COS 104-2 - Measuring and mapping indices of biodiversity conservation effectiveness

Thursday, August 11, 2011: 1:50 PM
Ballroom B, Austin Convention Center
Benjamin E. Wright, International Development, Community, and Environment, Clark University, Worcester, MA

Despite efforts by the 193-member Convention on Biological Diversity and landmark publications on human-environment linkages, global biodiversity loss continues.  Climate and biodiversity projections suggest that 40% of all species may face extinction before the end of this century.  To enhance issue saliency, many peer-reviewed and grey literature publications have called for interdisciplinary approaches that combine ecological, socioeconomic, and policy measures and several have recommended the use of a state-benefits-pressure-response (SBPR) framework.  Composite indices have been proposed as a useful means to integrate such interdisciplinary measures, to communicate broad trends, and to increase political appeal of biodiversity conservation.  The present study seeks to contribute to the methodological development of composite indices that support science-policy integration through the aggregation of interdisciplinary measures from the SBPR categories.  Example indices of global biodiversity conservation effectiveness are calculated using data on endemism richness, biomass carbon storage, land cover change, and protected area extent.


Index results for two construction methodologies, weighted linear combination (WLC) and data envelopment analysis (DEA), indicate that DEA provides some advantages including: objectively obtained constituent weights, reducing the effect of low constituent values compensating for high, and providing complementary information to WLC. Comparison of two normalization techniques, richness-normalization and area-normalization, indicates that area-normalization is more robust to bias from administrative unit size and to DEA weighting bias due to differences in attribute frequency distributions.  As a whole, results demonstrate that the SBPR framework can be operationalized to produce composite, interdisciplinary indices, which could be used to enhance public understanding and communication of the biodiversity crisis.

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