The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network
The Species Habitat Index (SHI) measures changes in the estimated size and quality of ecologically intact areas supporting species populations. Ecosystems are made up of species, and as multi-species aggregate, the SHI provide a compound estimate of the ecological quality of natural ecosystems and the health and resilience of species populations.
|EBV class Species Populations
|EBV class Ecosystem Structure
Ecosystem extent and fragmentation
To provide an annually updated measure of ecological intactness and species population trends that transparently builds on single species data, is globally comparable, has high spatial resolution, and can be developed and reported nationally.
Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: Goal A
|CBD Aichi Target 5
Habitat loss halved or reduced
|CBD Aichi Target 12
Reducing risk of extinction
The indicator can be calculated annually at near global scale and comprehensively for a large and growing set of species groups. It can be amended and optimized with regional or national data. SHI uses environmental and species data addressing all terrestrial areas of the world at 1 km spatial resolution, with extensions to marine underway. It can be aggregated at spatial levels ranging from 1 km to small regions, countries, biomes, and the whole planet. The index builds on land cover information available annually from Landsat and ESA CCI from year 2001 onwards. With continuation of these remote sensing products, this enables annual updates, including reporting through 2030.
The SHI is calculated using local biodiversity observations (e.g., as available through GBIF) and remotely sensed habitat characterizations. It quantifies changes in the estimated size and quality of ecologically intact areas supporting species populations. Remote sensing-informed trends are validated and uncertainty-assessed using in situ occurrence data at species level. SHI uses latest, best-possible predictions of species geographic ranges, based on a variety of sources combined with habitat information, remote sensing layers and models. These data can be augmented or replaced with other national data.
Modification, estimated size, quality, fragmentation, and connectivity of ecologically intact areas supporting species populations are quantified annually and species-level metrics then aggregated to countries. Separate indices can be calculated for different species groups, e.g. those dependent on certain habitats and ecosystems or those considered threatened. The indices can also be subset to species with particularly rapid recent habitat changes, and they can account for countries’ stewardship of species (their portion of a species’ global range).
Taxonomic coverage is growing and currently (2021) includes terrestrial vertebrates (~ 32,000 species) and select vascular plant groups. Inclusion of marine/coastal taxa and select invertebrate groups is in progress. Metrics are informed by a rapidly increasing number of occurrence records from the GBIF and other sources, currently > 500 million records.
Indicators and underlying data are available through a dedicated dashboard in the Map of Life web interface that has been developed with technology partners. Indicator values will also be available through the GEO BON portal, the UN Biodiversity Lab, and the CBD indicator dashboard.
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“Environmental performance index.” Yale University and Columbia University: New Haven, CT, USA (2020). https://epi.yale.edu
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