The latest (2023) update of the UK Biodiversity indicators has been published today (Tuesday 14 November). First published in 2007, this is the 16th update of the UK Biodiversity Indicators. The full set of UK Biodiversity Indicators for 2023 is available at jncc.gov.uk/ukbi2023.
Indicators are useful tools for summarising and communicating broad trends. The UK Biodiversity Indicators set comprises 24 indicators and 52 measures. In the 2023 update, 22 of the 42 measures assessed over the long term show an improvement, compared to 13 of the 39 measures that are assessed over the short term. Fourteen measures show a decline in the long term, and 14 show a decline in the short term. Measures that improved or deteriorated in the long term have not necessarily continued to improve or deteriorate respectively in the short term. Changes to trends in this year’s update paint a mixed picture across the suite of indicators and measures.
The Global Environmental Impacts of Consumption (GEIC) indicator estimates global environmental impacts – including deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water stress – of UK consumption. Several improvements have been made in the new release. The GEIC indicator now provides estimates of deforestation impacts in forests all around the world (instead of tropical forests only), and data are available up to 2021 (compared to 2018 in the previous release). The main results for the UK are available on the UKBI A4 webpage, and the full global dataset is available on an associated dashboard. GEIC has been included as a component indicator for Target 16 of the Global Biodiversity Framework, and now provides estimates of the impacts associated with consumption by 141 consumer countries/territories (representing 96.4% of the global population) and 19 consumer ‘rest-of-world’ regions; this is compared to 44 consumer countries/territories and five consumer ‘rest-of-world’ regions in the previous release.
The UK Biodiversity Indicators are dependent on a wide variety of data, provided by government, research bodies, and the voluntary sector – in total nearly 100 organisations are involved. The presentation and assessment of the indicators is verified by the data providers, and the production and editing of the indicators is overseen by government statisticians.
The indicators have been published almost annually since 2007. During that time have been refined and revised to ensure they continue to be based on the most robust and reliable available data, and that they remain relevant to changes to the international goals and drivers.
The UK Biodiversity Indicators are aligned to the goals and targets (the ‘Aichi targets’) agreed in 2010 and set out in the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 (PDF). These Aichi targets have recently been replaced by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF), which was agreed by the 15th Conference of the parties (CoP15) in Montreal in December 2022. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee have been working alongside Defra and the devolved administrations and Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies to review the KMGBF goals, targets and headline indicators against the current suite of UK Biodiversity Indicators, and the biodiversity indicators produced by each of the four countries. A proposal for a new set of UKBIs to report progress towards the KMGBF goals and targets is expected to be finalised in 2024.
JNCC would like to express thanks to all colleagues who have contributed to the publication of the UK Biodiversity Indicators; your effort and dedication are greatly appreciated.
To find out more, visit UK Biodiversity Indicators 2023.