The continuing loss of biodiversity – made up of genes, species and ecosystems – is a matter of growing concern in Europe. Yet measuring the extent of the loss and the threat it poses is a huge challenge.
In recent years the Streamlining European
Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI) process coordinated by the European Environment
Agency (EEA) has developed a set of indicators to measure progress against
targets to halt biodiversity loss. The EEA has now reviewed the successful
process which created the indicators in a new report.
The report, 'Streamlining
European biodiversity indicators 2020: Building a future on lessons learnt from
the SEBI 2010 process' summarises achievements to date and is intended to
help form the next stage of improving indicators for new biodiversity targets
The SEBI process started in 2005 as a partnership
with a pan-European dimension. Almost 150 experts helped to build a set of 26
indicators which show among other things genetic diversity of domesticated
animals, trends in species populations and the extent of selected ecosystems
and habitats, including protected areas. Other indicators look at threats to
biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources, funding to protect
biodiversity and public awareness of biodiversity issues.
The success of the SEBI initiative was largely due
to the comprehensive way it brought together existing data and expertise from
across Europe, developing a rigorous process for identifying indicators which
are most relevant for policy. Moreover, the process inspired development
of national biodiversity indicator sets in several European countries and other
regions of the world.
The report argues that the SEBI process is an
excellent template for further improvements to biodiversity indicators,
allowing us to gain a more detailed and complex understanding of how nature is
affected by our heavy footprint. It is only with enhanced information that we
can properly direct policy and raise awareness, in order to halt the loss of
biodiversity and restore the ecosystems that sustain us.
23 September, 2012.