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:
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:
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.