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Our work at a UK scale

The UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales) has a diverse mix of habitats and species for its small size (approximately 240,000 km2), with a marine area approximately 3.5 times the size of the land area.  Some of these are of global significance, including:

  • Productive and varied seas which harbour globally significant numbers of fish, seabirds and sea mammals; and abundant and diverse wildlife along a great length of coastline comprising high cliffs and expanses of estuarine habitats which are of importance to a multitude of migrating birds.
  • A wealth of terrestrial habitats including dunes, fens, grassland, heathland, and woodland, many of which are important areas for biodiversity, including important assemblages of mosses, liverworts, and lichens.
  • An intricate web of freshwater habitats including rivers, lochs, freshwater lakes, waterfalls, coastal lagoons, reedbeds; the UK has approximately 13% of the world’s blanket bog.

In the UK, nature conservation is mainly a devolved responsibility.  It is driven by a wide range of polices, legislation and agreements, and delivered by a range of bodies, from the statutory, voluntary, academic and business sectors. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own country-level strategies for biodiversity and the environment. Obligations arising from international treaties and conventions are the responsibility of the UK Government, with the devolved administrations responsible for implementing obligations that concern devolved matters.

JNCC has strong links with the devolved governments and the country nature conservation bodies through its statutory remit, and plays an important role in nature conservation at a UK scale, by co-ordinating nature conservation action at a UK level; working in partnerships to provide common approaches, shared solutions and best practice; and providing a cost-effective and robust environmental evidence base across the UK.

Our work includes: 

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    Development of scientifically robust and cost-effective strategies, standards, methods and tools for use across the UK.  This achieves both economies of scale and flexibility for the four UK countries to meet their own priorities. 

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    Making best use of new techniques and technologies.  We have expertise in the field of Earth observation (EO) and are using Earth observation data to provide high-quality evidence on biodiversity and ecosystems.

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    Using analytical techniques to produce evidence on the status and trends of different elements of the UK's natural environment, and to evaluate the impacts of pressures, based on a wealth of monitoring data.

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    Working with the UK Government and devolved administrations to agree strategic priorities for international action, co-ordinate UK reporting, and to implement obligations arising from international agreements.

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    Undertaking studies and developing tools that can be used to analyse the potential impacts of different land-use options and underpin land-management decisions.

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