Tracking global change in ecosystem area: The Wetland Extent Trends index

M. J R Dixon, J. Loh, N. C. Davidson, C. Beltrame, R. Freeman, M. Walpole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a method for estimating broad trends in ecosystem area based on incomplete and heterogeneous data, developing a proof-of-concept for the first indicator of change in area of natural wetland, the Wetland Extent Trends (WET) index. We use a variation of the Living Planet Index method, which is used for measuring global trends in wild vertebrate species abundance. The analysis is based on a database containing 1100 wetland extent time-series records and the method identifies and addresses ecological and biogeographic biases in the dataset. Globally, the natural WET index, excluding human-made wetlands, declined by about 30% on average between 1970 and 2008. Declines varied between regions from about 50% in Europe to about 17% in Oceania over the same period. The WET index fills an important gap in the ecosystem coverage of global biodiversity indicators and can track changes related to a number of current international policy objectives. The same method could be applied to other datasets to create indicators for other ecosystems with incomplete global data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume193
Early online dateNov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2016

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global change
wetlands
wetland
ecosystems
ecosystem
index method
Pacific Ocean Islands
methodology
trend
index
time series analysis
vertebrate
planet
vertebrates
biodiversity
time series
method
indicator

Cite this

Dixon, M. J R ; Loh, J. ; Davidson, N. C. ; Beltrame, C. ; Freeman, R. ; Walpole, M. / Tracking global change in ecosystem area : The Wetland Extent Trends index. In: Biological Conservation. 2016 ; Vol. 193. pp. 27-35.
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Tracking global change in ecosystem area : The Wetland Extent Trends index. / Dixon, M. J R; Loh, J.; Davidson, N. C.; Beltrame, C.; Freeman, R.; Walpole, M.

In: Biological Conservation, Vol. 193, 01.01.2016, p. 27-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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