Lush rainforest

featurewild files: partnering to protect biodiversity


Environmental impact assessments help us identify ways to avoid, reduce or offset potentially significant impacts.

To establish a "baseline"—a good understanding of pre-project conditions—a standardized methodology is needed to:

  • identify the biodiversity in a potential project location
  • inform impact assessment and identification of mitigation measures
  • monitor performance during project construction and operations
Bird perched on a branch

actions taken

We partnered with Conservation International (CI) to create a handbook for environmental field managers and professional biologists.

CI engaged multiple experts to develop a set of standardized methods for identifying and assessing a wide range of plants and animals.

These science-based methods can be conducted relatively rapidly and are adaptable to different environments.

conservation international


partners in more than 30 countries


protected areas in 77 countries

Environmental field managers setting up equipment


These methods were published for public use in 2016. They focus on tropical terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, including:

  • plants large mammals bats
  • small rodents birds reptiles
  • amphibians freshwater fish certain insects
Core Standardized Methods for Rapid Biological Field Assessment book cover

benefits of the field guide:

  • enables biodiversity data comparisons to other locations
  • using same methodology enables interpretation of how many species occur at a site
  • provides population-level abundance beyond presence-absence determination
  • enables better understanding of how biodiversity changes over time

Since 1991, CI's Rapid Assessment Program teams have conducted a variety of biodiversity surveys:

Exotic flower

in more than 123 terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments

Insect close up

leading to the discovery of more than 1,500 new species

Fish swimming through water

and the protection of 20 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas

our actions were consistent with our goal to conserve biodiversity: we strive to avoid or reduce the potential for significant impacts on sensitive species, habitats and ecosystems

Published: July 2018