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Newton St. Loe, United Kingdom

Feest A.,University of Bristol | Feest A.,Ecosulis Ltd.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2013

The development of the Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators 2010 (SEBI 2010) indicator set is described and critically reviewed for coverage and gaps. The indicator set is tested for historical background that would support trend analysis and found to be sensible, but the deficiency of direct biodiversity measurement rather than pressures on biodiversity is problematic. The lack of a freshwater biodiversity indicator is an obvious omission, whereas the analysis shows that two indicators (extent of protected areas and nitrogen deposition) have a central and important role in determining pressures on terrestrial biodiversity. A comparison with the UK Biodiversity Indicator Partnership annual assessment shows that this latter has better coverage at the biodiversity level and a simple method of presentation for an overall review. This has to be viewed with caution since disaggregation of the indicators shows contrary trends and even some misleading trends. Six recent papers proposing critical new indicators (three for invertebrates and three for freshwater ecosystems) are reviewed, and all are found to have deficiencies either in their sampling protocol or in the aim to produce a single headline value for a complex situation. The need for an ecosystem function approach to the measurement of biodiversity and the development of a common currency for measuring is expressed and compared to the results published by Butchardt et al. (2010) and Va?cka?r et al. (2012).© 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Feest A.,University of Bristol | Feest A.,Ecosulis Ltd.
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics | Year: 2015

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have recently launched themselves as the UN-sanctioned instrument for conserving nature. They seek to establish themselves as the authority in this field alongside the well-known Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in climate science. Quickly following or even before recent publication of their conceptual framework in two biology journals, they were already underway building upon it. This headlong push, we believe, is ill advised. We show how the framework is unsound as a foundation for further work—in a number of ways and perhaps even by its authors’ own lights. It is therefore urgent that the IPBES thoroughly and thoughtfully reconsider their framework before too much effort is wasted. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

Feest A.,University of Bristol | Feest A.,Ecosulis Ltd. | Merrill I.,Severn Trent Water | Aukett P.,University of Bristol
International Journal of Ecology | Year: 2012

(1) This study examines the effect of increasing botanical diversity, through reed-bed planting and maintenance regimes, on sewage treatment reed-bed invertebrate biodiversity and the possible enrichment of overall catchment biodiversity. (2) Reed-bed invertebrates were identified as a good indicator group of overall site biodiversity quality and were sampled at a range of sewage treatment reed-bed sites in the same geographical area between May and August 2006 (plus one natural reed-bed control site). Standardised water trapping and pitfall trapping techniques were employed throughout this sampling period. (3) Statistical analysis of the sampling results revealed that the number of plant species recorded was inversely related to terrestrial invertebrate species richness, species conservation value index and biomass within the study sites. For example, the natural reed-bed sampled had the highest botanical diversity but the lowest terrestrial invertebrate species richness. (4) This study has demonstrated that sewage treatment reed-beds support a diverse range of invertebrate species, some of them being of national conservation value. This suggests that sewage treatment reed-beds may be at least as biodiverse as naturally occurring reed-beds and will add to the overall biodiversity and ecohydrology of a catchment whilst saving energy. © 2012 Alan Feest et al.

Petrakis P.V.,Nagref Mediterranean Forest Research Institute | Spanos K.,Nagref Forest Research Institute | Feest A.,University of Bristol | Feest A.,Ecosulis Ltd.
Forest Systems | Year: 2011

This paper deals with the impact of the pine scale (Marchalina hellenica Gennadius, Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Margarodidae) on the insect biodiversity of pinewoods in Attica, Greece. The cosmparison of biodiversities was done by estimating the biodiversity by the Ewens-Caswell's V statistic in a set of nine sites each containing two linetransects. Transects pairs went through free and infested pinewoods from the pine scale and each one had several tenth hectare plots on both sides. The ecosystem temperature (= disorder) of the sites was computed and found high, together with the idiosyncratic temperatures (= susceptibility to extinction) of the 158 species in order to detect local extinctions. The indicator values of insect species were computed on the basis of the relative cover of each plant species. The main findings of this study are (1) the reduction of insect species biodiversity because of the introduction of the pine scale, (2) the moderate increase of disorder in pine scale infested sites,(3) many insect species can characterize site groups but none of them can distinguish infested from pine scale free sites. The introduction of pine scale in pinewoods disturbs their insect fauna before its influence to the floristic composition and the associated vegetation structure appears. The causes behind this reduction of biodiversity and the anthropogenic influences are discussed.

Feest A.,University of Bristol | Feest A.,Ecosulis Ltd. | Van Swaay C.,DeVlinderstichting | Van Hinsberg A.,PBL
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2014

Butterfly decline in Northern Europe is a cause of concern and it has been hypothesised that this is due to nitrogen deposition inducing excess early growth of plants. It has also been changing the quality of the food available to larvae. We tested these hypotheses by linking butterfly biodiversity quality indices (species richness, population, biomass, conservation value, evenness (Simpson's Index) and modelled species richness (Chao 1 and 2)) with nitrogen Critical Load Exceedence (nCLE) data. An index of butterfly sensitivity to nitrogen was also created (Species Nitrogen Value Index (SNVI)). Using PCA, datasets were tested for associations and relationships. The results included multiple biodiversity quality indices based on 17 years of data (aggregated into three periods of six, six and five years to give 287 datasets) in four habitat types (grassland, heathland, woodland and farmland). With the exception of heathland the analysis showed that nitrogen deposition and all other indices (except SNVI) were in decline. For heathland the last 11 years did not show any significant decline. Heathland also showed an anomalous biodiversity quality profile for these last 11 years, suggesting that the sensitivity of heathland to nitrogen deposition will require further considerable efforts to achieve a nitrogen deposition that is not in exceedence of the critical load. Habitat restoration will take time due to the multiple hindrances to colonisation, which in the case of heathland might prevent successful butterfly colonisation for the foreseeable future. These results indicate the efficacy of butterfly biodiversity quality and nCLE as indicators for the SEBI 2020 process (Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators) by showing the relationship between them. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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