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The great advances in remote sensing techniques in recent years make it much easier than before to monitor the degree of forest fragmentation. The size and connectivity of forests are important in determining the value of any given area of forest in maintaining biodiversity and in its capacity to deliver ecosystem goods and services. Fragmentation is associated with a decrease in patch size and increasing isolation between habitat patches. Also, the size of core areas decreases, and the size of edge areas increases.

Based on published data from around the world, the Living Planet Index aggregates trends of some 3,000 wild populations of species. 4). Because of limitations in data availability, speciesrich tropical areas (particularly forests) are underrepresented in the Living Planet Index, and the data are limited to vertebrates. Efforts are underway to expand the data set and to include information on the distribution of selected populations of plant species. 7% per year between 1970 and 2000, with a particularly significant decline in the early 1990s.

Such indicators might include: trends in extent of selected biomes, ecosystems and habitats in certain types of ecosystems; trends in abundance and distribution of selected species; change in status of threatened species; and the Marine Trophic Index);  There are a number of indicators recommended for immediate testing for which available data cover too short a time period to determine current trends at the global level, or for which further indicator development work is required. (These include: Chapter 2 | Page 41 trends in genetic diversity of domesticated animals, cultivated plants, and fish species of major socioeconomic importance; area of forest, agricultural and aquaculture ecosystems under sustainable management; connectivity/fragmentation of ecosystems; and trends in invasive alien species).

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