Tomorrow's Biodiversity delivery phase

Peter Shaw and Matthew Shepherd on the 2014 Soil Mesofauna courseA couple of learning points from the research & consultation phases of the project have a significant influence on the delivery phase. The first arises from the fact that the biosphere is a complex system in which drivers of biodiversity change interact in poorly understood and unpredictable ways. While it is possible to identify many of the current major drivers of biodiversity loss, and some of those that will become increasingly important,

it is not possible to predict with any confidence which will be most significant drivers of biodiversity loss over the next few years, or to untangle the likely effects of interactions between them.

The second arises from the general lack of deep understanding of drivers of biodiversity change and the functional links between drivers and the response of groups of organisms. To hedge against this,

we should promote the development of a broad range of indicators, and potential indicators, of biodiversity change, increasing the breadth of the surveillance & monitoring network, its resilience and its ability to adapt to conditions as they evolve.

In light of these learning points from research & consultation phase of Tomorrow’s Biodiversity, it is clear that we cannot make a selection of indicator species/assemblages based solely on the identification of critical groups of organisms most likely to be affected by, largely unpredictable, future biodiversity change. The delivery phase of Tomorrow’s Biodiversity should work with groups of organisms that have been identified as having the potential to contribute towards biodiversity surveillance & monitoring, but it is more important that most of the outcomes of the delivery phase – products and learning points – have wide utility across many groups or organisms.

This adds an ‘exemplar’ dimension to the delivery phase in which many of the projects we develop will attempt to showcase particular approaches to enabling recording, surveillance & monitoring that are eminently transferable across organism groups.


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