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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. For. Glob. Change | doi: 10.3389/ffgc.2019.00070

Measuring forest biodiversity status and changes globally

 Samantha L. Hill1, 2*, Andy Arnell1, Stuart H. Butchart3, 4, Craig Hilton-Taylor5, Carolyn Ciciarelli6, Crystal Davis6, Eric Dinerstein7,  Andy Purvis2, 8 and Neil D. Burgess1, 4, 9
  • 1United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), United Kingdom
  • 2Natural History Museum, United Kingdom
  • 3BirdLife international, United Kingdom
  • 4Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 5Global Species Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature, United Kingdom
  • 6World Resources Institute, United States
  • 7Other, United States
  • 8Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • 9CMEC, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The world’s forests are crucially important for both biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation. New forest status and forest change spatial layers using remotely sensed data have revolutionised forest monitoring globally, and provide fine-scale deforestation alerts that can be actioned in near-real time. However, existing products are restricted to representing tree cover and do not reflect the considerable spatial variation in the biological importance of forests. Here we link modelled biodiversity values to remotely sensed data on tree cover to develop global maps of forest biodiversity significance (based on the rarity-weighted richness of forest mammal, bird, amphibian and conifer species) and forest biodiversity intactness (based on the modelled relationship between anthropogenic pressures and community intactness). The strengths and weaknesses of these products for policy and local decision-making are reviewed and we map out future improvements and developments that are needed to enhance their usefulness.

Keywords: Forest cover, remote sensing, Biodiversity intactness index, IUCN Red list, Biodiversity

Received: 03 Apr 2019; Accepted: 18 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Hill, Arnell, Butchart, Hilton-Taylor, Ciciarelli, Davis, Dinerstein, Purvis and Burgess. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Samantha L. Hill, United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Cambridge, United Kingdom, samantha.hill@unep-wcmc.org