Americas Biodiversity Metric 1.0

Measuring biodiversity value to create a nature positive future

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Objective and quantifiable biodiversity evaluation for sites across the Americas

The Americas Biodiversity Metric (metric), developed with support and guidance from NatureServe, is a free biodiversity quantification tool designed to measure the biodiversity value of sites across the Americas. By evaluating biodiversity value, the metric can be used to inform and enhance decision-making processes for land use planning, design, development siting, and land management. It can also be broadly applied to help organizations, businesses, governments, and other land-managing entities quantify and reduce impacts and deliver no net loss or net gain in biodiversity on their lands.
This first release of the metric focuses on habitats in the Northeastern US including New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, with the anticipated release later this year of the remaining US and Canadian habitats, as derived from the International Vegetation Classification (IVC), US National Vegetation Classification (USNVC), and Canadian National Vegetation Classification (CNVC) systems. The metric is underpinned by select Ecological Integrity Assessment (EIA) criteria developed by NatureServe.
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Quantifying biodiversity value can support strategic sustainability goals such as no net loss of biodiversity, biodiversity net gain, and nature positive.

Start quantifying biodiversity value now and achieve measurable net positive outcomes for nature.

Access the metric

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How does it work?
The metric is adapted from the UK’s Natural England's Biodiversity Metric 4.0, a biodiversity metric developed over more than a decade, incorporating extensive research and stakeholder engagement, and ultimately serving as the basis for England’s Statutory Biodiversity Metric to meet biodiversity net gain requirements. The Americas Biodiversity Metric uses a similar framework for assigning biodiversity value to habitats. It evaluates biodiversity value using the product of habitat size, quality (i.e., condition), conservation priority (i.e., global conservation status rank), and strategic significance (i.e., local importance/relevance for biodiversity).
Central to the metric is the understanding that habitats of larger size and higher quality can better support the range of species typically associated with a given habitat and thereby are of greater value to biodiversity.
The metric generates a score expressed in biodiversity units, which are used as a proxy for quantifying the biodiversity value of habitats. The metric can then be used to evaluate baseline biodiversity value, consistently track changes over time, perform alternative analyses, and support decision-making processes in alignment with the mitigation hierarchy, a framework for managing risks and potential impacts related to biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Built-in calculations promote the avoidance and minimization of impacts on biodiversity, while restoration favors habitat enhancement over creation, and onsite interventions are favored over offsite interventions (offsetting).
To note, the metric is not intended to evaluate species-level biodiversity or more comprehensive measures of ecological integrity. Instead, it largely relies on visual indicators of ecosystem health based on vegetation composition, structural elements, and anthropogenic disturbance characteristics. It also does not replace expert knowledge or override regulatory requirements.

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What are the applications?
1. Evaluating biodiversity value within a site or defined area
The metric allows users to quantify the biodiversity value of habitats within a defined area or site by calculating the number of biodiversity units before and after development. To do so, the metric employs common frameworks (e.g., global conservation status) and standard assessment methodologies (adapted from Ecological Integrity Assessment protocols), while allowing users to incorporate local considerations such as local habitat rarity or relative importance.
2. Comparing biodiversity value across different land use designs
The metric can be applied throughout land use planning and development siting decision-making processes, enabling developers and other stakeholders to make informed decisions in line with the mitigation hierarchy. The metric allows developers to assess land use and development plans from the context of biodiversity impacts, evaluate scenarios to minimize biodiversity loss, and if needed, help identify target locations, habitats, and actions to achieve no net loss or net gain in biodiversity. This decision-making support can be tied into broader strategic sustainability initiatives such as no net loss of biodiversity, biodiversity net gain, and nature positive. The metric enables standard quantification of biodiversity value that can be applied broadly across a diverse portfolio of sites, serving as a common language to evaluate and compare organizational assets.
3. Comparing biodiversity value before and after restoration
The metric may be incorporated into the habitat restoration process in multiple ways and at various stages. It can be applied before starting a restoration project to identify habitats in greatest need of intervention (i.e., restoration), and inform the restoration approach by helping to identify targeted actions, based on the habitat assessment criteria, to improve degraded ecosystem properties and functions. Applying the metric before the onset of restoration is also useful in establishing a baseline from which restoration success can be measured. Use of the metric may also be included as part of the restoration monitoring plan as a standard method to track progress and guide follow-up management actions to ensure restoration success.
4. Transparently measuring and disclosing no net loss or biodiversity net gain claims, in alignment with global reporting frameworks and policies
The metric has been designed to help developers achieve and document no net loss or net gains for biodiversity associated with their operational footprint. The no net loss and net gain concepts underpin nature positive outcomes (e.g., no net loss of nature from 2020, net positive from a 2020 baseline by 2030, and full recovery from 2050), and have been adopted by international organizations such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPEICA), and International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).
The metric provides a common, accepted framework for conducting biodiversity assessments and documenting biodiversity risks and opportunities across a corporate portfolio, and ensures a consistent methodology to monitor these impacts.
The metric can help companies demonstrate compliance with environmental regulations and international sustainability standards more effectively. Additionally, transparent reporting of positive environmental policies can enhance a company’s brand and reputation and showcase its commitment to sustainability. In this way, the metric enables companies to align with global initiatives and frameworks such as the European Union's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), and Science Based Targets Network (SBTN), by informing target setting, monitoring progress, and facilitating compliance with reporting and disclosure requirements.
  • : 501 habitat types
    are included in the metric, which uses IVC, incorporating USNVC, CNVC, and vegetation classification efforts extending into Latin America
  • : >85,000 species
    call these habitats home including 14,000 rare, threatened, or endangered species
  • : 15% of habitats
    globally are considered at risk

Downloads

  • Dan Rockefeller

    Senior Project Scientist, Biodiversity and Ecosystems

    +1 315-400-5898

  • Sara Copp Franz

    Managing Consultant, Biodiversity and Ecosystems

    +1 303-382-5486

  • Rodolfo Jaffe

    Managing Consultant

    +1 206-336-1655

Contact us

Do you have questions or comments on the metric? Email us at: americas.biometric@ramboll.com.