Putting biodiversity on the map

Biodiversity is the foundation of functioning ecosystems and provides resources that humans need to survive and prosper. Whilst this simple fact is obvious, collective actions of people are driving biodiversity loss at an alarming rate. Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of this problem and a new enthusiasm for protecting biodiversity all over the world. Taking action on biodiversity conservation requires substantial investments from governments and businesses, and investments in turn require due diligence in terms of targeting and monitoring success. One tool that can help substantially in this, is the use of maps to record and monitor biodiversity within a framework that is open and accessible to policy makers, decision makers, and practitioners. In this talk I will give examples of mapping soil microbial biodiversity to illustrate how this can inform our valuation of the ecosystem services being delivered by soil microbes, specifically looking at carbon storage in this case. I will then show some progress on the development of standardised “essential biodiversity variables” (EBV) which can be used to produce biodiversity derived “data products” to a variety of end-users according to their needs.