Gaps in Knowledge and Research Needs

This chapter has attempted to assess biodiversity concepts and indicators relevant to monitoring progress in sustainable development at national to global scales. Although certain aspects of biodiversity have been well researched, key gaps remain in the information needed for policy purposes. These include better information on

• Functional relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services, and especially the presence of thresholds where these exist

• Genetic relatedness and redundancy within and between species

• Robust predictors, for all major ecosystem types in the differing parts of the world, of the consequences of major human activities, such as extensive and intensive agriculture, harvesting, settlement, and industrial pollution, on the various categories of biodiversity

• Consistent and reliable maps of land use (and ocean use) and species distributions at regional and global scales

• Historical ecology (in order to understand processes and construct baselines)

• Biodiversity observation and assessment systems for supplying consistent, long-term data for indicator construction

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