How to improve the monitoring of biodiversity in
National biodiversity monitoring programs in Europe face many challenges, according to the first report from the European project EuropaBON published today. The analysis includes data from more than 350 experts in environmental protection policy, science and practice. The team is also writing a proposal for transnational monitoring of European biodiversity and ecosystems.
The European data landscape is very fragmented in the field of biodiversity. The diversity of data collection and analysis methods often makes it impossible to compare the information obtained between countries.
“In addition, many countries even struggle to meet the minimum biodiversity monitoring required by the European Commission,” says Henrique Pereira, researcher at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the German Center for Integrative Research. on Biodiversity (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, which also leads the EuropaBON project (Europa Biodiversity Observation Network).
“There are many reasons for this: too little funding, insufficient technical capacity, lack of support for long-term policy objectives, inaccessibility of data from the agriculture, energy and fisheries sectors, but also a certain skepticism about the evolution of existing methods,” adds Juliette Martin, associate researcher with the IIASA Equity and Justice and Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation research groups.
Yet surveillance data would have great potential to help shape policies and guidelines in an evidence-based approach, as the first policy report of the EuropaBON project shows.
The pan-European project was launched in November 2020 to develop a unified, comprehensive and equally practical approach to monitoring European biodiversity and ecosystems. It involves 15 partner institutions from all over Europe, including IIASA. Since then, the team has conducted surveys, interviews and workshops with over 350 representatives of conservation science, policy and practice. More specifically, the objective was to obtain an overview of previous monitoring measures and their associated challenges, as well as to find initial approaches towards a common standard.
“The responses paint a comprehensive picture of the current situation in many European countries and now form the basis for the design of a new multinational biodiversity monitoring network in Europe,” says Ian McCallum.
Consistent, high-quality biodiversity data are needed to meet the targets of the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. In this document, Member States undertake to restore ecosystems that are threatened or already destroyed by 2030 and to halt the loss of biodiversity.
“The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 currently represents the heart of integrated policies. However, to achieve its goals, European countries and the European Commission need more robust and comparable data at all scales,” says Aletta Bonn of the University of Jena, the Helmholtz Center. for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). She adds that such data would help policymakers and scientists develop evidence-based targets and their assessments of progress for the conservation and restoration of ecosystems and their services.
A particular method shows great promise for harmonizing the different approaches across Europe: the identification of “essential biodiversity variables” and “essential ecosystem service variables”.
In the report, the EuropaBON team presents a ranked list of the 15 best performing variables that could be used for a common approach. These cover a wide range from the biodiversity of seabirds and fish to the distribution of plants and invasive species and land-use change. However, most of these 15 variables are currently either not monitored at all or insufficiently monitored in Europe.
The findings of this report will help EuropaBON to select a consolidated list of key biodiversity and ecosystem service variables in the future. Additionally, it will help identify monitoring gaps in existing processes and co-design workflows with many different stakeholders, ranging from observations to knowledge products that address bottlenecks and consider new technologies. to maximize the benefits for all who care about reversing biodiversity loss in Europe. .
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Moersberger H., Martin JGC, Junker J., Georgieva I. et al (2022): EuropaBON: User and Policy Needs Assessment. EuropaBON/German Center for Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig. DOI: 10.3897/rio.coll.145
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research on the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological and social change facing us in the 21st century. Our findings offer valuable options for policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by prestigious research funding agencies in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. www.iiasa.ac.at
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