PerspectiveConservation

Taking the measure of change

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Science  10 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6206, pp. 166-167
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255772

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Summary

Over the past decade, numerous metrics for biodiversity—including species abundance, extinction risk, distribution, genetic variability, species turnover, and trait diversity—have been used to create indicators to track how biodiversity has changed (13). These indicators have made it clear that biodiversity loss, however it is measured, is showing little sign of abatement (1, 4) and that humans must respond to safeguard the provision of natural services on which we all rely (5, 6). But which metrics provide the most informative indicators under which circumstances? And how can the growing list of indicators best serve conservation policy decisions?