Review of multispecies indices for monitoring human impacts on biodiversity
Biodiversity has been recognized as one of the key components of environmental sustainability. Assessment of biodiversity trends and progress toward targets requires effective and sound indicators. In our article, we review and compare the leading multispecies biodiversity indices used in global and regional assessments. We reviewed basic characteristics of these aggregated and composite biodiversity indicators and evaluated them with regard to their ecological performance, policy relevance and other accounting aspects. Indices analyzed include species and populations based indicators, such as Living Planet Index and Red List Index, as well as ecosystem based indicators like Natural Capital Index and Biodiversity Intactness Index. We also include measures of ecological integrity such as Marine Trophic Index and Index of Biotic Integrity. Indicators analyzed differ in both their ecological focus, baselines, basic units or policy use. Multispecies biodiversity indices illustrate prevailingly negative trends in the state of nature as a result of human induced pressures, especially land cover change. Biodiversity loss is therefore not decoupled from socioeconomic progress. We show that current indicators include a balanced mix of important biodiversity aspects and have some policy resonance. Leading biodiversity indices should be further promoted and integrated into monitoring, modelling and decision-making frameworks.