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New reports explore approaches to biodiversity monitoring

News Item 2024

Two of our recently published reports, produced through the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment Programme (NCEA), are exploring the use of, and approaches to, biodiversity monitoring in different ways – urban biodiversity monitoring, and monitoring at scale. 

Biodiversity monitoring – the systematic observation and recording of various life forms and ecological processes in an environment – is vital for assessing the impact of pressures on the natural environment, such as human activities, climate change, and other environmental factors; and in making informed decisions for nature conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. As such, monitoring and surveillance of biodiversity underpins our work, in particular our priorities to integrate nature into decisions, advise on policy to progress nature recovery, and innovate and advance our learning, providing essential evidence to inform our analysis, judgement, and advice. 

JNCC Report 754 – Review of opportunities for urban biodiversity monitoring – investigates opportunities for urban biodiversity monitoring using citizen science and indicators in the UK. Monitoring biodiversity in urban areas can be complex due to the various anthropogenic disturbances present such as habitat fragmentation, pollution, and the presence of invasive species. Moreover, urban species respond to these stressors differently. This report explores how biodiversity is currently monitored in urban areas, which indicators require data from biodiversity monitoring across space and time, and how citizen science can help with monitoring biodiversity in urban areas in the UK. The research highlights some future steps for effective urban biodiversity monitoring and management, incorporating the valuable contributions of citizen science, whilst meeting the diverse needs of stakeholders and maintaining ecological conservation as a priority.

JNCC Report 756 – Review of monitoring biodiversity effectively at differing scales – explores biodiversity monitoring at different scales. Typically, biodiversity recording takes place for one purpose and at one scale. The report explores whether it would be more efficient if data collected for one project could also feed into data needed for others; and the challenges of, and solutions to, collecting data for multiple purposes and scales. The research demonstrates that whilst there are substantial challenges to multi-scale monitoring and to combining data from multiple recording initiatives to achieve common aims, it is also an area that shows significant potential for improving environmental recording, and for increasing the applicability and efficiency of data collected.

The research underpinning these reports was funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as part of the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (NCEA) programme. The NCEA programme is leading the way in supporting the government's ambition to integrate natural capital approaches into decision-making. Find out more on the website.

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