These Essential Biodiversity Variables, defined as the derived measurements required to study, report, and manage biodiversity change, focusing on status and trend in elements of biodiversity should play the role of brokers between monitoring initiatives and decision makers. They provide the first level of abstraction between low-level primary observations and high-level indicators of biodiversity.

Essential Biodiversity Variables
Essential Biodiversity Variables
Criteria for Essential Biodiversity Variables

An ideal EBV should be

  • able to capture critical scales and dimensions of biodiversity
  • biological
  • a state variable (in general)
  • sensitive to change
  • ecosystem agnostic (to the degree possible)
  • technically feasible, economically viable and sustainable in time

These Essential Variables should also be able to be measured or modeled globally, and should ideally capitalize from integrating remote sensing with in-situ observations.

EBVs should be relevant to the broader community in the biodiversity monitoring and research projects, networks and initiatives, offering robust computations that can help populate the indicators to assess progress towards the 2020 Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Finally EBVs should provide the foundation for developing biodiversity forecasts under different policy and management scenarios.

Papers on EBVs

Pereira, H.M., Ferrier, S., Walters, M.,Geller, G.N., Jongman, R.H.G., Scholes, R.J., Bruford, M.W., Brummitt, N., Butchart, S. H. M., Cardoso, A. C., Coops, N. C., Dulloo, E., Faith, D. P., Freyhof, J., Gregory, R.D., Heip, C., Höft, R., Hurtt, G., Jetz, W., Karp, D. S., McGeoch, M. A., Obura, D., Onoda, Y., Pettorelli, N., Reyers, B., Sayre, R., Scharlemann, J.P.W., Stuart, S.N., Turak, E., Walpole, M. and Wegmann, M. 2013. “Essential Biodiversity Variables, A global system of harmonized observation is needed to inform scientist and policy-makers”. Science. 339: 277-278.
>>Email me a PDF << | doi: 10.1126/science.1229931

Proença, Vânia, Laura Jane Martin, Henrique Miguel Pereira, Miguel Fernandez, Louise McRae, Jayne Belnap, Monika Böhm, et al. 2016. “Global biodiversity monitoring: From data sources to Essential Biodiversity Variables”. Biological Conservation.
PDF-IconDownload as PDF | doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.07.014

Turak, Eren, Ian Harrison, David Dudgeon, Robin Abell, Alex Bush, William Darwall, C. Max Finlayson, et al. 2016. “Essential Biodiversity Variables for measuring change in global freshwater biodiversity”. Biological Conservation.
PDF-IconDownload as PDF | doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.09.005

Turak, Eren, James Brazill-Boast, Tim Cooney, Michael Drielsma, Jocelyn DelaCruz, Gillian Dunkerley, Miguel Fernandez, et al. 2016. “Using the essential biodiversity variables framework to measure biodiversity change at national scale”. Biological Conservation.
PDF-IconDownload as PDF | doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.08.019

Paganini, Marc, Allison K. Leidner, Gary Geller, Woody Turner, Martin Wegmann, Harini Nagendra, and Clement Atzberger. 2016. “The role of space agencies in remotely sensed essential biodiversity variables”. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. 2 (3): 132-140.
PDF-IconDownload as PDF | doi:10.1002/rse2.29

Geijzendorffer, Ilse R., Eugenie C. Regan, Henrique M. Pereira, Lluis Brotons, Neil Brummitt, Yoni Gavish, Peter Haase, et al. 2015. “Bridging the gap between biodiversity data and policy reporting needs: An Essential Biodiversity Variables perspective”. Journal of Applied Ecology. n/a. >>Email me a PDF << | doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12417

Skidmore AK, N Pettorelli, NC Coops, GN Geller, M Hansen, R Lucas, CA Mücher, et al. 2015. “Environmental science: Agree on biodiversity metrics to track from space”. Nature. 523 (7561): 403-5.PDF-IconDownload as PDF | doi:10.1038/523403a

Kissling, W. Daniel, Alex Hardisty, Enrique Alonso Garcia, Monica Santamaria, Francesca De Leo, Graziano Pesole, Jörg Freyhof, et al. 2015. Towards global interoperability for supporting biodiversity research on essential biodiversity variables (EBVs). Biodiversity. 1-9.
PDF-Icon Download as PDF | doi:10.1080/14888386.2015.1068709

Current candidate EBVs

Take a look at the current candidate EBVs. This list resulted from the Frascati workshop which was attended by 34 experts in the field of biodiversity spanning all levels of organisation (genes, species, ecosystems) and all realms (marine, terrestrial, freshwater).

Interested? Get involved!

If you’ve looked at the EBV materials and would like to get involved in EBV development, please contact us.