The selection of biodiversity indicators for business landholdings

  • James Hildreth

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Businesses are seen as the next stage in delivering biodiversity improvements linked to local and UK Biodiversity Action Plans. Global discussion of biodiversity continues to grow, with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, updates to the Convention on Biological Diversity and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity being published during the time of this project. These publications and others detail the importance of biodiversity protection and also the lack of strategies to deliver this at an operational level. Pressure on UK landholding businesses is combined with significant business opportunities associated with biodiversity engagement. However, the measurement and reporting of biodiversity by business is currently limited by the complexity of the term and the lack of suitable procedures for the selection of metrics. Literature reviews identified confusion surrounding biodiversity as a term, limited academic literature regarding business and choice of biodiversity indicators. The aim of the project was to develop a methodology to enable companies to identify, quantify and monitor biodiversity.
Research case studies interviews were undertaken with 10 collaborating organisations, selected to represent =best practice‘ examples and various situations. Information gained through case studies was combined with that from existing literature. This was used to develop a methodology for the selection of biodiversity indicators for company landholdings. The indicator selection methodology was discussed during a second stage of case study interviews with 4 collaborating companies. The information and opinions gained during this research was used to modify the methodology and provide the final biodiversity indicator selection methodology.
The methodology was then tested through implementation at a mineral extraction site operated by a multi-national aggregates company. It was found that the methodology was a suitable process for implementation of global and national systems and conceptual frameworks at the practitioner scale. Further testing of robustness by independent parties is recommended to improve the system.
Date of Award15 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPeter D Hedges (Supervisor)


  • environmental management systems
  • biodiversity metrics
  • biodiversity action plan
  • corporate social responsibility
  • conservation

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