A recently published article authored by Professor Georgina Mace and fifteen others provides an interesting and important contribution to the ongoing debate surrounding the scientific definition of the biodiversity planetary boundary.
The authors list a number of important limitations to the original metric, which is based on links between ecosystem processes and the global species extinction rate. Among other criticisms, Mace et al point out that “a boundary based on species richness alone misses many more fundamental and persistent roles of broader sense diversity”, for instance related to abundance and community composition. As well as going on to suggest three possible approaches to the biodiversity metric, it is also highlighted that biodiversity plays a key role in interactions with the other planetary boundaries, thus making biodiversity a form of focal point for scientists and policymakers in supporting other planetary processes.
This article is clear evidence of the significant work that is going into refining the scientific analysis in the planetary boundaries conceptual framework.
Click here to download a copy of the article: Mace et al (August 2014).