Monitoring and Indicators
BirdLife data on species, sites and habitats are being used to set benchmarks and base-lines, so as to monitor the state of the world's birds and other biodiversity, and to indicate our progress towards a more sustainable world.
How to measure real progress in conservation?
Indicators are useful tools for measuring changes over time, and can provide valuable insights into important issues. But what you measure and how you measure it expresses your priorities.
BirdLife International is interested in indicators for biodiversity conservation, indicators which track:
- The changing status of biodiversity (the slide towards endangerment of some ecosystems, habitats, species, populations, genes – as well as the positive trends – over time and space)
- The actual and potential pressures on biodiversity (the dynamic processes that cause negative trends, especially those caused by human agency – e.g. habitat destruction and degradation, pollution, climate change, introduced species, desertification)
- The success or otherwise of our human responses to such threats (the processes that drive positive trends in biodiversity conservation, such as the formation and development of NGOs and the implementation of public campaigns, policies, programmes, laws, conventions, action plans and management plans).
Keeping track of a changing world
By monitoring indicators over time and space, 'norms' or baselines can be established, from which positive or negative trends can be distinguished and quantified, thus allowing the BirdLife Partnership to measure changes in biodiversity status, to track and respond to pressures on biodiversity, and to assess the effectiveness of responses aimed at maintaining and restoring biodiversity.
BirdLife's approach to using birds as indicators
Are we on track to achieve the target of reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010? Birds can make a major contribution to a global monitoring scheme because of the wealth of information available and because they are very useful indicators for other kinds of biodiversity (see: Are Birds Good Indicators?). A suite of relevant bird indicators is now taking shape. These three indicators provide a set of global biodiversity indicators which can sit beside other robust indicators of economic and social progress to help ensure sustainable development.
- The Red List Index measuring global and regional trends in the extinction risk of all species.
- Important Bird Area Indices measuring trends in the condition of sites, pressures on them, and responses in place.
- Wild Bird Indicators measuring population trends of representative wild species to indicate trends in the condition of habitats.
Next Page » The Red List Index
- Meeting the 2020 biodiversity targets: action and monitoring based on birds (PDF, 1.8mb)
- Birds provide unique information for assessing global biodiversity trends (PDF, 119 KB)
- Birds as biodiversity indicators of sustainability in Europe (PDF, 154 KB)
- Proposed BirdLife bird-based biodiversity indicators (Word doc, 136 KB)
- Brochure on standardized sustainable monitoring in African Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests (PDF, 800kb)