Biodiversity Action Plan
This article is about a conservation biology topic. For other uses of BAP, see BAP (disambiguation)
BAP (disambiguation)
BAP or bap may refer to:* Bap , a type of bread roll* Bali Action Plan* BAP System, a point system for chess* Biodiversity Action Plan* Black American Princess* Broader autism phenotype...


A Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is an internationally recognized program addressing threatened species
Threatened species
Threatened species are any speciesg animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future.The World Conservation Union is the foremost authority on threatened species, and treats threatened species not as a single category, but as a group of three categories,...

 and habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

s and is designed to protect and restore biological systems. The original impetus for these plans derives from the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity , known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is an international legally binding treaty...

 (CBD). As of 2009, 191 countries have ratified the CBD, but only a fraction of these have developed substantive BAP documents.

The principal elements of a BAP typically include: (a) preparing inventories of biological information for selected species or habitats; (b) assessing the conservation status
Conservation status
The conservation status of a group of organisms indicates whether the group is still extant and how likely the group is to become extinct in the near future...

 of species within specified ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s; (c) creation of targets for conservation
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 and restoration
Restoration ecology
-Definition:Restoration ecology is the scientific study and practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action, within a short time frame...

; and (d) establishing budgets, timelines and institutional partnerships for implementing the BAP.

Species plans

A fundamental method of engagement to a BAP is thorough documentation regarding individual species, with emphasis upon the population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 distribution and conservation
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 status. This task, while fundamental, is highly daunting, since only an estimated ten percent of the world’s species are believed to have been characterized as of 2006, most of these unknowns being plants and lower animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s. For many mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

, bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

 and reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

 species, information is often available in published literature; however, for many plant species as well as invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

 species, such information may require considerable local data collection. It is also useful to compile time trends of population estimates in order to understand the dynamics of population variability and vulnerability. In some parts of the world complete species inventories are not realistic; for example, in the Madagascar dry deciduous forests
Madagascar dry deciduous forests
The Madagascar dry deciduous forests represent a tropical dry forest ecoregion generally situated in the western part of Madagascar. The area has high numbers of endemic plant and animal species but has suffered large-scale clearance for agriculture...

, many species are completely undocumented and much of the region has never even been systematically explored by scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...


A species plan component of a country’s BAP should ideally entail a thorough description of the range, habitat, behaviour, breeding and interaction with other species. Once a determination has been made of conservation status (e.g. rare
Rare species
A rare species is a group of organisms that are very uncommon or scarce. This designation may be applied to either a plant or animal taxon, and may be distinct from the term "endangered" or "threatened species" but not "extinct"....

, endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

, threatened, vulnerable), a plan can then be created to conserve and restore the species population to target levels. Examples of programmatic protection elements are: habitat restoration; protection of habitat from urban development; establishment of property ownership; limitations on grazing
Grazing generally describes a type of feeding, in which a herbivore feeds on plants , and also on other multicellular autotrophs...

 or other agricultural encroachment into habitat; reduction of slash and burn
Slash and burn
Slash-and-burn is an agricultural technique which involves cutting and burning of forests or woodlands to create fields. It is subsistence agriculture that typically uses little technology or other tools. It is typically part of shifting cultivation agriculture, and of transhumance livestock...

 agricultural practises; outlawing killing or collecting the species; restrictions on pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

 use; and control of other environmental pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

. The plan should also articulate which public and private agencies should implement the protection strategy and indicate budgets available to execute this strategy.

Habitat plans

Where a number of threatened species depend upon a specific habitat, it may be appropriate to prepare a habitat protection element of the Biodiversity Action Plan. Examples of such special habitats are: raised acidic bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

s of Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

; Waterberg Biosphere
Waterberg Biosphere
The Waterberg Biosphere is a massif of approximately 15,000 square kilometers in north Limpopo Province, South Africa. Waterberg is the first region in the northern part of South Africa to be named as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The extensive rock formation was shaped by hundreds of millions of...

The Bushveld is a sub-tropical woodland ecoregion of Southern Africa that encompasses most of Limpopo Province and a small part of the North West Province of South Africa, the Central and North-East Districts of Botswana and the Matabeleland South and part of th Matabeleland North provinces of...

 in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

; California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

’s coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

al wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s; and Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

’s Stora Alvaret
Stora Alvaret
The Stora Alvaret is a limestone barren plain on the island of Öland, Sweden. Because of the thin soil mantle and high pH levels, a great assortment of vegetation is found including numerous rare species. Stora Alvaret has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its...

 on the island of Öland
' is the second largest Swedish island and the smallest of the traditional provinces of Sweden. Öland has an area of 1,342 km² and is located in the Baltic Sea just off the coast of Småland. The island has 25,000 inhabitants, but during Swedish Midsummer it is visited by up to 500,000 people...

. In this case also, careful inventories of species and also the geographic extent and quality of the habitat must be documented. Then, as with species plans, a program can be created to protect, enhance and/or restore habitat using similar strategies as discussed above under the species plans.

Specific countries

Some examples of individual countries which have produced substantive Biodiversity Action Plans follow. It is worth noting that preparation of a country BAP may cost up to 100 million pounds sterling, with annual maintenance costs roughly ten percent of the initial cost. Obviously costs for countries with small geographical area or simplified ecosystems have a much lesser cost. For example the St. Lucia BAP has been costed in the area of several million pounds sterling.


Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 has developed a detailed and rigorous Biodiversity Action Plan, having identified a total of over 475,000 indigenous species. A key element of the BAP is protection of the Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world'slargest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately...

, which is actually in a much higher state of health than most of the world’s reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

s, Australia having one of the highest percentages of treated wastewater
Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. It comprises liquid waste discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties, industry, and/or agriculture and can encompass a wide range of potential contaminants and concentrations...

. There is, however,serious ongoing concerns, particularly in regards to the ongoing negative impact on water quality from land use practices. Also, climate change impact is feared to be significant.

Considerable analysis has been conducted on the sustainable yield of firewood
Firewood is any wood-like material that is gathered and used for fuel. Generally, firewood is not highly processed and is in some sort of recognizable log or branch form....

 production, a major threat to deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 in most tropical countries. Biological inventory work; assessment of harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

ing practices; and computer modeling of the dynamics of treefall, rot and harvest; have been carried out to adduce data on safe harvesting rates. Extensive research has also been conducted on the relation of brush clearance to biodiversity decline and impact on water table
Water table
The water table is the level at which the submarine pressure is far from atmospheric pressure. It may be conveniently visualized as the 'surface' of the subsurface materials that are saturated with groundwater in a given vicinity. However, saturated conditions may extend above the water table as...

s; for example, these effects have been analyzed in the Toolibin Lake
Toolibin Lake
Toolibin Lake is a 493 ha nature reserve containing a seasonal fresh to brackish water perched lake or wooded swamp, in south-western Australia. It lies about 200 km south-east of Perth, in the Shire of Narrogin, and 40 km east of the town of Narrogin, in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia...

 wetlands region.

New Zealand

New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 has ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity and as part of The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and Biodiversity Action Plans are implemented on ten separate themes.

Local government and some companies also have their own Biodiversity Action Plan.

St. Lucia

The St. Lucia BAP recognizes impacts of large numbers of tourists to the marine and coastal diversity of the Soufrière
Soufrière, Saint Lucia
Soufrière is a quarter on the Southwest coast of Saint Lucia in the West Indies. Soufrière was the former capital of Saint Lucia during times of French rule. It is now a small sleepy fishing port with an emerging tourism industry...

 area of the country. The BAP specifically acknowledges that the carrying capacity
Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment...

 for human use and water pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

 discharge of sensitive reef areas was exceeded by the year 1990. The plan also addresses conservation of the historic island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 industry. In 1992, several institutions in conjunction with native fishermen to produce a sustainable management plan for fishery resources, embodied in the Soufrière Marine Management Area.

The St. Lucia BAP features significant involvement from the University of the West Indies
University of the West Indies
The University of the West Indies , is an autonomous regional institution supported by and serving 17 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica,...

. Specific detailed attention is given to three species of threatened marine turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s, to a variety of vulnerable birds and a number of pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish live near the surface or in the water column of coastal, ocean and lake waters, but not on the bottom of the sea or the lake. They can be contrasted with demersal fish, which do live on or near the bottom, and reef fish which are associated with coral reefs.The marine pelagic...

es and cetaceans. In terms of habitat conservation
Habitat conservation
Habitat conservation is a land management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore, habitat areas for wild plants and animals, especially conservation reliant species, and prevent their extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range...

 the plan focusses attention on the biologically productive mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

A swamp is a wetland with some flooding of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a large number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp...

s and notes that virtually all mangrove areas had already come under national protection by 1984.


The Tanzania national BAP addresses issues related to sustainable use of Lake Manyara
Lake Manyara
Lake Manyara is a shallow lake in the Natron-Manyara-Balangida branch of the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania. Said by Ernest Hemingway to be the "loveliest [lake] .....

, an extensive freshwater lake, whose usage by humans accelerated in the period 1950 to 1990. The designation of the Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve combines conservation of the lake and surrounding high value forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s with sustainable use of the wetlands area and simple agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. This BAP has united principal lake users in establishing management targets. The Biosphere
The biosphere is the global sum of all ecosystems. It can also be called the zone of life on Earth, a closed and self-regulating system...

 Reserve has induced sustainable management of the wetlands, including monitoring groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 and the chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 of the escarpment
An escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that occurs from erosion or faulting and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.-Description and variants:...

 water source.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan
United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan
The United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan is the governmental response to the Convention on Biological Diversity signed in 1992. When the Biodiversity Action Plans were first published in 1994, the conservation of 391 species and 45 habitats was covered. 1,150 species and 65 habitats are...

 covers not only terrestrial species associated with lands within the UK, but also marine species and migratory
Bird migration
Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...

 birds, which spend a limited time in the UK or its offshore waters. The UK plan encompasses "391 Species Action Plans, 45 Habitat Action Plans and 162 Local Biodiversity Action Plans with targeted actions". This plan is noteworthy because of its extensive detail, clarity of endangerment mechanisms, specificity of actions, follow up monitoring program and its inclusion of migrating cetaceans and pelagic birds.

On August 28, 2007, the new Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) [launched in 1997] identified 1,149 species and 65 habitats in the UK that need conservation and greater protection. The updated list includes the hedgehog
A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae and the order Erinaceomorpha. There are 17 species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand . There are no hedgehogs native to Australia, and no living species native to the Americas...

, house sparrow
House Sparrow
The House Sparrow is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. One of about 25 species in the genus Passer, the House Sparrow occurs naturally in most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia...

, grass snake
Grass Snake
The grass snake , sometimes called the ringed snake or water snake is a European non-venomous snake. It is often found near water and feeds almost exclusively on amphibians.-Etymology:...

 and the garden tiger moth
Garden tiger moth
The garden tiger moth is a moth of the Arctiidae family.It has a wingspan of . The design of the wings varies: the front wings are brown with a white pattern , the back wings orange with a pattern of black dots. The conspicuous patterns serve as a warning to predators, because the moth's body...

, while otter
The Otters are twelve species of semi-aquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals....

s, bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin , instead of one...

s and red squirrel
Red Squirrel
The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus common throughout Eurasia...

s remained in need of habitat protection.

United States of America

Twenty-six years prior to the international biodiversity convention, the USA had launched a national program to protect threatened species in the form of the 1966 Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

. The legislation created broad authority for analyzing and listing species of concern, and mandated that Species Recovery Plans be created. Thus, while the USA is an unratified signer of the accord, arguably it has the longest track record and most comprehensive program of species protection of any country. There are approximately 7000 listed species (e.g. endangered or threatened), of which about half have approved Recovery Plans. While this number of species seems high compared to other countries, the value is rather indicative of the total number of species characterized, which is extremely large.


Five major divisions of habitat have been identified in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

’s BAP: Wetlands (including reed habitat and man-made marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

); desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 ecosystems (including sandy, stony and clay); steppes; riparian ecosystems; and mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 ecosystems. Over 27,000 species have been inventoried in the country, with a high rate of endemism for fishes and reptiles. Principal threats to biodiversity are related to human activities associated with overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

 and generally related to agricultural intensification. Major geographic regions encompassed by the BAP include the Aral Sea
Aral Sea
The Aral Sea was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south...

 Programme (threatened by long-term drainage and salination, largely for cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 production), the Nuratau Biosphere Reserve, and the Western Tien Shan Mountains Programme (in conjunction with Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 and Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...


Criticism of Biodiversity Action Plans

Some developing countries criticize the emphasis of BAPs, because these plans inherently favour consideration of wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

 and plant protection above food and industrial production, and in some cases may represent an obstacle to population growth. The plans are costly to produce, a fact which makes it difficult for many smaller countries and poorer countries to comply. In terms of the plans themselves, many countries have adopted pro-forma plans including little research and even less in the way of natural resource management. With regard to specific world regions, there is a notable lack of substantive participation by most of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern countries and much of Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the latter of which may be impeded by economic considerations of plan preparation. Some governments such as the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 have diverted the purpose of a Biodiversity Action Plan, and implemented the convention accord by a set of economic development policies with referencing certain ecosystems' protection.

Biodiversity planning: a new way of thinking

The definition of biodiversity under the Convention on Biological Diversity now recognises that biodiversity is a combination of ecosystem structure and function, as much as its components e.g. species, habitats and genetic resources. Article 2 states:

in addressing the boundless complexity of biological diversity, it has become conventional to think in hierarchical terms, from the genetic material within individual cells, building up through individual organisms, populations, species and communities of species, to the biosphere overall...At the same time, in seeking to make management intervention as efficient as possible, it is essential to take an holistic view of biodiversity and address the interactions that species have with each other and their non-living environment, i.e. to work from an ecological perspective.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development endorsed the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity to “achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of life on Earth”. To achieve this outcome, biodiversity management will depend on maintaining structure and function.

Biodiversity is not singularly definable but may be understood via a series of management principles under BAPs, such as:

1. that biodiversity is conserved across all levels and scales - structure, function and composition are conserved at site, regional, state and national scales.
2. that examples of all ecological communities are adequately managed for conservation.
3. ecological communities are managed to support and enhance viable populations of flora and fauna and ecological functions.

Biodiversity and wildlife are not the same thing. The traditional focus on threatened species in BAPs is at odds with the principles of biodiversity management because, by the time species become threatened, the processes that maintain biodiversity are already compromised. Individual species are also regarded as generally poor indicators of biodiversity when it comes to actual planning. A species approach to BAPs only serves to identify and at best, apply a patch to existing problems. Increasingly, biodiversity planners are looking through the lens of ecosystem services
Ecosystem services
Humankind benefits from a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services and include products like clean drinking water and processes such as the decomposition of wastes...

. Critics of biodiversity are often confusing the need to protect species (their intrinsic value) with the need to maintain ecosystem processes, which ultimately maintain human society and do not compromise economic development. Hence, a core principle of biodiversity management, that traditional BAPs overlook, is the need to incorporate cultural, social and economic values in the process.

Modern day BAPs use an analysis of ecosystem services
Ecosystem services
Humankind benefits from a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services and include products like clean drinking water and processes such as the decomposition of wastes...

, key ecological process drivers, and use species as one of many indicators of change. They would seek to maintain structure and function by addressing habitat connectivity and resilience and may look at communities of species (threatened or otherwise) as one method of monitoring outcomes. Ultimately, species are the litmus test for biodiversity - viable populations of species can only be expected to exist in relatively intact habitats. However, the rationale behind BAPs is to "conserve and restore" biodiversity. One of the fastest developing areas of management is biodiversity offsets. The principles are in keeping with ecological impact assessment, which in turn depends on good quality BAPs for evaluation. Contemporary principles of biodiversity management, such as those produced by the Business Biodiversity Offsets Program are now integral to any plans to manage biodiversity, including the development of BAPs.

See also

  • 2010 Biodiversity Target
    2010 biodiversity target
    The 2010 Biodiversity Target was an overall conservation target aiming to halt the decline of biodiversity by the end of 2010. The world largely failed to meet the target .-History of the 2010 Biodiversity Target:...

  • 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership
    2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership
    The Biodiversity Indicators Partnership brings together a host of international organizations working on indicator development, to provide the best available information on biodiversity trends to the global community. The Partnership was initially established to help monitor progress towards the...

  • Holocene extinction event
    Holocene extinction event
    The Holocene extinction refers to the extinction of species during the present Holocene epoch . The large number of extinctions span numerous families of plants and animals including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods; a sizeable fraction of these extinctions are occurring in the...

  • Climate Action Plan
    Climate Action Plan
    Climate Action PlanThe Climate Action Plan is a set of strategies intended to guide community efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Those strategies have focused on improving energy efficiency and conservation in our homes and businesses—the source of nearly three-fourths of local...

  • IUCN Red List
    IUCN Red List
    The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

  • Regional Red List
    Regional Red List
    A Regional Red List is a report of the threatened status of species within a certain country or region. It is based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an inventory of the conservation status of species on a global scale...

External links

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