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Terrestrial Surveillance Development and Analysis (TSDA)

The Terrestrial Surveillance Development and Analysis (TSDA) project is a partnership between JNCC, the UK Centre For Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). The project aims to develop and enhance volunteer recording schemes and use of their data to address policy-relevant questions about biodiversity. The work is science-driven and seeks to serve the needs of UK governments, Country-level Nature Conservation Bodies (CNCBs, including Natural England, NatureScot, Natural Resources Wales and DAERA) and volunteer recording schemes (represented by JNCC’s Terrestrial Evidence Partnership of Partnerships: TEPoP). The partnership was established in 2017, with the first phase running until 2022, with a summary of the outputs captured below. The TSDA partnership is now developing a vision and strategy to guide work over the next 5 years until 2027.

TSDA Outputs 2017-2022

At the start of the project, a needs assessment was completed to identify the biodiversity needs of the UK’s CNCBs.

A priority need was for wider spatial and taxonomic coverage of recording schemes, so TSDA sought to understand the limitations of data and the impacts of a lack of representativeness. TSDA undertook work to collaboratively define the meaning of ‘ecosystem health’, going beyond species to assess change in ecological community metrics.

TSDA considered the use of new technology, specifically acoustic monitoring, and how this can contribute to policy needs, how new acoustic monitoring schemes (e.g., British Bats Survey: BBatS) can be designed, and how this could support cross-taxon monitoring (e.g., small mammals and insects).

TSDA provided practical advice to develop better data products that are more consistent and “FAIR” (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable).

New statistical methodology was investigated including ‘integrated distribution modelling’ (IDM). This approach allows different types of data (such as from structured and unstructured recording schemes) to be rigorously combined in single analyses. A ‘user guide’ was developed drawing on research conducted in TSDA showing the benefits of IDMs.

TSDA researched ways of supporting volunteer engagement and retention. A trial was started to target revisits to under-recorded locations, and the project scoped methods for effort recording and habitat recording to complement earth observation data.

Multiple datasets were used to assess the impacts of pressures, including invasive species and pollution, and to assess the value of protected areas.

Predictive analyses are valuable to assess the impact of medium-term future scenarios. TSDA brought together information on the latest tools and applied this to potential changes in urban habitats.

A. Scheme requirements and coverage

  1. An assessment of the biodiversity information needs of the UK’s environmental public bodies
  2. The JNCC Terrestrial Biodiversity Surveillance Schemes: An Assessment of Coverage
  3. Rapid assessment of the suitability of multi-species citizen science datasets for occupancy trend analysis

B. Ecosystem health

  1. The potential for scheme data to produce assemblage-level metrics describing ecosystem health and the inferential potential of these indices
  2. Investigation of the potential of ecosystem health metrics based on biodiversity scheme data to reflect gross variations between landscapes
  3. Monitoring ecosystem health using national monitoring scheme data: output from workshop 29th October 2019

C. Acoustic monitoring

  1. The acoustic identification of small terrestrial mammals in Britain
  2. The potential for acoustics as a conservation tool for small terrestrial mammals
  3. Designing effective survey and sampling protocols for passive acoustic monitoring as part of the national bat monitoring
  4. Realising the potential for acoustic monitoring to address environmental policy needs

D. Scheme data products

  1. Developing analyses to explore combining data from different biodiversity monitoring schemes
  2. United Kingdom Terrestrial Evidence Partnership of Partnerships data products: improving opportunities for re-use

E. Integrated distribution models

  1. How spatially representative are patterns (trends etc) derived from unstructured biodiversity data?
  2. Integrating structured and unstructured citizen science data to improve avian population monitoring
  3. Informing biodiversity monitoring with integrated distribution models
  4. Integrated modelling for the National Bat Monitoring Program
  5. An introduction to model-based data integration for biodiversity assessments
  6. Integrated modelling: review of Welsh Statement Area work and considering future ways forward

F. Recorder engagement & methodology

  1. The impact of recorder behaviour on biodiversity trend analysis with citizen science data
  2. Understanding Engagement, Marketing, and Motivation to Benefit Recruitment and Retention in Citizen Science
  3. Patterns of participation in citizen science recruitment and retention
  4. The opportunities for semi-structured and effort recording to enhance the value of biological recording by volunteers
  5. The ‘Targeting Revisits Map’ and evaluation of its impact on recorder behaviour

G. Habitat recording

  1. Not just species recording: what is the role for volunteers in supporting assessment of habitat?
  2. Evaluating the potential to record habitat information for Earth observation through volunteer recording initiatives

H. Pressures

  1. The potential for analyses of monitoring scheme data to inform about the impacts of invasive on native species
  2. Exploring the impacts of air pollution on avian fauna in the UK

I. Protected areas

  1. Representation of habitat specialists in the UK’s protected area network
  2. Effectiveness of the UK’s protected area network in conserving biodiversity
  3. Do conservation designations improve population status of bird species?

J. Predictive modelling

  1. The suitability and merits of modelling approaches to predict species distribution and abundance
  2. Scoping the use of predictive models to address priority questions concerning terrestrial biodiversity
  3. Predicting spatial patterns of butterfly biodiversity across Great Britain

K. Urban biodiversity

  1. Evaluating the potential for bird-habitat models to support biodiversity-friendly urban planning
  2. Using butterfly-habitat models to predict species assemblages in new urban developments
  3. How bird-habitat modelling can assist biodiversity net gain from urban development designs
  4. Scoping the potential for National Bat Monitoring Project data to inform predictive modelling informing urban planning and landscape design

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Citizen science and partnerships in monitoring

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