This paper presents a trial of a species population trend indicator for evaluating progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target in Europe, using existing data. The indicator integrates trends on different species (groups), and can be aggregated across habitats and countries. Thus, the indicator can deliver both headline messages for high-level decision-making and detailed information for in-depth analysis, using data from different sources, collected with different methods.
International non-governmental organizations mobilized data on over 2800 historical trends in national populations of birds, butterflies and mammals, for a total of 273 species. These were combined by habitat and biogeographical region to generate a pilot pan-European scale indicator. The trial indicator suggests a decline of species populations in nearly all habitats, the largest being in farmland, where species populations declined by an average of 23% between 1970 and 2000.
The indicator is potentially useful for monitoring progress towards 2010 biodiversity targets, but constraints include: the limited sensitivity of the historical data, which leads to conservative estimates of species decline; a potential danger of ambiguity because increases in opportunistic species can mask the loss of other species; and failure to account for pre-1970 population declines. We recommend mobilizing additional existing data, particularly for plants and fishes, and elaborating further the criteria for compiling representative sets of species. For a frequent, reliable update of the indicator, sound, sensitive and harmonized biodiversity monitoring programmes are needed in all pan-European countries.
One contribution of 19 to a Discussion Meeting Issue `Beyond extinction rates: monitoring wild nature for the 2010 target'.
- biodiversity action plan
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- European Bird Census Council
- European Environment Agency
- European Nature Information System
- non-governmental organizations
- pan-European common birds monitoring scheme
- Species of European Conservation Concern
- © 2005 The Royal Society