Canadian species index

Access PDF (858 kB)

Animal wildlife is highly valued by Canadians and it is one of the most visible and well-studied aspects of biodiversity. The Canadian species index shows whether monitored species tend to have increasing or decreasing population sizes. This, in turn, provides an integrated measure of the condition of our environment.

Results

Key results

  • Between 1970 and 2014, vertebrate populations have, on average, declined by about 10%.
  • Freshwater species trends varied over time and by 2014 showed little net change.
  • Terrestrial species have declined on average, and by 2014 were about 10% below the 1970 baseline, mainly due to declines in mammal populations.
  • Marine species generally increased in the 1970s and then declined. Trends vary among groups of species. The 2 largest species groups are fish, which showed a downward trend after 1975, and birds, which generally increased. Short-term trends should be interpreted with caution.

Canadian species index, 1970 to 2014 (1970 = 0)

Canadian species index, 1970 to 2014 (see long description below)
Long description

Overall, the trend for monitored vertebrate species in Canada shows a gradual decline. Three sub-indices are also shown. The marine sub-index shows an initial increase and then declines. The freshwater sub-index shows some fluctuation, but ends near baseline values. The terrestrial sub-index shows a general decline.

Data for this chart
Table 1. Canadian species index, 1970 to 2014 (1970 = 0)
Year National index Terrestrial index Freshwater index Marine index Number of species
1970 0 0 0 0 419
1971 0.00093 -0.00609 0.00321 0.01907 430
1972 0.00124 -0.01269 0.00263 0.03726 429
1973 0.00069 -0.01856 -0.00054 0.05026 449
1974 -0.00182 -0.02760 -0.00360 0.06060 459
1975 -0.00365 -0.03297 -0.00612 0.06494 472
1976 -0.00636 -0.03590 -0.01177 0.06416 459
1977 -0.00921 -0.03789 -0.01842 0.06196 465
1978 -0.01035 -0.03735 -0.02158 0.05888 461
1979 -0.01095 -0.03743 -0.02394 0.05846 465
1980 -0.01078 -0.03590 -0.02552 0.05800 473
1981 -0.01086 -0.03392 -0.02657 0.05581 474
1982 -0.01348 -0.03677 -0.02721 0.05226 476
1983 -0.01521 -0.03859 -0.02691 0.04902 494
1984 -0.01315 -0.03473 -0.02257 0.04684 512
1985 -0.01113 -0.03212 -0.01911 0.04792 520
1986 -0.01000 -0.02723 -0.01602 0.04402 511
1987 -0.01469 -0.02786 -0.02032 0.03478 536
1988 -0.01756 -0.02763 -0.02181 0.02769 501
1989 -0.02016 -0.02562 -0.02351 0.01890 533
1990 -0.02060 -0.02246 -0.01766 0.01033 515
1991 -0.02287 -0.02168 -0.01976 0.00414 542
1992 -0.02567 -0.02372 -0.02107 -0.00043 537
1993 -0.02438 -0.02677 -0.01081 0.00040 576
1994 -0.02018 -0.02948 0.00249 0.00697 563
1995 -0.01837 -0.03023 0.00751 0.00986 586
1996 -0.01855 -0.02748 -0.00010 0.01151 559
1997 -0.01933 -0.02542 -0.01064 0.01463 548
1998 -0.02246 -0.02730 -0.02024 0.01529 574
1999 -0.02519 -0.03414 -0.02130 0.01691 552
2000 -0.02825 -0.04157 -0.02032 0.01699 573
2001 -0.03143 -0.05075 -0.01697 0.01782 557
2002 -0.03322 -0.05331 -0.01398 0.01295 585
2003 -0.03352 -0.05102 -0.01251 0.00699 626
2004 -0.03383 -0.04624 -0.01107 -0.00150 634
2005 -0.03353 -0.04249 -0.01212 -0.00429 674
2006 -0.03274 -0.04052 -0.00988 -0.00682 621
2007 -0.03152 -0.03877 -0.00757 -0.00777 643
2008 -0.03216 -0.03823 -0.00727 -0.01092 608
2009 -0.03107 -0.03810 -0.00646 -0.00944 609
2010 -0.03002 -0.03928 -0.00279 -0.00851 601
2011 -0.02877 -0.04039 0.00163 -0.00776 605
2012 -0.03295 -0.04343 0.00667 -0.01869 589
2013 -0.04010 -0.04415 0.00619 -0.03581 527
2014 -0.04623 -0.04512 0.00705 -0.05023 542

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.63 kB)

Note: Trends are calculated based on the proportional change in population size for monitored vertebrate species. All species are weighted equally, such that a species that doubled in population would be balanced out by a species that declined by half. Results are plotted on a ratio (logarithmic) scale; 0.06 represents about a 15% increase from the baseline and -0.06 represents about a 13% decline.
Source: Zoological Society of London, 2017.

More information

The freshwater trend is a balance between increases in waterfowl, which have benefitted from initiatives such as the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and generally declining population trends of other freshwater species.

The sharp decrease in marine species after 2011 occurred when birds, mammals and fish were all declining at the same time. This short-term trend should be interpreted with caution.

The national trend is the average of the trends for all vertebrates; that is, it is the average rate of change across species. Data are not available for all species, and existing data do not always cover the geographic range of each species or the whole time period. The index should be interpreted keeping these limitations in mind.

Bird and mammal species are well represented. Many fish species are included, but the proportion of fish species included is low because in Canada there are more species of fish than there are species of all other vertebrates combined.

Although averaging the trends of many species provides an overall picture, it is important to look for smaller-scale patterns that may have been masked. For example, if we consider taxonomic groups within the marine index, quite different patterns can be seen for birds and fish. By 2014, the marine bird index had increased to an average of 175% of the 1970 levels, while the fish index had declined to around 70% of the 1970 levels.Footnote1

Canadian species index for marine birds and fish, 1970 to 2014 (1970 = 0)

Canadian species index for marine birds and fish, 1970 to 2014 (see long description below)
Long description

The marine bird index shows a mainly upward trend beginning in 1970. The marine fish index increases until 1975 and then shows a mainly decreasing trend.

Data for this chart
Table 2. Canadian species index, marine species by taxonomic group, 1970 to 2014
Year Marine bird index Number of bird species Marine fish index Number of fish species Marine mammal index Number of mammal species
1970 0 21 0 75 0 4
1971 0.02444 21 0.01851 81 0.00134 4
1972 0.05690 21 0.03398 72 0.00903 5
1973 0.08686 25 0.04189 83 0.03648 7
1974 0.10989 25 0.04768 96 0.06181 5
1975 0.12075 33 0.04970 84 0.07442 5
1976 0.12448 26 0.04699 91 0.07927 5
1977 0.12824 28 0.04276 89 0.07855 9
1978 0.13413 25 0.03632 97 0.08008 7
1979 0.14270 25 0.03211 100 0.09165 5
1980 0.15287 26 0.02758 100 0.10138 5
1981 0.16245 26 0.02110 102 0.10781 4
1982 0.16899 26 0.01397 108 0.10988 7
1983 0.17333 26 0.00824 113 0.10892 4
1984 0.17812 25 0.00427 134 0.10311 7
1985 0.18497 36 0.00452 115 0.09585 7
1986 0.19212 26 -0.00236 117 0.09177 6
1987 0.18009 27 -0.01204 144 0.10061 8
1988 0.18806 27 -0.02512 111 0.12005 14
1989 0.19610 27 -0.04016 136 0.12824 13
1990 0.20194 26 -0.05422 108 0.13579 13
1991 0.20438 26 -0.06407 139 0.14210 9
1992 0.20550 26 -0.07063 111 0.14155 12
1993 0.20805 27 -0.06980 140 0.13850 14
1994 0.21195 26 -0.06150 118 0.13675 15
1995 0.21528 37 -0.06031 114 0.14819 13
1996 0.21801 26 -0.06090 113 0.16128 14
1997 0.22221 27 -0.06053 88 0.17911 15
1998 0.22739 26 -0.06283 120 0.18842 16
1999 0.23352 29 -0.06459 90 0.20235 16
2000 0.23558 31 -0.06872 114 0.21202 13
2001 0.24462 32 -0.07240 90 0.21024 15
2002 0.23661 31 -0.07821 111 0.20881 12
2003 0.21803 31 -0.08145 155 0.20874 13
2004 0.21902 32 -0.09585 166 0.22693 15
2005 0.21988 42 -0.10174 188 0.24276 14
2006 0.22429 29 -0.10682 176 0.26004 12
2007 0.22811 32 -0.10986 206 0.27931 13
2008 0.23537 35 -0.11533 178 0.28614 11
2009 0.24543 33 -0.11505 178 0.28665 13
2010 0.25752 32 -0.11510 176 0.27883 16
2011 0.26376 32 -0.11344 180 0.25689 14
2012 0.26463 29 -0.12374 176 0.19777 7
2013 0.25400 18 -0.14142 169 0.18168 8
2014 0.24326 18 -0.15545 176 0.14216 6

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.35 kB)

Note: Trends are calculated based on the proportional change in population size for monitored vertebrate species in the selected groups. Results are plotted on a ratio (logarithmic) scale.
Source: Zoological Society of London, 2017.

In addition to reflecting environmental trends, indices may reflect changes in data availability. This complicates the interpretation of short-term patterns. For example, a rapid change in the freshwater index beginning in 1992 occurred at a time when data availability increased. Changes in the trajectory may be due to genuine environmental change or may occur because species with diverging patterns have been added to the index. Often, these effects are both present.

The Canadian species index is broadly similar to the Living Planet Index. At the global scale, the Living Planet Index shows a strong decline in vertebrate populations in terrestrial, marine and, especially, freshwater biomes. The Living Planet Index for Canada (2017) uses the same methods as the Canadian Species Index and reports different sub-indices.

About the indicator

About the indicator

What the indicator measures

The Canadian species index represents the average proportional change in the sizes of Canadian vertebrate species' populations. The index is a "trend of trends", rather than a measure of changes in the total number of animals: each species, whether it is common or rare, has the same effect on the index. The index reports general trends rather than progress towards desired levels. The national index contains data for 900 of the nearly 2000 native vertebrate species in Canada.

Why this indicator is important

Animal wildlife populations depend on the availability of suitable habitat. This indicator shows trends in animal populations and is a good proxy measure of overall trends in biodiversity and ecosystem health. This indicator also supports the measurement of progress towards the following 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy long-term goal: All species have healthy and viable populations.

Related indicators

Species at risk population trends follows changes in the population size and distribution of species at risk that are managed under the Species at Risk Act.

Status of wild species in Canada reports extinction risks across a broad set of species.

Trends in Canada's migratory bird populations tracks population size changes in birds that migrate different distances.

Data sources and methods

Data sources and methods

Data sources

Data on changes in the size of vertebrate populations are gathered from a variety of sources and collated in the Living Planet Database by the Zoological Society of London. Sources include the peer-reviewed scientific literature, government reports, and reliable online databases. Examples of important sources for Canada include the North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Library.

More information

Data include counts of individuals, as well as proxy measurements such as indices of abundance, spawning density, or detection rates of individuals. Each record is also tagged with geographical and ecological information to allow for further analysis. Together, these records form the data set used to calculate the index.

At least some information for 900 (50%) of the 1794 regularly occurring native vertebrate speciesFootnote2 found in Canada has been captured in the data set. Birds are the best represented species group.

The index has been calculated for the period 1970 to 2014, the time period where sufficient data exist for credible estimates.

Methods

The trend in the population size of each species is estimated using all the information available for that particular species. This may include just one measurement, or a combination of measurements from different populations of the same species. These trends are averaged across all species to generate the Canadian species index.

More information

Data collection and tagging

For use in the index, the time series drawn from Canadian data contained in the Zoological Society of London database must meet all of the following criteria:

  • contain data for at least 2 points in time since 1970
  • have been collected for a defined population using comparable methods across years
  • use units of population size or a reliable proxy, such as spawning biomass or density
  • have a referenced and traceable source

Each time series is referred to as a "population" although they may not be populations in the biological sense of the term.

Population data have been gathered from the literature and by performing online searches and by contacting experts. Birds have been monitored at the national level for decades and high-quality data are readily available for this species group. Fewer data are available for other species groups. To help address the imbalance in the data available for the different species groups, targeted searches were carried out for under-represented groups. Searches were also conducted to locate data for under-represented regions.

Each record is tagged with contextual information such as geographical region, species group, and habitat type, for example. Data tags allow a subset of the database to be extracted for targeted analysis. Information for these tags is drawn from the original data source if possible; however, additional reference material is also used. Species that occur in more than one ecosystem type (terrestrial, freshwater or marine) are tagged as belonging to the ecosystem in which they were observed and on which they rely for at least part of their life cycle. For example, a time series containing counts of salmon spawning in rivers would be considered freshwater, while one containing observations at sea would be considered marine.

Preprocessing

Species selection

Data for the overall index were restricted to vertebrate species that regularly occur in Canada. Classification was based on Wild Species 2005 and 2010 reports. Species assessed as "invasive" or "accidental" were excluded.

Increasing population sizes are generally interpreted as a sign of environmental improvement. However, a few bird species are known to have a population size that is above acceptable bounds (see Population status of Canada's migratory birds), and for these species, an increase in population is a negative outcome. Three species, Snow Goose (both subspecies), Ross's Goose and Canada Goose,Footnote3 have been excluded from the index for this reason.

In a few cases (6 time series, 3 species),Footnote4 data could not be clearly assigned to a particular species because of changes in taxonomy, and therefore these time series were excluded.

Population modelling

For each population, a record of abundance over years is created. Modelling is used to reduce the effect of random variations and measurement noise. For time series containing at least 6 data points, trends were modelled using Generalised Additive Modelling. For shorter time series, and for any series that could not be modelled with Generalised Additive Modelling, a linear regression model was used. For time series with only 2 data values, this is equivalent to a straight line connecting the 2 points. Time series are not extrapolated beyond the start and end date of observations.

In some years and for some time series, a zero value has been recorded. In a few cases, this may be due to a local extinction, but more often, it is because animals are not observed. A failure to observe animals may be because there are few animals to observe, which is a genuine signal of low numbers. It could also mean the animals were simply not detected. This might happen, for example, if unusual weather conditions made movement patterns unpredictable, in which case a zero would represent a missing value. For the purposes of the indicator, zeros have been treated as missing values, resulting in a conservative estimate of change.

Calculation of the index

Trends within a time series

For each time series, proportional change dt is calculated for each year for which data exist, as follows:

dt = log10(Nt /N(t-1))

where:

Nt = modelled population size estimate in year t

N(t-1) = modelled population size estimate in year t-1

Index calculation

  • For species with more than one time series, the average proportional change (lambda, λ) is calculated for each year across all time series (including all subspecies) for that species. Formally, for species i in year t:
Index calculation

where:

λi,t = average proportional change for species i in year t

di,j,t = proportional change for time series j, for species i in year t

m = number of time series for species i in year t

For a species with only one time series,

  • The overall annual change is calculated as the average lambda across all species with data for that time step. In other words, the index for 2014 is the average  for all species with population estimates in 2013 and 2014. Species are weighted equally, regardless of data availability.
  • The index for a particular year is the sum of annual changes since 1970.

Percentage changes are calculated by taking the antilog of the index.

Sub-indices are calculated using the same methodology, but for a selected subset of species.

Assessment of uncertainty

The degree of variability within the species-level lambdas for a given year provides an indication of whether trends are similar across the species included in the index. A narrow interval means that most species are changing by similar proportions, while a wide interval means that there is a wide range of patterns. Because indexed species are not a random or representative selection of the species in the environment, this can only be a partial assessment of uncertainty. The uncertainty due to a non-representative sample of species cannot be measured.

Distribution of species-level lambda values, 1970 to 2014

The dots show the average annual lambda across all species; vertical bars show the standard deviation of average annual lambda across all species.

Distribution of species-level lambda values, 1970 to 2014 (see long description below)
Long description

Four charts (national top left, terrestrial top right, freshwater bottom left and marine bottom right) show the average and standard deviation of the annual lambda across all species. For the national index, the average annual lambda fluctuates around zero over time, and is generally slightly negative. The standard deviation is roughly the same for each year. For the terrestrial species index, the average annual lambda fluctuates over time, and is generally slightly negative. The standard deviation is similar across years. For the freshwater species index, the average annual lambda fluctuates over time; more years are slightly negative until around 2000, when values are more often positive. The standard deviation is higher for the second half of this time series. For the marine species index, the average annual lambda is generally positive until 1975, after which it is mainly negative until the early 1990s. Values are mainly slightly positive for about a decade, and then are mainly negative, becoming strongly negative in the last 3 years of the series. The standard deviation is generally higher than for other ecosystem types.

Data for this chart
Table 3. Species-level lambda values, standard deviation and number of species contributing to indices
Year National index, average lambda National index, standard deviation National index, number of species Terrestrial index, average lambda Terrestrial index, standard deviation Terrestrial index, number of species
1970 n/a n/a 419 n/a n/a 237
1971 0.000933 0.058524 430 -0.006090 0.049920 242
1972 0.000310 0.056476 429 -0.006600 0.050108 245
1973 -0.000560 0.058232 449 -0.005870 0.051287 249
1974 -0.002500 0.054278 459 -0.009040 0.053918 250
1975 -0.001840 0.047345 472 -0.005370 0.047116 254
1976 -0.002700 0.041464 459 -0.002930 0.038787 247
1977 -0.002850 0.047247 465 -0.001990 0.050388 249
1978 -0.001150 0.043653 461 0.000548 0.042319 245
1979 -0.000590 0.036872 465 -0.000080 0.030584 247
1980 0.000172 0.035672 473 0.001522 0.032618 249
1981 -0.000082 0.037185 474 0.001982 0.035328 249
1982 -0.002630 0.044215 476 -0.002850 0.044869 245
1983 -0.001730 0.043117 494 -0.001820 0.041594 254
1984 0.002064 0.050115 512 0.003865 0.055055 249
1985 0.002018 0.047430 520 0.002604 0.054640 258
1986 0.001132 0.049571 511 0.004888 0.048414 256
1987 -0.004690 0.051398 536 -0.000630 0.023069 256
1988 -0.002870 0.047221 501 0.000233 0.038886 248
1989 -0.002600 0.047341 533 0.002006 0.041261 254
1990 -0.000430 0.050438 515 0.003161 0.034226 264
1991 -0.002270 0.045203 542 0.000782 0.044405 266
1992 -0.002800 0.043322 537 -0.002040 0.043405 264
1993 0.001288 0.060552 576 -0.003050 0.037638 269
1994 0.004199 0.062742 563 -0.002710 0.044753 271
1995 0.001811 0.049341 586 -0.000750 0.034239 280
1996 -0.000180 0.061408 559 0.002745 0.045110 271
1997 -0.000780 0.055231 548 0.002065 0.045912 281
1998 -0.003120 0.060931 574 -0.001880 0.047419 275
1999 -0.002730 0.052758 552 -0.006840 0.040958 281
2000 -0.003060 0.051086 573 -0.007430 0.050475 280
2001 -0.003180 0.067504 557 -0.009180 0.063524 279
2002 -0.001790 0.055315 585 -0.002560 0.038883 275
2003 -0.000290 0.087840 626 0.002291 0.045101 269
2004 -0.000320 0.072640 634 0.004778 0.041182 271
2005 0.000304 0.061717 674 0.003752 0.031508 273
2006 0.000790 0.056466 621 0.001969 0.035861 263
2007 0.001220 0.044739 643 0.001749 0.032300 262
2008 -0.000640 0.048199 608 0.000535 0.025482 251
2009 0.001092 0.049121 609 0.000130 0.029182 251
2010 0.001049 0.047328 601 -0.001180 0.027069 250
2011 0.001247 0.050440 605 -0.001110 0.033687 248
2012 -0.004180 0.070602 589 -0.003040 0.066169 245
2013 -0.007150 0.061849 527 -0.000720 0.026604 232
2014 -0.006130 0.061709 542 -0.000970 0.029333 232
Table 4. Species-level lambda values, standard deviation and number of species contributing to indices
Year Freshwater index, average lambda Freshwater index, standard deviation Freshwater index, number of species Marine index, average lambda Marine index, standard deviation Marine index, number of species
1970 n/a n/a 83 n/a n/a 100
1971 0.003209 0.072907 84 0.019068 0.078881 106
1972 -0.000570 0.055298 87 0.018189 0.074600 98
1973 -0.003170 0.030530 86 0.013006 0.081197 115
1974 -0.003060 0.021661 84 0.010340 0.067792 126
1975 -0.002520 0.023655 97 0.004336 0.058898 122
1976 -0.005650 0.033131 91 -0.000780 0.051049 122
1977 -0.006650 0.034253 91 -0.002200 0.050348 126
1978 -0.003160 0.030211 88 -0.003080 0.053150 129
1979 -0.002360 0.028524 89 -0.000420 0.048866 130
1980 -0.001580 0.022597 94 -0.000460 0.045895 131
1981 -0.001060 0.025227 94 -0.002190 0.045993 132
1982 -0.000630 0.028074 91 -0.003550 0.051117 141
1983 0.000294 0.029095 98 -0.003240 0.052176 143
1984 0.004346 0.039020 98 -0.002180 0.048426 166
1985 0.003454 0.042823 105 0.001086 0.040589 158
1986 0.003095 0.049498 108 -0.003900 0.054400 149
1987 -0.004300 0.040624 102 -0.009230 0.078878 179
1988 -0.001490 0.028555 103 -0.007100 0.063753 152
1989 -0.001690 0.024964 104 -0.008790 0.061620 176
1990 0.005843 0.066078 105 -0.008570 0.055600 147
1991 -0.002100 0.042925 103 -0.006180 0.047396 174
1992 -0.001310 0.031176 125 -0.004570 0.049378 149
1993 0.010261 0.086692 128 0.000827 0.062261 181
1994 0.013306 0.091117 134 0.006570 0.058641 159
1995 0.005018 0.063880 143 0.002892 0.056369 164
1996 -0.007610 0.073933 136 0.001649 0.070776 153
1997 -0.010550 0.069966 138 0.003118 0.053735 130
1998 -0.009600 0.083413 138 0.000662 0.055578 162
1999 -0.001070 0.069933 136 0.001614 0.051927 136
2000 0.000983 0.053296 134 0.000086 0.050373 159
2001 0.003348 0.057190 141 0.000824 0.080258 138
2002 0.002989 0.057260 155 -0.004870 0.073208 155
2003 0.001474 0.134962 159 -0.005960 0.083864 200
2004 0.001434 0.066574 151 -0.008490 0.102688 214
2005 -0.001050 0.063999 160 -0.002790 0.082323 245
2006 0.002243 0.075059 144 -0.002530 0.063818 218
2007 0.002306 0.049205 137 -0.000950 0.054711 251
2008 0.000303 0.045761 138 -0.003140 0.065009 224
2009 0.000814 0.057078 139 0.001478 0.060182 224
2010 0.003667 0.054047 132 0.000931 0.059050 224
2011 0.004425 0.048627 137 0.000747 0.065224 226
2012 0.005040 0.047651 135 -0.010930 0.084366 212
2013 -0.000490 0.044590 105 -0.017120 0.087764 195
2014 0.000863 0.037377 114 -0.014420 0.088115 200

Note: n/a = not applicable.

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 5.26 kB)

Source: Zoological Society of London, 2017.

Caveats and limitations

The Canadian species index has been developed from the Living Planet Index, originally conceived by the World Wildlife Fund and now developed in partnership with the Zoological Society of London. The index is based on a peer-reviewed methodFootnote5 that can integrate many types of population measurements. The methodology for the Canadian species index has been improved and revised, and results should not be directly compared to the Living Planet Index.

The index uses previously collected data, and is therefore biased towards certain species. These include species that are easy to observe, species that are managed for human use or for conservation and species with aesthetic appeal. Birds are well represented, but most other vertebrate groups are not. Some species are represented by data that come from a local study involving a small part of the total population. While there is considerable uncertainty in the trends for these species, combining data for many species leads to more interpretable results.

 

More information

The index is descriptive. Because the underlying data have been collected for other purposes, the set of species contained in the index has unknown sampling biases. For this reason, it does not meet the requirement for randomized sampling that is necessary for traditional statistical hypothesis testing, and changes in the index cannot be said to be statistically significant. Trends in the index do provide an indication of trends in the environment, and can be used to identify where additional analysis or information is required.

Averaging trends across all populations within each species can obscure important variability between subspecies, varieties, or geographic regions. Averaging trends across species may also obscure important information. Analysis of different parts of the data set can help uncover these patterns.

Population size measurements always include some uncertainty, because not every individual animal can be found and counted at every sampling interval. The effect of uncertainty in measurement cannot be separated from genuine changes in population sizes. Random variability may lead to a few more or less individuals being counted. If this variability leads to a large proportional change, as is the case when the average number of individuals found is small, the resulting uncertainty in the index can be large. However, measurement uncertainty does average out over longer time series and over species. For this reason, interpretation of small subsets of data must be done with an understanding of the context of the biology of the species that are included and the strengths and weaknesses of the monitoring protocols.

Only vertebrate species are included in the index, because they are the only group with sufficient population-level data. Invertebrates and plants tend to be monitored using area of occurrence, a type of data not readily integrated into the index.

Resources

Resources

References

Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (2006) Wild Species 2005: The General Status of Species in Canada. National General Status Working Group. Retrieved in August 2017.

Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (2011) Wild Species 2010: The General Status of Species in Canada. National General Status Working Group. Retrieved in August 2017.

Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (2017) Wild Species 2015: The General Status of Species in Canada. National General Status Working Group. Retrieved in August 2017.

Collen B et al. (2009) Monitoring Change in Vertebrate Abundance: the Living Planet Index. Conservation Biology 23(2): 317-327.

Related information

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: