ETH Zurich Crowther Lab: SEED Biocomplexity Index

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Creating a holistic measure of Nature’s value

Despite a growing awareness of the unprecedented rate of collapse of biodiversity, there remains a lack in adequate data and methodologies to measure and value our natural systems. Existing approaches that quantify biodiversity do not represent the fullness of nature’s complexity. By being reductionist, they distort conservation outcomes and can even lead to perverse incentive structures.

 The SEED Biocomplexity Index aims to be a unique and innovative approach to overcome this challenge. The objective is to develop the world’s first globally standardized measure and assessment of the biological complexity for any terrestrial location on the planet. This index will be used to evaluate the health of biodiversity and monitor its changes over time. By developing a metric that can quantify and visualize a much more complete picture of biocomplexity, it aims to incentivize regenerative land use practices, bring greater accountability to nature supply chains, and drive holistic biodiversity valuation for markets. It therefore promotes a paradigm shift around how biodiversity should be understood and measured as a whole and interconnected system.

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There is no shortage of environmental and ecological data. The challenge is how to harness existing data to generate a more holistic measurement of biodiversity and how it is changing over time. Decades of ecological research shows that the true value of nature lies not in any one aspect, but the complex web of interactions it maintains - within and between species, and across ecosystems.