Dr. PJ Stephenson

PJ is Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Species Monitoring Specialist Group (www.speciesmonitoring.org) which aims to enhance biodiversity conservation by improving the availability and use of data on species populations, their habitats and threats. The Group implements projects that deliver on five objectives relating to monitoring tools and methods, capacity building, data collection and use, databases, and poorly known taxa. His collaboration with the Laboratory for Conservation Biology in the Fumagalli Group aims to develop and implement research to enhance the science behind biodiversity monitoring.

PJ’s research interests include:

  • Understanding the challenges and costs of biodiversity monitoring and the taxonomic and geographic biases in data and capacity 
  • Developing and field testing tools and guidelines to enhance biodiversity monitoring in different environments for different stakeholders, especially for threatened species projects, protected areas and businesses 
  • Testing and comparing technological solutions for biodiversity monitoring, especially remote sensing (e.g. cameras, acoustic recording) and eDNA
  • Researching the scientific basis for monitoring (concepts of indigenous range and ecological function, uses for citizen science, etc)
  • Assessing drivers of success in conservation recovery programmes to identify factors that enhance impact
  • Filling data gaps for poorly known species (e.g. Afrotheria, invertebrates, plants).

Recent collaborative projects include:

A Global Audit of Biodiversity Monitoring to identify gaps in data and capacity worldwide. 
Main partners:
Birdlife International, IUCN, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, UNEP-WCMC, University of Cambridge, Zoological Society of London.
Science output:
Moussy, C., Burfield, I., Stephenson, P.J., Newton, A., Butchart, S.H.M., Sutherland, W., Gregory, R., McRae, L., Bubb, P., Roesler, I., Ursino, C., Wu, Y., Retief, E., Udin, J., Urazaliyev, R., Sanchez, L., Lartey, E. & Donald, P. (under revision). A quantitative global review of species population monitoring. Conservation Biology.

Identifying Data Gaps and Monitoring Challenges in Project Portfolio Reporting to review to identify taxonomic and geographic trends in the availability of biodiversity data in conservation project reports and databases. 
Main partner:
IUCN Save our Species Programme.
Science output:
Badalotti, A., van Galen, L., Vié, J.-C., & Stephenson, P.J. (in press). Improving the monitoring of conservation programmes: lessons from a grant-making initiative for threatened species. Oryx.

Biodiversity Monitoring and Reporting Frameworks for Business to develop IUCN Guidelines for Planning and Monitoring Biodiversity Performance. 
Main partners:
IUCN Global Business & Biodiversity Programme, Alcoa, Boskalis, Enel, Fauna & Flora International, Nespresso, University of Oxford, UNEP-WCMC.
Science outputs:
Addison, P.F.E., Stephenson, P.J., Bull, J.W., Carbone, G., Burgman, M., Burgass, M., Bubb, P., Gerber, L., Howard, P., McCormick, N., McRae, L., Reuter, K., Starkey, M.A. & Milner-Gulland, E.J. (2020). Bringing sustainability to life: A framework to guide biodiversity indicator development for business performance management. Business Strategy and the Environment. DOI: 10.1002/bse.2573
Stephenson, P.J. & Carbone, G. (2020). IUCN Guidelines for Planning and Monitoring Corporate Biodiversity Performance. Draft for Public Comment. IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme and IUCN SSC Species Monitoring Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

Improving capacity for protected area management in Ghana to enhance the conservation of forest and estuarine ecosystems in Ghana by improving capacity for evidence-based protected area management. We are developing and testing species monitoring tools that meet local and global policy makers’ needs at two sites and training protected area managers and NGO staff, as well as developing university field courses for Ghanaian students. 
Main partners:
Centre for African Wetlands, University of Ghana, Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, local communities
Science outputs:
Data being analysed; papers and protected area monitoring protocols under development.

Developing and Testing Standards for an IUCN Green Status of Species (formerly the IUCN Green List of Species) to enhance the value of this new tool in monitoring biodiversity and supporting conservation planning and decision-making. 
Main partner:
IUCN Species Conservation Success Task Force.
Science outputs:
Akçakaya, H.R., Bennett, E.L., Brooks, T.M., Grace, M.K., Heath, A., Hedges, S., Hilton-Taylor, C., Hoffmann, M.K., Keith, D.A., Long, B., Mallon, D.P., Meijaard, E., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Rodriguez, J.P., Stephenson, P.J., Stuart, S.N. & Young R.P. (2018). Quantifying species recovery and conservation success to develop an IUCN Green List of Species. Conservation Biology, 32: 1128-1138. 
Akçakaya, H.R., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Keith, D.A., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Sanderson, E.W., Hedges, S., Mallon, D.P., Grace, M.K., Long, B., Meijaard, E., & Stephenson, P.J. (2020). Assessing ecological function in the context of species recovery. Conservation Biology, 34(3): 561-571. 
Grace, M.K., Akçakaya, H.R., Bennett, E.L., Brooks, T.M., Heath, A., Hedges, S., Hilton-Taylor, C., Hoffmann, M., Hochkirch, A., Jenkins, R., Keith, D.A., Long, B.,  Mallon, D.P., Meijaard, E., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Nieto, A., Rodrigues, A.S.L, Rodriguez, J.P.,  Stephenson, P.J., Stuart, S.N., Young, R.P., et al. (under review). Testing a global standard for quantifying species recovery and assessing conservation impact. Conservation Biology
Stephenson, P.J., Grace, M.K., Akçakaya, H.R., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Long, B., Mallon, D.P., Meijaard, E., Rodriguez, J.P., Young, R.P., Brooks, T.M. & Hilton-Taylor, C. 2019. Defining the indigenous ranges of species to account for geographic and taxonomic variation in the history of human impacts. Conservation Biology, 33(5): 1211–1213. 
Stephenson, P.J., Workman, C., Grace, M.K. & Long, B. (2020). Testing the IUCN Green List of Species. Oryx, 54(1): 10-11.

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