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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.

A reduced set of indicators will be updated in 2022 and published on 14 December 2022.  The following UK and their associated England indicators are to be published, based on data availability, user needs and timeliness:

• A4 Global biodiversity impacts
• B5a Air pollution
• C1 Protected areas
• C4a Status of priority species: relative abundance
• C6 Butterflies
• D1c Pollinating insects
• E2 Biodiversity Expenditure

We do not anticipate that this will lead to missing data for the indicators which are not updated this year; data which would have been published in 2022 will be available in 2023.

The next full update is planned to take place after the indicators have been reviewed in 2022/23. The review of the indicator suite is being undertaken to ensure that that best possible data are available, in response to the development of the new post-2020 global biodiversity framework, being agreed through COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity and due to be published in early 2023.

For more information on the Defra and JNCC review of the biodiversity indicators, visit the website.



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.


Latest update to the UK Biodiversity Indicators

UK Biodiversity Indicators 2021 was published on 20 October 2021, and subsequently revised and republished on 28 October 2021, in response to an update to indicator A4 (Global biodiversity impacts of UK economic activity / sustainable consumption).

A reduced set of indicators will be updated in 2022 and published on 14 December 2022.



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.


Updated 15 October 2020


Updated 5 September 2019, revised 5 December 2019


Updated 19 July 2018.


Updated 3 August 2017.


Updated 19 January 2016


Updated 4 December 2014.









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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