The Biodiversity for Food and Medicine Indicator has been developed by TRAFFIC in collaboration with the IUCN-SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group and with assistance from the IUCN Species Programme and BirdLife International.
Two indicators were developed to investigate the use of wildlife for food and medicine and the impacts on ecosystem integrity and ecosystem goods and services.
RED LIST INDEX (RLI)
This indicator provides a measure of change over time in the conservation status of animals used for food and medicine and a baseline for the conservation status of medicinal plants. Plants harvested for food have not been included; apart from medicinal use, collection of data on harvest for other purposes is not as advanced as for terrestrial animals. A Red List Index (RLI) for birds, mammals and amphibians used for food and medicine has been produced. This uses data from repeated assessments of the status of each species for the IUCN Red List, and illustrates overall trends in the extinction risk over time.
To complement the global approach based on the IUCN Red List, primary data from selected countries were collected to investigate how the accessibility of species used for food and medicine is changing over time for poorer people. Price data has been collected for food and medicine ‘baskets’ from markets in eight countries, representing Latin America, Africa and Asia, regions chosen for their high biodiversity. ‘Baskets’ represent commonly used wild food (animals) and medicinal (plants and animals) products, with different species selected for each country. Price data were collected from vendors at the markets for a standard unit of the goods (for example, a kilogramme, or an individual). In addition to current price for each product, vendors were asked to recall the price in 2000. Current and historical prices for locally relevant marker products (such as staple food products, for example rice, maize, domestic meat, and generic/manufactured medicines, for example aspirin) were also obtained for each country, in order to compare prices and/or affordability of these with those of the wildlife products. Other sources of published data for the selected countries were obtained for income.