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Monitoring wildlife – a partnership approach

News Item 2018

Monitoring wildlife – a partnership approach

Building on JNCC’s long-standing partnerships with UK experts in biodiversity monitoring and policy, we hosted our annual Terrestrial Evidence Partnership of Partnerships (TEPoP) conference in October. The one-day conference brought together partners involved in running and using the results from JNCC co-funded surveillance schemes. The experts gathered to discuss issues and share ideas around topical monitoring issues. Workshops, throughout the day, explored themes such as working with volunteers and making better use of Earth Observation data. 

Partnership working is an area that we greatly value at JNCC and consequently an area in which we hold considerable expertise and experience. The crucial role of partnership work at JNCC is perhaps no better illustrated than in the field of biodiversity monitoring. We work closely with a range of non-governmental organisations and research organisations to run schemes that monitor a wide variety of wildlife. In turn these schemes are reliant on a vast and invaluable network of volunteer citizen scientists who record birds, walk transects, mark out vegetation plots, embrace acoustic technologies and get to grips with online data entry. The resulting information on birds, butterflies, bats, and plants, as well as other groups, forms an evidence base that is highly valued by UK and country governments, their agencies and other conservation bodies. This evidence helps us understand how species are faring and the issues that impact on them. It allows us to influence the creation of strategies and policies that impact the environment and to report on the level of success of such commitments, as well as international directives. Of course, there are always opportunities for improvements, and the better evidence we have on biodiversity, the more useful it will be.

In addition to running partnership surveillance schemes, JNCC is working with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) to develop guidance to help monitoring schemes continue to improve. Cross-cutting analyses will help us to better understand the data coming out of schemes and how it can be formatted to develop outputs such as biodiversity indicators. Discussions at the TEPoP conference illustrated just how much can be gained through making small changes when everyone is committed to working together. The project will now produce guidance on data standards and formats to share across the schemes involved.

Feedback from the conference showed that participants valued the opportunity to get together to discuss the common issues they face, find out about new ideas, and consider how to make the outputs from surveillance schemes even more useful.

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