Measuring biodiversity loss

Promoting research activities using molecular methods in biodiversity measurement and validation of these technologies.
It is estimated in UNEP's 1998 Global Biodiversity Assessment that, on a global level, biodiversity is decreasing at a faster rate now than at any other time in the past.
UNEP's Global Biodiversity Assessment confirms that in some European countries up to 24% of species of certain groups such as butterflies, birds and mammals are now nationally extinct. The European Environmental Agency states in its "Dobris Assessment" that "the decline of Europe's biodiversity in many regions derives mainly from highly intensive, partially industrial forms of agricultural and silvicultural land use; from an increased fragmentation of remaining natural habitats by infrastructure and urbanisation and the exposure to mass tourism as well as pollution of water and air. Given the projected growth in economic activity, the rate of loss of biodiversity is far more likely to increase than stabilise".

Already 3435 (15%) of South Africa's plant species, 102 (14%) of bird, 72 (24%) of reptile, 17 (18%) of amphibian, 90 (37%) of mammal, and 142 (22%) of butterfly species are listed as threatened in the South African Red Data Books, which indicate the conservation status of threatened species and ecosystems.

1. Comparative measures of biodiversity based on the number of species present are widely used, but they suffer from several disadvantages. They are very dependent both on sampling effort (the harder or longer you look, the more species you find) and on differences between workers in their ability to distinguish between species (a taxonomic expert will find more species than a non-expert). The number of species present is also strongly affected by habitat type and complexity, thus making comparisons difficult between data sets from different habitats or where habitat type is uncontrolled. Also, there is no statistical framework for the assessment of the significance of departure from expectation (are there more or less species present here than one might expect?).
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies