• A POSTnote on effective biodiversity indicators will review the evidence base for the likely indicators of the UK Biodiversity Strategy to 2030.
  • It will look at the challenges associated with these, such as vagueness of targets, incomplete understanding of the mechanisms driving changes in the state of biodiversity, data availability and the optimal number required.
  • It will also review the wider value of biodiversity indicators.
  • Provisional start date: September 2020. To contribute expertise, literature or as an external reviewer, please contact Lauren Henly. View our guidance for expert contributors.

Effective conservation policies are rooted in a clear understanding of conservation needs and are continually monitored in a process of continual improvement. This requires effective indicators; measures that summarise complex data into simple, standardised and communicable figures; on the ‘state’ of biodiversity, both before and after interventions. These are often difficult for people without relevant knowledge to understand, as environmental and biodiversity indicators encompass many complex concepts and processes with many different ones in use, such as the planetary limits; the European Environment Agency’s State of the Environment Report trends, outlooks and prospects; or the ZSL living planet index. At the UK level, the reporting of biodiversity indicators is done through the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The current set report on UK progress towards meeting the biodiversity goals in ‘the Aichi targets’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed in 2010, with the next (and final) update expected in July/August.

The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been postponed until 2021. This forum will agree the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework objectives for the next ten years and will include a range of focal areas that are associated with targets set, such as the use of nature-based solutions to increase biodiversity and provide climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sub-targets associated with these, such as levels of reforestation and peatland restoration. In anticipation of the CBD agreement, the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy contains a commitment to invest in biodiversity and nature-based solutions as part of the 25% of the EU climate action budget, with other objectives including reversing pollinator decline, restoring rivers and enhancing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. The UK indicators adopted for the CBD targets will have to be relevant and evidence-based, but they will all have individual strengths and weaknesses such as incomplete evidence.

This POSTnote will review the evidence base for the likely indicators of the UK Biodiversity Strategy to 2030, the challenges associated with these, such as vagueness of targets, incomplete understanding of the mechanisms driving changes in the state of biodiversity, data availability and the optimal number required, and their wider value.