The Local Biodiversity Intactness Index is based on a purpose-built global database of local biodiversity surveys combined with high resolution global land-use data. The index provides estimates of human impacts on the intactness of local biodiversity worldwide, and how this may change over time.
Definition, purpose and relation to other indicators
The Local Biodiversity Intactness Index (LBII) estimates how much of a terrestrial site's original biodiversity remains in the face of human land use and related pressures. Because LBII relates to site-level biodiversity, it can be averaged and reported for any larger spatial scale (e.g., countries, biodiversity hotspots or biomes as well as globally) without additional assumptions. Building on research published recently in Nature1, and repurposing existing biodiversity survey data, it combines scientific rigour with affordability. The LBII is particularly relevant for Aichi Targets 12 (Preventing Extinctions) and 14 (Essential Ecosystem Services). Existing indicators for these targets lack a broad biodiversity perspective; in particular, they are heavily biased towards vertebrates, which make up only 0.5% of the world's species and relate to only simple biodiversity measures. The LBII can report on both species-richness and mean abundance, and is being developed further to also report on geographic range rarity (endemism) and phylogenetic diversity. LBII is strongly complementary to the proposed Biodiversity Habitat Index (BHI). LBII's focus is on average local biotic intactness, which reflects species' persistence within the landscape and the local ecosystem's ability to provide many ecosystem services; BHI, by contrast, focuses on how the overall diversity of a larger region is hit by habitat loss and degradation (Target 5). LBII was first proposed in 20052 but the data needed to make it operational have only now been brought together.
Coverage and resolution
The LBII covers the world's entire terrestrial realm, and can report both globally and at any smaller scale relevant for global policy (see Figure 1). Although published analyses have so far had coarse spatial and temporal grain1, CSIRO's development of annual, global, fine-scale land-use maps allows LBII to report annually at 1km resolution from 2001 to 2020.
Preliminary global map of LBII for species richness from Newbold et al. in prep. Figure 1. Preliminary global map of LBII for species richness, expressed as a percentage, with inset showing how LBII picks out Egmont National Park from the dairy pasture that surrounds it. (From Newbold et al. 2016)
The underpinning science
The LBII is based on rigorously peer-reviewed and transparent science. The global statistical models were published recently in Nature1, along with global maps of net changes in local biodiversity by 2005, a hindcast of change from 1500-2005, and global and national projections of future changes under the Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios (Figure 2).
Projected net change in local species richness worldwide from 1500 to 2095 Figure 2. Projected net change in local species richness worldwide from 1500 to 2095; LBII additionally discounts species not in the original assemblage. Future projections are based on the four Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios6. Grey shading and error bars show 95% confidence intervals (from Newbold et al. 2015 Nature 520:45-50.)
Models of how land use affects the similarity of an ecological community to that of intact sites are now in review3; a paper combining these with our earlier models to map LBII is in preparation. These models all use the PREDICTS database4, which has collated data from studies that compared terrestrial biodiversity at sites facing different intensities of human pressures; it currently holds over 3 million records for over 26,000 sites (in 94 countries) and a taxonomically representative set of over 45,000 plant, invertebrate and vertebrate species (Figure 3).
These data, contributed by a network of over 500 researchers worldwide, will be made freely available in the coming months (some metadata are already available5). The database will continue to grow, enabling more precise modeling. Annual land-use data since 2001 are produced by using remotely-sensed land cover change data to statistically downscale global land-use maps to 1km resolution; a paper is in preparation.
Taxonomic representativeness of the PREDICTS database Figure 3. Taxonomic representativeness of the PREDICTS database; lines indicate (from bottom to top) 0.1%, 1% and 10% representation of the groups depicted. Note logarithmic scales (From Hudson et al. 20167).
The database and statistical models have been developed by the PREDICTS project (www.predicts. org.uk), a collaboration between the Natural History Museum, London UK, UNEP-WCMC and several British universities that has been endorsed by GEO BON. The global, annual, fine-scale land-use data have been developed by CSIRO.
For further information, contact Professor Andy Purvis (Principal Investigator, PREDICTS), firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Newbold, T. et al. Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity. Nature 520, 45-50 (2015).
- Scholes, R. J. & Biggs, R. A biodiversity intactness index. Nature 434, 45-49 (2005).
- Newbold, T. et al. Global patterns of terrestrial assemblage turnover within and among land uses. Ecography (2016).
- Hudson, L. N. et al. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology & Evolution 4, 4701-4735 (2014).
- Hudson, L. N. et al. Dataset: PREDICTS site-level summary biodiversity and pressure data. http://dx.doi.org/10.5519/0018993 (2014).
- Hurtt, G. C. et al. Harmonization of land-use scenarios for the period 1500-2100. Climatic Change 109, 117-161 (2011).
- Hudson L. N. et al. The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) Project. Ecology & Evolution (2016)