In 2002, 190 countries committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional, and national levels.
The current loss of species is often called the "sixth extinction crisis". It is estimated to be between 100 and 1,000 times higher than the "background" or expected natural extinction rate.
As a response to this human caused decline of biodiversity and acknowledging that it will have severe consequences on human well being, politicians, scientists, and environmental organizations around the world agreed that measures need to be taken to protect the global fauna and flora from further decline.
At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, 190 countries committed themselves "to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth" (UNEP 2002). One year earlier, in 2001, the European Union adopted the more ambitious target "that biodiversity decline should be halted [...] by 2010" (European Council 2001).
To measure the progress towards the 2010 target, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a set of biodiversity indicators in 2004. To assess these indicators it is important to evaluate the status as well as the trend of species and habitats. Reliable estimates of status and trends of species and habitats can only be calculated from representative and statistically robust long-term monitoring data. Hence, monitoring species and habitats is a key component for indicator estimation and thus a basis for decision-making and future allocation of conservation effort.