Posts Tagged ‘Monitoring’

Biodiversity: you can only manage what you can measure!

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Francis Vorhies, the Green Mind columnist in Forbes Magazine, recently published a short piece on biodiversity.

His article emphasizes the various definitions of biodiversity, highlighting two alternatives: (1) a focus on wild species and their habitat requirements (as in the USA) or (2) “the integrity and diversity of natural environments and processes” (more akin to the CBD‘s definition).

He states that for companies, the second approach is probably more useful. He doesn’t however explain why… and I would tend to think the opposite.

The integrity and diversity of environments and processes is much harder to pin-down, and hence measure, monitor and manage, than the presence, absence or abundance of a species in a given area of land.

The issue of biodiversity, in terms of impacts, responsibilities and opportunities, can only be dealt with if it can be properly managed. Some say you can only manage what you can measure…

The knowledge base for identifying and measuring species and their habitats is stronger than that of complex interacting ecological processes, let alone “integrity” which requires setting a reference (which one?).

What do you think?