Nature underpins human existence. Maintaining the variety of life on earth – “biodiversity” – is crucial for the continuation of nature. But our increased pressure on the environment is pushing nature towards a tipping point, beyond which the amount of biodiversity lost will cause ecological collapse. How many ecosystems must be conserved to avoid crossing this boundary?
By convening over a hundred experts in African biodiversity, this project will produce a Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII) that monitors how much biodiversity remains intact in the face of human pressures across Africa. This continent-wide collaboration will channel biodiversity data from the notepads of experts into the hands of decision-makers, enabling them to navigate development equitably and sustainably.
Dr Hayley Clements is a researcher at the Center for Sustainability Transitions, Stellenbosch University. She is interested in understanding how biodiversity connects to human well-being, and the role of African wildlife economies in achieving just and sustainable development. Hayley applies social-ecological systems thinking to identify resilient and equitable conservation opportunities in a changing world. She is also affiliated with the University of Helsinki, researching the role of sustainable use in supporting biodiversity conservation, people and the economy in southern Africa.
The BII4Africa network brings together experts, institutions and initiatives who are monitoring biodiversity, with decision-makers from government, conservation organisations and other natural resource management organisations in Africa.
Biodiversity experts across the continent are contributing their knowledge to develop BII scores for Africa. Following engagement with decision-makers, the resulting index will be shared on this website in a usable and relevant format for application in sustainable decision-making.
This collaboration aims to transform the way Africa develops, by recognising the role of nature in human well-being to create a more sustainable future for the continent.
The Centre for Sustainability Transitions is a research and training centre that draws together researchers, students and practitioners interested complexity thinking, sustainability science and transdisciplinary research methodology.
The project is funded by the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Research Grant, which is awarded annually by Oppenheimer Generations to support a research programme focused on contributing to the advancement of environmental and allied sciences in Africa.
The artwork for this website has been created by Ezequiel Mabote. Born in Mozambique in 1979 and now based in Durban, South Africa, Ezequiel has been a printmaker and painter since 1999.
Ezequiel’s work has been exhibited locally and internationally, including at the BAT Centre (where he undertook an artist residency) and Elizabeth Gordan Gallery in Durban, “The Hall of Fame” at Bronx Community College New York, and Chicago’s Steele Life Galley.
His art pictures the rich natural landscapes of Africa, depicting people at work, leisure, and prayer in the environment. Ezequiel’s art can be viewed and purchased at MaboteArt.com and at King Shaka International Airport in Durban.