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Citizen science and partnerships in monitoring

A vast amount of monitoring data, particularly on species, is regularly collected through established monitoring recording schemes, with significant support from highly trained volunteers.

JNCC works in partnership with a range of NGOs and research institutes, to develop and run a number of long-term schemes to monitor and survey a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, bats, marine mammals, butterflies and plants. Our experts also utilise evidence collected by other independent schemes which contribute high-quality data through their initiatives.  In addition, we support the Biological Records Centre, which provides assistance to numerous schemes and societies, who collect and collate records of the taxon groups of interest to them. We also co-ordinate the UK Terrestrial Evidence Partnership of Partnerships (UKTEPoP), which aims to bring together all partners involved in terrestrial surveillance and monitoring funded or co-funded by JNCC, to collaborate and share expertise. In addition, we work with partners in the Terrestrial Surveillance Development and Analysis (TSDA) project to further develop this area, ensuring terrestrial surveillance schemes remain relevant and cost-effective and that we get as much benefit as possible from data collected.

These schemes are highly dependent on the huge contributions of time and effort provided by skilled volunteers, who collect, input and validate data under a variety of projects and protocols both on land and at sea. It has been conservatively estimated that this UK volunteer effort is worth at least £8.6 million per year.

The information gathered from these schemes is used to assess trends in distribution and/or abundance at UK, GB or country scales, and to produce evidence both on current status and long- and short-term changes. Many of the results feed into the UK biodiversity indicators, as well as being used for wider reporting purposes, including for international commitments. Data collected through these schemes also contributes to eight national official statistics on UK biodiversity which we are responsible for producing.

We have contributed funding to a number of monitoring schemes for a number of years, and work with partners to identify opportunities to develop and improve the schemes, including ways of making them more cost-effective, and to identify where there may be gaps in evidence. We are keen to evaluate and embrace new technologies and techniques where these can help engage volunteers, reduce scheme running costs, and/or improve scheme outputs. We also work with research partners to make better analytical use of the data coming out of schemes.

In many cases, the data collected through these schemes support the evidence base for detection of natural and human drivers of change (pressures). This allows the data to be used to influence relevant strategies and policies to address these pressures, and ultimately to report on the level of success of such commitments and any management or mitigation measures.

Further details of the schemes we are involved with, including more information on our partners, how they operate, and their species’ and geographical coverage, is available on the Surveillance Schemes webpage.

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