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Stephenson P.J.,WWF International | Burgess N.D.,UNEP WCMC | Jungmann L.,WWF Market Transformation Initiative | Loh J.,Zoological Society of London | And 4 more authors.
Biodiversity | Year: 2015

If parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and their partners are to report effectively on progress against national, regional and global biodiversity conservation goals, data will need to be collected at multiple levels. Global data sets, many gathered using remote sensing, offer partial solutions but need to be complemented by field-level observations to provide the resolution necessary to track conservation measures in a meaningful way. This paper summarises efforts made by the conservation organisation WWF, working with partners, to integrate 10 indicators of relevance to CBD parties into its global monitoring system and to use global data sets and data from field programmes to determine progress against multi-level goals and to assess programme performance and impacts. Integration of in-situ and ex-situ data into reporting dashboards tailored to WWF’s needs allowed some degree of assessment of progress and adaptive management of the programme portfolio. Indicator trends were most favourable (on track) for protected area (PA) coverage and market share of sustainable commodities, and least favourable (worsening) for species offtake, species populations, wildlife trade, habitat fragmentation and Ecological Footprint. The most useful indicators – which could be disaggregated to provide trends at local levels relevant to WWF field programmes – were species populations, habitat cover and fragmentation, PA coverage and PA management effectiveness. However challenges remain if local and global monitoring objectives are to be aligned, including the need for increased collection of data by field projects, improved harmonisation of indicators, and greater sharing of data in formats of use to practitioners. We advocate wider adoption by governments and civil society organisations of indicators with the dual function of tracking delivery of CBD Aichi Targets as well as monitoring national, regional and ecoregional level conservation programmes, and urge more NGOs and academic bodies to support capacity building and data collection. © 2015 Biodiversity Conservancy International.

Hooker S.K.,University of St. Andrews | Hooker S.K.,University of La Rochelle | Canadas A.,Marine Research Center Research and Conservation | Hyrenbach K.D.,Hawaii Pacific University | And 3 more authors.
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2011

The design of ecological networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) is generally based on the identification of areas of high abundance for species of conservation concern or focal biodiversity targets. We discuss the applicability of this approach to marine top predators and contend that the design of comprehensive and effective MPA networks requires the following 7 principles: (1) the use of wildlife-habitat modelling and spatial mapping approaches to develop testable model predictions of species distribution and abundance; (2) the incorporation of life-history and behavioural data into the development of these predictive habitat models; (3) the explicit assessment of threats in the design and monitoring process for single- or multi-species MPAs; (4) the serious consideration of dynamic MPA designs to encompass species which use well-defined but spatially dynamic ocean features; (5) the integration of demographic assessment in MPA planning, allowing provision of advice to policy makers, ranging from no to full protection; (6) the clear articulation of management and monitoring plans allowing retrospective evaluation of MPA effectiveness; and (7) the adoption of an adaptive management approach, essential in the light of ongoing and anticipated ecosystem changes and species range shifts in response to climate change. © Inter-Research 2011.

Banks-Leite C.,University of Sao Paulo | Banks-Leite C.,Imperial College London | Ewers R.M.,Imperial College London | Kapos V.,UNEP WCMC | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2011

1. The use of indicators to identify areas of conservation importance has been challenged on several grounds, but nonetheless retains appeal as no more parsimonious approach exists. Among the many variants, two indicator strategies stand out: the use of indicator species and the use of metrics of landscape structure. While the first has been thoroughly studied, the same cannot be said about the latter. We aimed to contrast the relative efficacy of species-based and landscape-based indicators by: (i) comparing their ability to reflect changes in community integrity at regional and landscape spatial scales, (ii) assessing their sensitivity to changes in data resolution, and (iii) quantifying the degree to which indicators that are generated in one landscape or at one spatial scale can be transferred to additional landscapes or scales. 2. We used data from more than 7000 bird captures in 65 sites from six 10000-ha landscapes with different proportions of forest cover in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Indicator species and landscape-based indicators were tested in terms of how effective they were in reflecting changes in community integrity, defined as deviations in bird community composition from control areas. 3. At the regional scale, indicator species provided more robust depictions of community integrity than landscape-based indicators. At the landscape scale, however, landscape-based indicators performed more effectively, more consistently and were also more transferable among landscapes. The effectiveness of high resolution landscape-based indicators was reduced by just 12% when these were used to explain patterns of community integrity in independent data sets. By contrast, the effectiveness of species-based indicators was reduced by 33%. 4. Synthesis and applications. The use of indicator species proved to be effective; however their results were variable and sensitive to changes in scale and resolution, and their application requires extensive and time-consuming field work. Landscape-based indicators were not only effective but were also much less context-dependent. The use of landscape-based indicators may allow the rapid identification of priority areas for conservation and restoration, and indicate which restoration strategies should be pursued, using remotely sensed imagery. We suggest that landscape-based indicators might often be a better, simpler, and cheaper strategy for informing decisions in conservation. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

Mace G.M.,Imperial College London | Cramer W.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Diaz S.,National University of Cordoba | Faith D.P.,College St | And 9 more authors.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2010

The bold commitment made by the world's governments to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 will soon be tested. On the basis of the continuing declines measured by most indicators, it now seems inevitable that the outcome will be that it has not been achieved. Here, in order to build on the momentum created by the 2010 target, we propose a shift away from a large set of static targets towards a smaller number of specific targets. Specifically, we present three categories of targets (red, green and blue) with examples of each. These relate respectively to (1) those biodiversity outcomes that must be avoided to avert situations that are deleterious for people, (2) the highly valued biodiversity conservation priorities, and (3) an improved scientific understanding necessary for adaptive management now and into the future. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Lund J.F.,Copenhagen University | Burgess N.D.,UNEP WCMC | Chamshama S.A.O.,Sokoine University of Agriculture | Dons K.,Copenhagen University | And 12 more authors.
Environmental Conservation | Year: 2015

Nearly 10% of the world's total forest area is formally owned by communities and indigenous groups, yet knowledge of the effects of decentralized forest management approaches on conservation (and livelihood) impacts remains elusive. In this paper, the conservation impact of decentralized forest management on two forests in Tanzania was evaluated using a mixed method approach. Current forest condition, forest increment and forest use patterns were assessed through forest inventories, and changes in forest disturbance levels before and after the implementation of decentralized forest management were assessed on the basis of analyses of Landsat images. This biophysical evidence was then linked to changes in actual management practices, assessed through records, interviews and participatory observations, to provide a measure of the conservation impact of the policy change. Both forests in the study were found to be in good condition, and extraction was lower than overall forest increment. Divergent changes in forest disturbance levels were in evidence following the implementation of decentralized forest management. The evidence from records, interviews and participatory observations indicated that decentralized management had led to increased control of forest use and the observed divergence in forest disturbance levels appeared to be linked to differences in the way that village-level forest managers prioritized conservation objectives and forest-based livelihood strategies. The study illustrates that a mixed methods approach comprises a valid and promising way to evaluate impacts of conservation policies, even in the absence of control sites. By carefully linking policy outcomes to policy outputs, such an approach not only identifies whether such policies work as intended, but also potential mechanisms. © 2014 Foundation for Environmental Conservation.

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