Science behind GLOBIO

The core of the GLOBIO model is a set of cause-effect relationships, describing the impact of five environmental drivers on biodiversity.

The drivers are:

  1. Land use
  2. Atmospheric nitrogen deposition
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Fragmentation
  5. Climate change


For each driver the cause–effect relationship is based on a quantitative synthesis of peer-reviewed literature (meta-analysis). Nearly 200 empirical studies were used on species composition in disturbed and undisturbed situations. Major species groups covered by these studies are birds, plants, mammals, reptiles and insects. For each study, values for the biodiversity indicator MSA were calculated:

  1. The abundance of each species, recorded as density, numbers, or relative cover, found in disturbed situations was divided by its abundance found in undisturbed situations.
  2. These values were truncated at 1.
  3. The mean and variance were calculated for all species considered in that study.
  4. Species not found in undisturbed vegetations were omitted.

Note that individual species responses are not modelled in GLOBIO. MSA represents the average response of the total set of species belonging to an ecosystem.