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UK Biodiversity Indicators

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth: genes, species and ecosystems. It includes all species of animals and plants, and the natural systems that support them. Biodiversity matters because it supports the vital benefits humans get from the natural environment. It contributes to the economy, health and well-being, and it enriches our lives.

To allow for a thorough review of these indicators it is anticipated that there will be a pause in publication in 2022, with the next update in 2023. We are keen to know the likely impact on users so please let us have your views by emailing enviro.statistics@defra.gov.uk. In addition, please let us know if you have any feedback you would like us to consider as part of our review or if you would like to be contacted in order to contribute directly.

Background

The UK is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is committed to the biodiversity goals and targets (the 'Aichi targets') agreed in 2010 and set out in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020

The UK is committed to developing and using a set of indicators to report on progress towards meeting these international goals and targets. A new global biodiversity framework to 2030 is being negotiated under the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is planned that the indicators will be reviewed in 2022 to ensure they are fit for purpose under this new framework.

Indicators are useful tools for summarising and communicating broad trends. They are not intended to incorporate all the relevant information available in the UK. They are best seen, as their name suggests, as indicative of wider changes. The UK biodiversity indicators formed a major part of the UK’s 6th National Report to the CBD in 2019, supplemented with other information relating to UK biodiversity. 

Indicators are one of the means by which the UK can communicate the results of monitoring and surveillance. The audience for indicators is extremely broad, from the general public to all parts of the private and public sectors.

The idea of a headline suite of indicators, easily understood and communicated to all, supported by additional data and background information to aid interpretation and provide more detail, has proved to be a robust model and the most effective solution for communicating such a breadth of information to such a wide audience. The UK approach to biodiversity indicators has been well received internationally and has helped to place the UK at the forefront of international work on this subject.

The UK biodiversity indicators have been developed in a co-operative fashion, with input from government, statutory agencies and public bodies, non-governmental organisations, and academic institutes. A series of Biodiversity Indicator Forum meetings have been held to debate issues and capture ideas from a variety of stakeholders.

The UK biodiversity indicators publication is designated as a National Statistics1 Compendium.  The publication is overseen by government statisticians in Defra and is subject to review by the UK Statistics Authority and the Office for Statistics Regulation.

Much of the data collection and reporting undertaken by non-governmental organisations is already statistically robust. Government and its agencies and public bodies work with such organisations to ensure that methodologies and the reporting of results are meeting the standards in the Code of Practice for Statistics.

For more information visit UK Biodiversity Indicators 2021, where the most recent information is presented. 

For more information about biodiversity and wildlife statistics released by Defra, visit the Defra website.

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Latest update to the UK Biodiversity Indicators

UK Biodiversity Indicators 2021 was published on 20 October 2021, and revised on 28 October 2021.

On 28 October 2021 the following indicator was updated, leading to a revised version of the UK Biodiversity Indicators compendium:

  • A4: (Global biodiversity impacts of UK economic activity / sustainable consumption)

The next major update is planned to take place after the indicators have been reviewed in response to the new global biodiversity framework to 2030 which is being negotiated under the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

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Previous versions of the UK Biodiversity Indicators

The following online and summary PDF versions are available from JNCC's Resource Hub and The National Archives.

2020

Updated 15 October 2020

2019

Updated 5 September 2019, revised 5 December 2019

2018

Updated 19 July 2018.

2017

Updated 3 August 2017.

2015/16

Updated 19 January 2016

2014

Updated 4 December 2014.

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

 

1Across government and linked bodies, very high importance is given to ensuring trustworthy statistics are produced to inform decision making and ensure accountability to the public. The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 established the independent UK Statistical Authority which has statutory authority to oversee the standards for the production and dissemination of official statistics across government. The Authority has established a Code of Practice for Statistics and assesses compliance with this. This includes the monitoring of the pre-access rules which strictly limit who can see the final figures in advance of publication. Together, these set the standards for assuring that the statistics are produced objectively and impartially to high professional standards.

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