Indicator species integrity score

The ability of indicator species to represent an intact ecosystem

An indicator species integrity score is intrinsic to the species, and its evolved niche in, sensitivity to, and fragility without, its natural ecosystem. It is generated from public data and/or traditional ecological knowledge.

The ISBM is designed to represent intact ecosystems, however, some easily-monitored indicator species may fail to adequately represent the ecosystem they are found in. Species that can live in contaminated systems will have a lower integrity score. Spotting one of those species gives only partial credit because the species could occur in an ecosystem that is not fully intact. However, species that are more representative may be difficult to monitor. To democratize the methodology for IP and LC which may be inexpert, or under-resourced monitors we have introduced an indicator species integrity score which allows for non-idealized observations in lieu of perfected data.

For instance, many IP may find a tapir easier to locate than a jaguar, and in many Indigenous nations across the Amazon, it is a totemic animal. However, it is not fully representative of an intact ecosystem, so it would have an integrity score of 0.5.

After generating a list of available Indicator species, they must also be ranked by their ability to represent the ecosystem with an integrity score between 0-1.0 where 1.0 indicates the full capability of representing the ecosystem. These scores will be used in Integrity calculation and must be supported by public data if available, and expert opinion when not, and will be reviewed by the VVB assigned to the project.

A sample species list with external data for ratings is provided in Appendix E.

Figure 12a: Indicator species integrity score example for Colombia

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