The utility of the Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators 2010 (SEBI 2010)

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The development of the Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators 2010 (SEBI 2010) indicator set is described and critically reviewed for coverage and gaps. The indicator set is tested for historical background that would support trend analysis and found to be sensible, but the deficiency of direct biodiversity measurement rather than pressures on biodiversity is problematic. The lack of a freshwater biodiversity indicator is an obvious omission, whereas the analysis shows that two indicators (extent of protected areas and nitrogen deposition) have a central and important role in determining pressures on terrestrial biodiversity. A comparison with the UK Biodiversity Indicator Partnership annual assessment shows that this latter has better coverage at the biodiversity level and a simple method of presentation for an overall review. This has to be viewed with caution since disaggregation of the indicators shows contrary trends and even some misleading trends. Six recent papers proposing critical new indicators (three for invertebrates and three for freshwater ecosystems) are reviewed, and all are found to have deficiencies either in their sampling protocol or in the aim to produce a single headline value for a complex situation. The need for an ecosystem function approach to the measurement of biodiversity and the development of a common currency for measuring is expressed and compared to the results published by Butchardt et al. (2010) and Vačkář et al. (2012).

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalEcological Indicators
Early online date16 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Biomass; Ecosystem function; Biodiversity quality; Nitrogen deposition; European habitats


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