Biodiv Sci ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (5): 497-504.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08068

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Establishing an indicator system for biodiversity assessment in China

Li Guo, Wu Xiaopu, Luo Zunlan, Li Junsheng*()   

  1. Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
  • Received:2011-04-18 Accepted:2011-08-29 Online:2011-09-20 Published:2011-10-08
  • Contact: Li Junsheng


The development of biodiversity indicators is a complex and long-term process that requires linking research with monitoring and policy making, choosing sound approach to structure indicators, and implementing the technical design. The need to develop suitable indicators for monitoring and assessing biodiversity status and trends is reflected in China’s national biodiversity strategies. We review the practices of indicator development from both home and abroad and discuss the issues concerning the technical design of indicators, including causal frameworks of indicator system, spatial and temporal scales, indicator types and assessment methods. We also identify eight focal areas for biodiversity assessment which reflect the objectives of the 2011-2030 national biodiversity strategy and action plan. These propositional focal areas include status and trends of biodiversity, ecosystem goods and services, threats to biodiversity, sustainable use, access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources, policy and legal systems/ecological planning, financial resources, and public awareness. We propose a set of 26 possible indicators characterized by ‘practicality’, ‘representativeness’, ‘sensitiveness’ and ‘aggregation possibilities’. The indicators in this set could be grouped and logically linked under the Pressure-State-Impact-Response framework. And they could be used to assess biodiversity at genetic, species, and ecosystem levels, and to measure the progress toward the national biodiversity strategic goals.

Key words: Convention on Biological Diversity, decision-making and management, national biodiversity strategy, DPSIR framework