronic conference it is, as others also stated,clear that no common opinion on biodiversity can be derived at this moment. Thereare many discussions on the pro's and con's of specific indicators (Shannon index,triplet approach), explanations and clarification of words (assess). To my opinion, thecontributions uncover unmistakably the need for a consistent overview of biodiversitymeasures, and I thus agree with the check-list idea of Scherer-Lorenzen. Biodiversitymeasures may encompass all approaches indicated by the participants of theelectronic conference. What we need is a proper overview of the possible, potentialand available measures (not only indicators, and not only for the most fancy species;for scientists, managers and the public in large). For practical reason, someone willautomatically start to select the measures most suitable for his/her purposes. As withstatistics, there is a suit of measures to select from.

The point is not to select the most easy or most "suitable" without too many reasonsand arguments, as it "sometimes" may seem to happen in using statistics. It is betterthat we develop (at international scale) a list of biodiversity measures with properarguments (goals criteria, sensitivity etc.) from which everybody can choose a (set of)measure depending on the needs and conditions of his/her task (the check-list ofScherer-Lorenzen should thus include also more the arguments to select a specificmeasure). This brings me to Bundy who already indicated at the start that we have tobring together participants to develop the baselines, and the information should bedisseminated efficiently. For the marine sector we launched recently a major project(Concerted Action), called BIOMARE, in order to achieve:

1) a wide overview of the potential and available biodiversity measures in the marineenvironment (indices or indicators, including rapid assessment techniques (sorry forthe "assess-")),

2) a list of potential reference sites for measuring biodiversity in European waters(and testing the agreed biodiversity measures), and

3) a data base and web-site for disseminating the information to students, scientists,managers and the public. (This may also answer the questions of Bourlier).

The project will last 2 years and includes the direct participation of 21 institutes allover Europe. There will be 6 regional meetings and 2 workshops that are open tointerested parties (further info you may obtain from me). We hope that with thisConcerted Action we can fill in the actions posed by Bundy.

With best regards,

Dr. Herman HummelCentre for Estuarine and Coastal EcologyNetherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-CEMO)Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and SciencesKorringaweg 7, 4401 NT YersekeP.O. box 140, 4400 AC Yerseke

Page 99: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

99

Aggregation of indicator data and evaluation of sitesAuthor: Andrea SchwabDate: 13/12/99

I am especially interested in a topic not mentioned in this conference yet, howeverbefore its closing, I very much would like to raise my question about the aggregationand the value of the investigated bioindicators. I' m working on the development of arobust method to assess and evaluate eco-management practices (extensively usedmeadows and wildflower strips) with regard to plant and animal biodiversity. Incontrast to the time-consuming methods using bioindicators as measurablecorrelates or surrogates of biodiversity, this method shall use structural and site-specific habitat parameters. In a first phase, we therefore assessed variousqualitative and quantitative parameters such as parameters of the vegetationarchitecture, the spatial heterogeneity of the vegetation canopy and sitecharacteristics. At the same time, selected bioindicators (Araneae, Heteroptera,vascular plants) were collected in the investigation sites. Now, to my problem: foreach of the investigated sites, we know the number of vascular plants, spiders andheteropteran bugs. To the evaluation of the sites with regard to plant and animaldiversity: Which one of the investigated sites (complete table enclosed as Excel-File)is the most biodiverse ? Is it site A1 or M20 with a total of 102 bioindicator speciescollected ? And which of the two is the best ? A1 because of its more evendistribution and the highest number of specimen (942) collected ? Or M20 because ishas the highest number of heteropteran bugs ?

Number ofspecies

Evenness Shannon Simpson index No.Specimen

Bugs+Spiders+Plants

Bugs Spiders

Plants Bugs Spiders Plants Bugs Spiders Plants Bugs

Spiders

A1 102 39 33 30 0,8004 0,58768 0,77767 0,92742 0,77653 0,884 309 633B3 82 32 26 24 0,6925 0,63875 0,70967 0,85642 0,77179 0,8483

3588 340

E9 82 36 32 14 0,7361 0,67885 0,657 0,88555 0,84206 0,746 329 315G13 85 34 35 16 0,543 0,83508 0,68833 0,74158 0,93027 0,799 583 184K17 94 32 24 38 0,73464 0,55841 0,83933 0,88282 0,73574 0,9326

7399 404

M20 102 41 26 35 0,74254 0,78647 0,75067 0,89806 0,89692 0,87433

526 361

If anyone has also encountered this problem or knows a good book dealing withthose multiple aspects (evaluation, species richness, evenness) I would very muchappreciate a note from you.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Best regards

Andrea SchwabFederal Research Station for AgroecologyReckenholzstr. 191CH-8046 Zürich-Affoltern, Switzerland

Page 100: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

100

Need for Assessing Biological Objects as Indicators of BiodiversityAuthor: Georg Grabherr et alt.Date: 13/12/99

Authors: Georg Grabherr (1), Norbert Sauberer (1), Thorsten Englisch (1&2),Andreas Tribsch (2), Michael Kiehn (2), Harald Pauli (1), Michael Gottfried (1),Thomas Wrbka (1), Harald Niklfeld (2), Peter Schoenswetter (2), Manfred A. Fischer(2), Josef Greimler (2), Rose Samuel (2), Tod F. Stuessy (2)

(1) Institute of Ecology, University of Vienna, Althanstr. 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.(2) Institute of Botany, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.

Hitherto established objects for a core set of biodiversity indicators concentratemainly on environmental features (UNEP, OECD, EEA indicators). As long as most ofthe relationships between environmental and anthropogenic influences andorganisms are not known in detail, we should focus our research onto this field ofrelationships and influences. Following this, biodiversity studies should concentrateon monitoring and measuring biodiversity using plants and animals, their ownobjects.

KNOWLEDGE OF BIODIVERSITY still has to be increased, additional biological data(either statistical samples or area-covering measures) must be provided andcombined for efficient use in assessing biodiversity indicators. While it is obvious thatdata on tropical and subtropical regions in this context are extremely scanty,information on biodiversity in Europe reveals severe gaps. The connection ofmeasurements of biological diversity on all three biotic levels - gene, species, andecosystem level of biodiversity - with environmental indicators (land use, wastegeneration, pollution impact, energy consumptions, climatic and soil factors, etc.) hasto be enhanced and its importance has to be stressed for international, Europeanand national policies. Only the combination of biological data, geographical, climaticand environmental-anthropogenic data can lead to trustworthy development ofbiodiversity indicators.

ECOSYSTEM LEVEL of biodiversity: theoretical models using parameters of geo-environmental diversity have to be improved, the reliability of their basic assumptionshas to be tested at various scales. Methods of gap analysis will allow inclusion ofareas with scarce biological information into decisive processes on European scale. -These questions are partly included in the biodiversity survey of Austria within theresearch focus on cultural landscapes founded by the Austrian Ministry of Science("Kulturlandschaftsforschung"). One of the major goals is to test the hypothesis thatspecies richness of ecologically defined functional groups is correlated. Furtherprojects deal with diversity of Austrian forests and other plant communities and withstudies of alpine summit regions, the latter being efficient indicator for climate changeeffects.

SPECIES LEVEL of biodiversity: Taxonomic knowledge is still incomplete and has tobe combined to overall checklists at World, regional, European and national scale.Natural and human influences on biodiversity have to be distinguished properly. - Inorder to get a fundamental basis of knowledge on plant diversity in Austria and

Page 101: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

101

Central Europe we promote and concentrate on taxonomic investigations within theproject of "Flora of Austria", mapping the distribution of plant species and speciesrichness, and rarity of and threats to higher plant species (Red Lists of Rare andEndangered Plants). The human influence on biodiversity is figured out in our culturallandscape research project by indicators such as fertilizer consumption, roadnetdensity etc.

PHYLOGENETIC DIVERSITY has to be considered as a special topic within speciesdiversity. Focusing on zones with rapidly evolving species is a key for assessing"evolutionary hot spots" and a valuable contribution for interpreting biodiversity.Especially studies of biodiversity on "islands" (geographical, orographical, edaphical)or of entities with fragmented "island" distribution are well suited for a betterunderstanding of the evolution and establishment of different levels of biodiversity. -Several scientific projects in Vienna are dealing with studies of biodiversity onislands (e.g. flora of Juan Fernandez Islands, evolution of angiosperms endemic toTristan da Cunha, phylogenetic studies on Ullung Islands). General aspects ofevolution and phylogeny are treated in studies e.g. within Rutaceae, Meliaceae,Rubiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, and Asteraceae.

GENETIC LEVEL of biodiversity: The analysis of patterns of distribution of geneticcharacters in several taxa has proven in some instances to be a powerful tool fordetecting regions of relatively high genetic diversity. Identifying these areas will, e.g.,be extremely important for conserving alpine environments in the future. Analyses ofthe genetic variation in key taxa and in rare and endangered species is one aim ofour works. These data will help estimate effects of anthropogenic influences ongenetic biodiversity and will lead to measures of viability also for developingconservation strategies. - Assessing genetic diversity is one the main goal sinceseveral years with concentrations on Brassicaceae (Erophila, Biscutella),Caryophyllaceae (Gypsophila, Dianthus), Fagaceae (Quercus), Rubiaceae (Galium),Gentianaceae (Gentianella). Recently started and future projects will deal withinfluences of palaeoclimatic and historical influences on genetic diversity of alpineplant populations seen in the context of biogeography, and in respect to reproductionand habitat colonialization processes under severe ecosystem conditions.

Authors: Georg Grabherr (1), Norbert Sauberer (1), Thorsten Englisch (1&2),Andreas Tribsch (2), Michael Kiehn (2), Harald Pauli (1), Michael Gottfried (1),Thomas Wrbka (1), Harald Niklfeld (2), Peter Schoenswetter (2), Manfred A. Fischer(2), Josef Greimler (2), Rose Samuel (2), Tod F. Stuessy (2)

(1) Institute of Ecology, University of Vienna,Althanstr. 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

(2) Institute of Botany, University of Vienna,Rennweg 14, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.

Page 102: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

102

Workshop and Conference "Biodiversity and dynamics of ecosystems in theNorth Eurasia"Author: Valerii GlazkoDate: 13/12/99

Dear mail list subscribers, here information about workshop and conference ispresented

INFORMATION LETTER 1

Workshop "Biodiversity and dynamics of ecosystems in the North Eurasia:informational technologies and modelling".

Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences is planning to organize theWorkshop "Biodiversity and dynamics of ecosystems in the North Eurasia:informational technologies and modelling". The Workshop will be funded by theNATO Science Program and held at the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok (Russia) fromAugust 21 to August 23, 2000.

Our goal is to bring together experts in both information technologies and biologistand ecologists to discuss the progress, trends and milestones in the field ofapplication of computer approaches and modelling for investigation of biodiversityand dynamics of ecosystems of North Eurasia. This conference expected to be astimulating event to establish new links between computer technologies andfundamental and applied biology and ecology and will initiate a large number ofinternational collaborative projects in the development of databases, computermethods for data analyses, visualization and modelling applied to Environmental &Earth Sciences. Thus, this workshop will create basis to advance the frontiers of thisscientific area.

The Workshop will discuss the following problems:

1.. Origin and evolution of genetic variability: theoretical and computer-assistedmodelling;2.. Databases on plant and animal biodiversity;3.. Human genome diversity: databases and modelling;4.. Forest, soil, permafrost, lake, river, and marsh ecosystems: databases and GIS-technologies; and5.. Dynamics of ecosystems: theoretical and computer-assisted modelling.

The expected number of participants is about 50 scientists. According to the rules ofthe NATO Science Program, 12 participants should be from the Russian Federation;8, from other countries of the former Soviet Union; and 30, from NATO countries. It isplanned to organize Sessions (lectures and posters) and computer demonstrations,and the Closing Round Table Discussion. The languages of the Workshop will beEnglish and Russian. The materials of the Workshop will be published in English. Thefinancial support totally covering all the expenses will be awarded to the keyspeakers. For other participants, a partial covering of expenses will be possible.

Page 103: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

103

We will be grateful for informing us on your wish and possibility to participate in thisWorkshop. In addition, it is desirable to have the title, at list preliminary, of yourpresentation.

Please, pay attention that just after NATO advanced workshop a conference devotedto fundamental biological aspects of Biodiversity and dynamics of ecosystems in theNorth Eurasia will take place (August 23-25, 2000 Akademgorodok, Novosibirsk,Russia). Thus, participants of NATO advanced workshop may take part also in thisconference. The information letter on this conference is enclosed. We are planning toorganize two short follow-up tours (to the Baikal Lake and a beautiful site in the AltaiMountains) after this conference.

Nikolay L. Dobretsov Inna E. Vlasova, PhD

Chairman of the Conference, Head of Biology Sector of Administration

Academician, Prof., of Scientific Research of SB RASVice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences andPresident of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences

For information please contact: Secretariat of the Workshop "Biodiversity anddynamics of ecosystems in the North Eurasia: informational technologies andmodelling", Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia,Phone: +7(3832)333468, Fax: +7(3832)331278E mail: [email protected]

INFORMATION LETTER 2

First international conference “Biodiversity and dynamics of ecosystems in NorthEurasia”

Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences intends to organize the FirstInternational Conference "BIODIVERSITY AND DYNAMICS OF ECOSYSTEMS INNORTH EURASIA" which will be held in Novosibirsk Scientific Center, Russia, fromAugust, 23 to August, 25, 2000. The goal of the Conference is consideration acomplex of fundamental and applied researches dealing with flora and faunabiodiversity, human genome diversity in Eurasia, and the problems related toenvironment and dynamics of ecosystems in North Eurasia. The participation of 200researchers including the scientists from about 20 research institutes from SiberianBranch of the Russian Academy of Science is planned.

Page 104: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

104

Topics of particular interest:

1.. Fundamental problems of species evolution;2.. Unique objects in nature as natural laboratories for the studying of the problems ofbiodiversity and species evolution (e.g., Baikal Lake, Altai Mountains, Vasuganmarshes, etc.);3.. Dynamics of soil, forest, river, lake, and marsh ecosystems of North Eurasia;4.. Biodiversity of flora and fauna in North Eurasia; general and molecular-geneticalmethods of its research;5.. Variability of human genome in North Eurasia with respect to evolutional,populational, and environmental aspects.

It is planned to organize Sessions (Lectures and Posters) and computerdemonstrations, and the Round Table Discussions. The languages of the Workshopwill be English and Russian.

All extended abstracts (with the total volume up to 4 pages) submitted to theConference and accepted by Organizing Committee will be published. TheProceedings of the Conference will be issued in Russian and English languages.Summarizing the Conference, a series of reviewed papers will be published in specialissues of several international editions. International Program Committee willprepare for publication a book "Biodiversity and ecosystems in Eurasia" that will bepublished in Russian and English.

In parallel to the Conference, an International School (or a Seminar) of YoungScientists "Biodiversity and ecosystems of Eurasia" will be held. The number ofparticipants is about 25-30 scientists (among them about 50% are foreign scientists)

Post-Conference travel tours and field excursions: Altai Mountains, Lake Baikal.

Nikolay L. Dobretsov Inna E. Vlasova, PhDChairman of the Conference, Head of BiologySector of AdministrationAcademician, Prof., of Scientific Research of SB RASVice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences andPresident of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences

For information please contact: Secretariat of the First International Conference"BIODIVERSITY AND DYNAMICS OF ECOSYSTEMS IN NORTH EURASIA"

Institute of Cytology and Genetics,Novosibirsk 630090, Russia,Phone: +7(3832)333468, Fax: +7(3832)331278E mail: [email protected]

Page 105: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

105

RE: Further ways helping to assess biodiversityAuthor: John FellowesDate: 14/12/99

I agree with Denis Couvet that the most should be made out of amateur knowledge ofbiodiversity. This is, however, less helpful in the tropics, where there are often veryfew amateur naturalists per species or per square kilometre. Also, it would bedangerous to rely too much on volunteers, if this provides an excuse for countrieswho are signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity to shirk their legalobligation to invest in biodiversity studies!

It seems that the main common element of this kind of information is simple speciesdistribution records - often there is an inadequate sampling basis for quantitativemeasures. These simple records should not be ignored, however, as they arecertainly better than nothing. One approach we are using in South China is to look atthe extent to which a given species depends on a given site, based on currentknowledge; for any taxonomic group, this can give a total "dependence rating" for asite. For example, a site scoring 400% for ants might have 4 unique ant species, orthe equivalent (e.g. 8 half-unique species). Since this corresponds directly with moresubjective views of a site's importance, it may be worth including in a suite ofindicators, at least in the case of a preliminary analysis before more in-depth studiescan be undertaken.

John FellowesKadoorie Farm & Botanic GardenLam Kam Road, Tai Po,New TerritoriesHong Kong, China

Page 106: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

106

Biodiversity, definitions, indicators, values, and moreAuthor: Fredrik von EulerDate: 14/12/99

There may be a lack of consensus among the contributors to this e-conference, andthe diversity of opinions is somewhat bewildering. However, I also see someemergent properties at the "community level" (and it is neither the number ofopinions, nor the word-count weighted number of opinions!).

1. Definitions

Most people seem to believe that "biodiversity" will never be more than an umbrellafor the total range of life expressions, and cannot be measured per se. Since all life-forms have a common ancestor, and have diversified through evolution, I believe thatbiodiversity per se can be measured. But alas, I agree that the word has become sopolitical and popular that there will probably never be a consensus about thedefinition of biodiversity.

What I cannot accept is the idea that "indicators" be developed for something that isnot defined. Since almost everybody agrees that biodiversity per se has noOPERATIONAL definition, a "biodiversity indicator" is theoretically and practicallyimpossible. So, we have to be contented with indicators for "facets" (or sub-sets, orcomponents, etc) of biodiversity, facets that can be defined unambiguously.

Biodiversity has an unlimited number of facets, but all facets are not equally relevantfor the purpose of conserving biodiversity. Facets are organized hierarchically, forexample a local assemblage of species (community) is a higher-level facet, andspecies are lower-level facets, relatively speaking. If we focus on measuring lower-level facets, it will be easier to define those facets, but the number of lower-levelfacets forces us to priorize. Which among millions of lower-level facets (and not justspecies) are most worthy of our attention? Clearly, we can only monitor a fewadequately. And even if we could adequately monitor all species, which species aremost worthy of conservation? Clearly, the present size of the human populationMUST significantly increase the extinction rates, at least of larger species.

If we focus on higher-level facets, we may be able to bring the number down so thatmuch more of biodiversity is monitored adequately in time and space. But theproblem then is to define, and select, those higher-level facets. This is an area wherealmost everything remains to be done, but I think we have to bite the bullet.

2. Indicators

The whole and only reason for measuring (assessing) indicators of some target (afacet of biodiversity), instead of directly measuring (assessing) that target, is higherefficiency. Therefore, in order to claim that conservation of the target (the goal, inother words) is benefiting from the use of indicators, one needs to show that the lossof precision and accuracy (almost by definition, no indicator is perfect) is outweighedby gain in time and money. Because biodiversity targets are moving targets, in time

Page 107: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

107

and space, so indicators will need recurrent calibration. If measuring the indicator isless efficient than measuring the target, it should be discontinued. Also, if a gain inefficiency cannot be convincingly shown (because the precision and accuracy of theindicator cannot be established), then that "indicator" is not helping the conservationof biodiversity.

3. Value and conservation priority

I do not feel comfortable in assigning "value" to different species and otherbiodiversity facets, but the fact is that conscious priorities have to be made, andthose priorities are based on a "value". In the absence of an open and formal valuesystem, priorities will still be made, but based on hidden value systems which arebeyond critical examination.

4. The evolutionary challenge

There seems to be much confusion about the terms "taxonomic" and "genetic" in thecontext of biodiversity. All living things have a genome, so all living things are more orless genetically diverse: cells in an organ, organs within an individual, individuals in apopulation, populations within a species, species within genera, and so on, back tothe root of all life. The basic objective of a taxonomy is to estimate this evolutionarystructure at some level of divergence, usually at and above the species level. Sotaxonomic diversity is basically genetic diversity. The current "species obsession" isin my opinion a big obstacle to the conservation of biodiversity, because species indifferent phyla do not on average represent the same amount of evolutionary history.In birds, the average species has been reproductively isolated from its closestrelative for more than one million years. I assume that arthropod species tend to bemuch closer related in terms of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if microbes speciatein a matter of months (I suspect many conference contributors know more aboutthese things). My point is that "species" is not an equivalent evolutionary unit acrossphyla and classes. Maybe we should count "families" of microbes, "genera" ofinsects, and "species" of birds?

Finally, I believe that the "taxonomic distinctness" index mentioned earlier byNicholas Bax, meets most "biodiversity tool" requirements better then availablealternatives. Other than the reference mentioned, Warwick & Clarke have publishedat least 3 more papers: two in J. Appl. Ecol. 35 (1998), and one in Mar. Ecol. Prog.Ser. 184, 21-29 (1999). I have applied the same philosophy to bird communities atthe landscape scale, in Europe and North America (For. Ecol. Manage. 115, 221-229(1999)).

Best regards,

Fredrik von Euler

Page 108: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

108

International day for Biological DiversityAuthor: United nations - Nations UniesDate: 29/12/99

MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FORBIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY - 29 December 1999

The Convention on Biological Diversity, which entered into force on this day six yearsago, is the main instrument that the international community has given itself withwhich to preserve the fragile web of life on our one and only earth. There are now176 parties to the Convention which has three main objectives: the conservation ofbiological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitablesharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. These threeareas are interdependent if the Convention is to be successful, progress in each isessential. Technological advances have made it possible to use the world's geneticresources in new ways, with many benefits for human beings. Naturally, peopleexpect that these benefits will be shared by humanity as a whole. An expert bodyestablished by the Convention to address this question met for the first time in CostaRica this past October. The recommendations formulated there will be submitted tothe fifth meeting of the Conference of Parties (Nairobi, May 2000), which is expectedto adopt a programme of work in this area, I am encouraged by this progress and Iinvite all Governments relevant international organizations and the private sector toapproach this crucial work with an open mind. Negotiations on a protocol on biosafetyand regulations for the transboundary movement of living modified organisms havealso reached a crucial stage. Next month, in Montreal, an extraordinary meeting ofthe Conference of Parties will resume with a view to finalizing the protocol. Successin these negotiations would send a strong and timely signal to the internationalcommunity that environmental concerns can be satisfied without creating newobstacles to free trade, I urge all concerned to work constructively to ensure thesuccessful outcome of these negotiations. Clearly, many nations are makingcommendable efforts to adhere to the Convention. Still, the threats to species and toecosystems remain ominous and species extinction caused by human activitiescontinue at an alarming rate. On this last Biodiversity Day of the 20th century, let usresolve to make the next century a harmonious one: between economy andenvironment, between consumption and conservation, between present needs andthose of the future. And let us keep constantly in mind that preservation of theplanet's biological diversity is a common concern of all humankind and an essentialfeature of the transition to sustainable development.

UNITED NATIONS - NATIONS UNIESTHE SECRETARY GENERAL

Page 109: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

109

Biological diversity at species level and its endangerment as a criterion andindication for the monitoring of sustainable forest management - Acontribution to the discussion of the "Helsinki process"Author: Herman EllenbergDate: 14/1/00

1. INTRODUCTION & QUESTIONS

The resolutions H1 and H2 of the 1993 Helsinki Ministerial Conference on theProtection of Forests in Europe required the signatory states to furnish evidence ofsustainability in their forest management. In the case of the H2-resolution six criteriaand 27 indicators were adopted in Geneva, 1994, and taken over also by the LisbonConference in 1998, as politically binding. The European countries thus committedthemselves to proving that the "biological diversity" of forest areas undermanagement within their frontiers in spite of interferences for use is at least notdecreasing. The share of "endangered" (Red Data Book) species in the total numberof existing species (of forests) is taken as an indicator. A monitoring - with a timeframe of decades - would, therefore, merely have to relate species numbers fromcurrent lists to each other.

At a glance this approach seems ingeniously simple. This article shows the approachto be too simple, i.e. for definitory, biological and statistical reasons. Before theoutlined approach to monitoring can take effect, the following questions have to beresolved and an international consensus worked out on their replies:

a) What is a species? At which taxonomic level should we count?

b) What is a "forest" - Which and how may species are forest species?

c) Which share of these species is deemed "endangered"? Do the red data booksfind acceptance?

d) Do the expected minor differences in the levels of threat in the course of long-termtrends bear statistical examination?

The relatively well-known vascular plant species in Germany- also in their ecologicalbehaviour (ELLENBERG sen. 1991) - constitute the basis of this discussion. The1988 Species and Red Data Book of vascular plants in Germany forms the basis forthe count (KORNECK and SUKOPP, 1988). It is more conservative in thedifferentiation into microspecies (see below) and is part of a longer tradition than thelatest list for Germany (KORNECK, SCHNITTLER, VOLLMER, 1996) in the 1991borders with respect to the criteria classifying individual species into specific levels ofdanger (see below). Moreover, indicator values and classifications inphytosociological systems exist for virtually all species listed in 1988. Falling back onthe 1988 bases constitutes no drawback for the questions to be answered.

Page 110: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

110

2. DISCUSSION OF THE QUESTIONS RAISED - AN ATTEMPT TO ANSWERTHEM

a) Counting species - but how? What is a species?

The species is the basic unit of biological systematics. It can be defined as "... agroup of individuals (populations) distinguishing themselves from other correspondinggroups in key features, which are genetically constant, - and retaining thesedifferences also in the long term - as they are only indefinitely reproducibleamong each other" (MEYER 1990).

At which taxonomic level is a distinction made?

Many species in the eyes of specialists are "aggregates", which emerge by poolingsubunits ("microspecies") to a single, broader species. This includes, in particular,e.g. taxon groups, which are currently undergoing an intensive evolution, and whichhave not yet developed effective barriers to crossing (e.g. some species of thegenus Rosa or Salix). In the case of quite a few taxons, ovules may develop intogerminable seeds without fertilization (apomixis). Any occurring mutation is thuspassed on unchanged. Both cause a strong dispersal, crossing, and cross-linking offeatures with the result that many individuals cannot clearly be assigned to one of thevarious microspecies. Should blackberries (Rubus fruticosus agg.), for example, rankas "a species" or should they be broken down into more than 200 microspecies inGermany like WEBER (1992) does?

In pragmatic terms only a few specialists could do the latter anyway - and theecological and phytosociological behaviour of these microspecies are today onlyroughly understood. Thus, the density and quality of information on the occurrenceand mode of life usually vary from those for the other vascular plant species.

By counting "microspecies" the number of vascular plant species in WesternGermany rises from around 2,700 or less to around 3,300 or more (Rubus fructicosusis only one extreme case among many others). Just recently appeared a newStandard List of vascular plant species for Germany counting ca. 4.200 "species" ofdifferent taxonomic levels (WISSKIRCHEN and HAEUPLER 1998). A consensus onthe mode of counting must be worked out nationally and internationally. Otherwisethe "100-percent mark" for the planned monitoring would fluctuate by much morethan ten percent. For example: most Eastern European taxonomists - and thereforealso ecologists - use to distinguish more "species" as compared to the usualapproach of German ones.

b) What are species "of forests"?

What is a "forest"? The (German) Federal Forest Law definition of "forest" - e.g. forthe Federal Forest Inventory (FFI) - is only of little use in this context: "Any areacovered with forest plants, wood yards, free space, covered heaths ...included..." isdefined as a "forest". From an ecological perspective (ECOL) forests are plant standsstructurally shaped by trees for the most part with a typical forest-internal climate andwith a functional coherence in a successional structure. But in this context, too,definitory limits have to be set, e.g. for the degree of coverage of the tree canopy,

Page 111: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

111

which should not fall short, and the maximum height which should be reached atleast. As appropriate, we should distinguish between types of timber to differentiatebetween "forests" and "shrubs". There are likely to be other questions still which needto be settled in a binding way so that comparable classifications and counts can bemade at an international level.

What species are "forests species". Or to put it precisely: How many species can(also) live in forests? are typical of forests? rely on forests for growth andpropagation? At a rough estimate I would expect the following relations:

Table 1: Relations of vascular plant species numbers according to definitions

Forest definition: FFI

How many species can live in forests? ManyHow many species are typical of forests? Far lessHow many species rely on forests? Even less

Forest definition: ECOL

How many species can live in forests? LessHow many species are typical of forests? LessHow many species rely on forests? Slighlty less

... and try to count the species typical of forests in Germany in an ecologicalunderstanding of forests. The First Expert Level Follow-up Meeting (Geneva, 24thJune 1994) recommends the lists of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) of theCouncil of Europe or of the EU Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive as reference lists for"endangered s pecies". These international lists only mention relatively few speciesalso occurring in Germany. This alone highlights the endangerment situationof"German" plant species.Which species are "forest species"?

The species of the Red Data Book for West Germany (KORNECK and SUKOPP,1988) were therefore used for the counting effort. It has been designed as a standardlist and also contains the species, which are not deemed endangered. Thecategorisation of species to "forests" in my count was not based as there on 24habitat types where the plants could have "main" or "secondary" incidence, but onthe basis of a list of "ecological indicator values" for virtually all species enumeratedby KORNECK and SUKOPP (1988) as they have been compiled by ELLENBERGsen. (1991). The fact that KORNECK and SUKOPP categorised several "forest-species" under headings such as (forested) bogs or tall-herb stands - instead of floraof clearcuts directly related to forests - speaks in favour of this. On the other handELLENBERG sen. assigned the plant species according to their sociologicalbehaviour merely to eight categories. "Forest-species" thus directly include thosespecies classified under "near-forest perennial plant and shrubland" (sociologicalclass 6) as well as "coniferous forests and related heaths" (soc. 7) and "deciduousforests and related shrubland" (soc. 8). Apart from these about 500 "characteristicindicator species of forests" there are, in addition, around 100 "forest-species" (Tab.2) in Germany with a sociologically "uncertain" or too "broad" behaviour so thatthey cannot clearly be classified into a specific sociological class - among which

Page 112: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

112

some typical "forest-species" such as fir (Abies alba), wind-flower (Anemonenemorosa) or lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina). The shade tolerance of thesesociologically indifferent species was assessed among other species experts. - Theenumeration of these altogether some what more than. 600 vascular plant species as"typical" for forests in Germany is not a "final" result. This statement, too, underlinesthe essence of this article. - The number of vascular plant species that can be foundin the FFI-defined "forests" in Germany may - on the other hand - approach a figureof about 2000, and the number of species to be counted under the third above-mentioned category may be less than one hundred - just to finalize the point.

c) Which percentage of these species is deemed endangered?

Red Data Books result from expert opinions, along the lines of accepted criteria - ofmany regional and supra-regional species experts. The best available knowledge atthe time of observation about the incidence, distribution, frequency - and temporal aswell as spatial trends in these parameters influences the assessment of the status ofindividual species in the reference area. A continuity in acceptance, understandingand application of the classification criteria is instrumental in the monitoring with alarge temporal perspective.

The German Red Data Books of the Eighties differentiate or define whether species(in the reference area) are extinct or no longer to be found ("O"), threatened withextinction ("1"), critically endangered ("2"), endangered ("3"), or potentiallyendangered ("4"). The other species are not regarded as endangered. Theseassessments refer to politically delimited (competence) areas, but not to thedistribution area of the assessed species. - A separate discussion would be due onthe causes of threat in individual cases (e.g. "proximate" contra "ultimate causes").The Species and Red Data Book of KORNECK and SUKOPP (1988) was used forthe counting presented here, because it still relied on customary criteria for theassessment and contained less of the microspecies, which are difficult to assess, ascompared to the Red Data Book of KORNECK et al., 1996, where newly defined riskclasses applied, more in line with international criteria - that had been more preciselydefined in the early 90s. The latter had a key effect on the present category"potentially endangered" and entailed that a direct comparison with results of the1988 Red Data Book is no longer possible - not regarded that the reference area wasenlarged to the now reunified Germany.The following result of counting ensues onthe outlined basis (Table 2):

Table 2: Number of species and risk levels of vascular plant species typical forforests in West Germany

Sociological class Species number of which endangered 0-3Deciduous forest (8) 299 47Coniferous forest (7) 63 17Near-forest plant stands (6) 151 27"Characteristic species" 513 91indifferent, shade-resistant (L £ 6) 69 10indifferent, requiring light (L ³ 7) 38 4"indifferent" 107 14"forest-species" 620 105

Page 113: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

113

Sociological class Risk level %Deciduous forest (8) 15.7Coniferous forest (7) 27.0near-forest plant stands (6) 17.9"Characteristic species" 17.7indifferent, shade-resistant (L £ 6) 14.3indifferent, requiring light (L ³ 7) 10.5"indifferent" 12.9"forest-species" 16.9

Around 620 of the 2700 vascular plant species in West Germany are covered by theterm "forest species" as defined: those species "typically" occurring in forests, ofwhich in 1988, 105 species were deemed endangered (risk classes "0" to "3" seeabove). Another 27 species were classified as "potentially endangered". - Thusaround 17% or one sixth of these species were regarded as "endangered" orseverely threatened. The forest species, therefore, appeared to be far lessendangered than the total of the vascular plant species in Germany of which aroundone third is included in the Red Data Book.

d) Minor differences in long-term trends of the "risk levels"

If there is no change in the assessment categories to classify the species, large shifts(several per cent) in the risk levels (= number of Red Data Book species in percent ofthe total number of assessed species) are not to be expected in the foreseeablefuture. Minor differences, however, are generally hard to secure statistically and thiscertainly does not apply to physics alone.

Red data books also provide information on trends going far back in time. Frequently,such trends can only retrospectively be sufficiently distinguished from "normalfluctuations". This makes the flow of information cumbersome. If the interactingsystems which would put species at risk should (could) be interfered with, moretopical, up to date information would seem desirable.

Also for such formal and tactical reasons, the biomonitoring approach of the "Helsinkiprocess" appears hardly suitable to assess "sustainability" of forest management forlarger areas.

3. UPSHOT

In a situation where

- by recognising microspecies or pooling of taxa to aggregates the total number ofvascular plant species can be changed considerably (relativity of the 100-percent mark),

- by classifying plant species and plant information into "forests" the number of"forest species" can also be greatly influenced (relativity of the 100-percentmark),

Page 114: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

114

- by classifying species into the Red Data Books and by defining the riskcategories a consensus must be reached on the percentage of endangeredspecies by discussing the situation of individual species respectively. In doingso it must be expected that such classifications are modified in the course oftime not only due to variations in "natural" relations (relativity of the X-per centmark),. one is aware of the fact that the selected excerpt "total" from forestbiodiversity - here "vascular plant species" - is only one among many otherpossible excerpts, and that their analysis would haveled to other "overall risk levels",*

many efforts of co-ordination and definition - national and international -have to bemade until the risk percentages set out in the catalogue of criteria of the Helsinkiprocess can be put to sound use.

The monitoring process intended in the Helsinki process bank on the fact thatfavourable and less favourable trends can be discerned and substantiated in thecourse of the years on the basis of changes in risk percentages with a view tosustainable forest management.

"Differences", i.e. minor ones, are in any case particularly error-prone in the contextof error discussions. They can only be assessed retrospectively in the suggestedapproach and moreover only with a considerable delay. This hampers anyconceivable interference or counteraction in advance.

With the approach to biomonitoring of sustainability in forest management at statelevel as suggested in the Helsinki process, nature conservation runs the risk ofbecoming lost in discussions on details in the classification and assessment ofspecies. Therefore and for the reasons outlined above the flank cover expected bythe user side in the international political process will only be provided at bestinadequate.

4. RECOMMENDATIONS

Comparisons between situations, i.e. the assessment of temporal trends, arenecessary, however. They are required in the political process and take place - alsowithout any help from species and nature conservation experts. In the worst casescenario the criterion "biodiversity" would play a lesser role in considerations anddecisions. The expectations the political side has of species experts/ecologists havenever been as high and concrete as today. We are required to introduce the keywordof biodiversity constructively and with concrete results into the ongoing discussionson the monitoring of "sustainability" in the management of forest ecosystems - notonly in Germany and Europe, but also in tropical forests, for example, with theirimmense species numbers. This calls for discussion and consensus-building- but also for an impartial, self-confident and self-critical presentation of theoutcome in a broader context.

In this respect, I consider the above-mentioned scepticism-, consensus-,definition and co-ordination efforts to be necessary in order to fix common

Page 115: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

115

views among, inter alia, geobotanists and foresters, at national and internationallevels on at least the following questions.

- Which species groups are selected for closer observation?- At which level is a taxonomic differentiation made?- Which species are deemed "forest species"?- For which species is forestry

responsible?- Which neophytes (neozoas) are regarded as indigenous?- Is there a consensus on the classification into the Red Data Books?

In parallel and with great concentration a relatively small "manageable target speciesgroup" (approx. 30 to 50 species), whose well-being as populations can be definedas an indicator of sustainable management, should be selected by consensus. Theiroccurrence and easily discernible conduct may qualify these species as bioindicatorsfor practical requirements on a large-scale. A characteristic relation to habitatfeatures of forests, which are deemed essential, is one of the key demands in theselection of such species. Using field biological methods on them, the causalconnections between population and environmental parameters can be sought.Information, which is substantial and chronologically consistent, would then beavailable for a controlling interference - where deemed necessary. It would be ideal ifthe user (here: forest side) could present a range of species selected by consensus,for whose well-being in sustainable management those foresters feel responsible.

5. SUMMARY

Biological Diversity on species level - and it's threat as a criterion and indication for amonitoring of sustainable development in forestry. A contribution to discussions onthe "Helsinki-Process". - Hermann ELLENBERG, Federal Research Centre forForestry and Forest Products, Leuschnerstr. 91, D-21031 Hamburg, Germany.

The 2nd Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe in Helsinki(1993) decided to monitor sustainable development of forestry in the signatory stateson the basis of criteria and indicators. In Geneva, 1994, six criteria and twenty-sevenindicators were defined and adopted for this monitoring. Based on the "Helsinki-Process" these have become politically binding. Conservation, protection andadequate improvement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems should in thisapproach be monitored as (long time) trends of the percentage of threatened species(Red data Lists) as related to the total of occurring forest species in the country.Based on the rather well-known vascular plant species in Germany, this article showsthis approach to be premature due to definitory biological and statistical reasons.Definitions and consensus between "forestry" and "conservation" would have to bedefined and worked out at many levels and on many topics. From this point of viewthe "Helsinki-approach" is judged to be structurally and conventionally cumbersomeand mistake-prone. A more constructive approach could become the establishmentof a consensus between forestry and nature conservation on a list of selected"target species" (ca. 30 to 50) whose well-being would be the commitment offorestry in a self-binding decision.

Page 116: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

116

Literature cited

ELLENBERG, H. sen., 1991: Zeigerwerte der Gefäßpflanzen (ohne Rubus)".In: ELLENBERG, H. sen., H.E. WEBER, R. DÜLL, V. WIRTH, W. WEBER,

D. PAULISSEN (1992): Zeigerwerte der Gefäßpflanzen in Mitteleuropa.Scripta Geobotanica XVIII, Göttingen, S. 9-166.

KORNECK, D., M. SCHNITTLER, I. VOLLMER (1996): Rote Liste derFarn- und Blütenpflanzen (Pteridophyta et Spermatophyta) Deutschlands.Schriftenreihe für Vegetationskunde 28, 21-187

KORNECK, D., H. SUKOPP (1988): Rote Liste der in der BundesrepublikDeutschland ausgestorbenen, verschollenen und gefährdeten Farn- undBlütenpflanzen und ihre Auswertung für den Arten- und Biotopschutz.Schriftenreihe für Vegetationskunde 19: 210 S.

LOISKEKOSKI, M., P. HALKO, P. PATOSAARI (1994): Sound Forestry -Sustainable Development. European List of Criteria and Most SuitableQuantitative Indicators. Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forestsin Europe, in Helsinki. Publisher: Maaja metsätalousministeriö. Helsinki. 20 S.

MEYER, F.H. (1990): Gehölzflora: ein Buch zum Bestimmen der inMitteleuropa wild wachsenden und angepflanzten Bäume und Sträucher(Jost FITSCHEN, 9. Aufl.). - Heidelberg, Wiesbaden: Quelle u. Meyer.

SCHNEIDER, Th. (1993): Was ist Sustainable Development of Forests?- Allg. Forst Zeitschrift, München, 23, 1220-1223.

SCHNEIDER, Th. (1995): Kriterien und Indikatoren für nachhaltigeBewirtschaftung der Wälder. - Allg. Forst Zeitschrift, München, 4, 184-187.

WEBER, H.E.( 1991): Zeigerwerte der Rubus-Arten. In: ELLENBERG,H. sen., H.E. WEBER, R. DÜLL, V. WIRTH, W. WERNER,

D. PAULISSEN (1991): Zeigerwerte von Pflanzen in Mitteleuropa.Scripta Geobotanica XVIII, Göttingen. 167-174).

WISSKIRCHEN, R., H. HAEUPLER (1998): Standardliste der Farn- undBlütenpflanzen Deutschlands. Mit Chromosomenatlas von F. ALBERS.Hrsg.: Bundesamt für Naturschutz - Verlag E. Ulmer, Stuttgart. 765 S.

Incidentally, a reassessment of the 1996 Red Data Book species based on the oldcriteria with today's knowledge would be worth the effort. Only on this basis we canfollow the results of the new Red Data Book (1996). This also applied to thedevelopment of the situation in the German Democratic Republic to the situation wehave today in the new Laender.

Private Lecturer Dr. Hermann EllenbergFederal Research Centre for Forestryand Forest ProductsInstitute for World ForestryLeuschnerstr. 9121031 Hamburg, Germanye-mail: [email protected]

Page 117: COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS TO ASSESS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ...homepage.univie.ac.at/thorsten.englisch/pdf/... · Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the

Cost-effective indicators to assess biological diversity within the framework of the CBD

117


Recommended