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Wetland Extent Trends (WET) Index

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M.J.R. Dixon et al.

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 verte ...

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DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.10.023

Last Update: 2016

Data analysis Ecosystem structure Freshwater

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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.

Contact person: M.J.R. Dixon
Contact e-mail: mjrdixon@icloud.com
Contact institute: United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
URL(s): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2015.10.023
https://www.unep-wcmc.org/news/new-wetland-indicator-reveals-decline-in-global-extent-of-natural-wetland

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