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Overview of assessment of change for all indicators

The table below summaries traffic light assessments for 24 indicators and their component measures. For each indicator, its number, title, and measures (where applicable) are shown. Indicators are numbered according to the Strategic Goal with which they most closely link.

The UK Biodiversity Indicators

Indicator / measure(s) Long-term change 1 Short-term change 2 Last updated Latest data
A1. Awareness, understanding and support for conservation 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2017 2014
A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation 2010 indicator - improving
2000–2016
2010 indicator - stable
2011–2016
2018 2016
A3. Value of biodiversity integrated into decision making Under development 2015 Not applicable
A4. Global biodiversity impacts of UK economic activity / sustainable consumption Under development 2015 Not applicable
A5. Integration of biodiversity considerations into business activity A5a. Environmental Management Systems 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2015 2013
A5b. Environmental consideration in supply chains 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2015 2013
B1. Agricultural and forest area under environmental management schemes B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes 2010 indicator - improving
1992–2017
2010 indicator - declining
2012–2017
2018 2017
B1b. Area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed 2010 indicator - improving
2001–2018
2010 indicator - stable
2012–2017
2018 2018
B2. Sustainable fisheries B2a. Proportion of fish stocks harvested sustainably 2010 indicator - improving
1990–2015
2010 indicator - improving
2010–2015
2018 2015
B2b. Biomass of stocks at full reproductive capacity 2010 indicator - improving
1990–2016
2010 indicator - stable
2011–2016
2018 2016
B3. Climate change adaptation Under development 2015 Not applicable
B4. Pressure from climate change (Spring Index) Not assessed Not assessed 2018 2017
B5. Pressure from pollution B5a. Air pollution B5a(i). Area affected by acidity 2010 indicator - improving
1996–2015
2010 indicator - improving
2010–2015
2018 2015
B5a(ii). Area affected by nitrogen 2010 indicator - improving
1996–2015
2010 indicator - stable
2010–2015
2018 2015
B5b. Marine pollution 2010 indicator - improving
1996–2016
2010 indicator - improving
2011–2016
2018 2016
B6. Pressure from invasive species B6a. Freshwater invasive species 2010 indicator - declining
1960–2017
Not assessed 2018 2017
B6b. Marine (coastal) invasive species 2010 indicator - declining
1960–2017
Not assessed 2018 2017
B6c. Terrestrial invasive species 2010 indicator - declining
1960–2017
Not assessed 2018 2017
B7. Surface water status 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - declining
2012–2017
2018 2017
C1. Protected areas C1a. Total extent of protected areas: on-land 2010 indicator - improving
1950–2018
2010 indicator - stable
2013–2018
2018 2018
C1b. Total extent of protected areas: at-sea 2010 indicator - improving
1950–2018
2010 indicator - improving
2013–2018
2018 2018
C1c. Condition of Areas/Sites of Special Scientific Interest 2010 indicator - improving
2005–2018
2010 indicator - stable
2013–2018
2018 2018
C2. Habitat connectivity Experimental Statistic - under review 2018 2012
C3. Status of European habitats and species C3a. Status of UK habitats of European importance 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - declining
2007–2013
2013 2013
C3b. Status of UK species of European importance 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - improving
2007–2013
2013 2013
C4. Status of UK priority species C4a. Relative abundance 2010 indicator - declining
1970–2015
2010 indicator - declining
2010–2015
2018 2015
C4b. Distribution 2010 indicator - stable
1970–2016
2010 indicator - stable
2011–2016
2018 2016
C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea C5a. Farmland birds 2010 indicator - declining
1970–2015
2010 indicator - declining
2010–2015
2018 2016
C5b. Woodland birds 2010 indicator - declining
1970–2015
2010 indicator - stable
2010–2015
2018 2016
C5c. Wetland birds 2010 indicator - stable
1975–2015
2010 indicator - stable
2010–2015
2018 2016
C5d. Seabirds Not Assessed Not Assessed 2017 2015
C5e. Wintering waterbirds 2010 indicator - improving
1975/76–2014/15
2010 indicator - declining
2009/10–2014/15
2018 2015-16
C6. Insects of the wider countryside C6a. Semi-natural habitat specialists 2010 indicator - declining
1976–2017
2010 indicator - stable
2012–2017
2018 2017
C6b. Species of the wider countryside 2010 indicator - declining
1976–2017
2010 indicator - stable
2012–2017
2018 2017
C7. Plants of the wider countryside Under development 2018 2007
C8. Mammals of the wider countryside (bats) 2010 indicator - improving
1999–2016
2010 indicator - improving
2011–2016
2018 2017
C9. Genetic resources for food and agriculture C9a. Animal genetic resources – effective population size of Native Breeds at Risk C9a(i). Goat breeds 2010 indicator - improving
2004–2017
2010 indicator - improving
2012–2017
2018 2017
C9a(ii). Pig breeds 2010 indicator - improving
2000–2017
2010 indicator - declining
2012–2017
2018 2017
C9a(iii). Horse breeds 2010 indicator - declining
2000–2017
2010 indicator - declining
2012–2017
2018 2017
C9a(iv). Sheep breeds 2010 indicator - improving
2000–2017
2010 indicator - improving
2012–2017
2018 2017
C9a(v). Cattle breeds 2010 indicator - improving
2000–2017
2010 indicator - improving
2012–2017
2018 2017
C9b. Plant genetic resources – Enrichment Index 2010 indicator - improving
1960–2018
2010 indicator - improving
2013–2018
2018 2018
D1. Biodiversity and ecosystem services D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea 2010 indicator - stable
1983–2016
2010 indicator - improving
2011–2016
2018 2016
D1b. Removal of greenhouse gases by UK forests 2010 indicator - improving
1990–2016
2010 indicator - improving
2011–2016
2018 2016
D1c. Status of pollinating insects 2010 indicator - declining
1980–2016
2010 indicator - stable
2011–2016
2018 2016
E1. Biodiversity data for decision making E1a. Cumulative number of records 2010 indicator - improving
2004–2018
2010 indicator - improving
2013–2018
2018 2018
E1b. Number of publicly accessible records at 1km2 resolution or better 2010 indicator - improving
2008–2018
2010 indicator - improving
2013–2018
2018 2018
E2. Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity E2a. Public sector expenditure on UK biodiversity 2010 indicator - improving
2000/01–2016/17
2010 indicator - declining
2011/12–2016/17
2018 2016/17 financial
E2b. Non-governmental organisation expenditure on UK biodiversity 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - improving
2011/12–2016/17
2018 2016/17 financial
E2c. UK expenditure on international biodiversity 2010 indicator - improving
2000/01–2016/17
2010 indicator - improving
2011/12–2016/17
2018 2016/17 financial

1 Long-term – an assessment of change since the earliest date for which data are available, although if the data run is for less than ten years a long-term assessment is not made.

2 Short-term – an assessment of change over the latest five years. For a very few indicators the short-term change is over a longer time-period as a result of the frequency of update of the data upon which the indicators are based. Indicators C3a and C3b have a six year short-term assessment.

2010 indicator - improving
Improving
2010 indicator - declining
Deteriorating
2010 indicator - stable
Little or no overall change
2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data
Insufficient or no comparable data

The individual assessments for each measure can be combined to produce an overall picture of progress made. The charts below display the numbers of measures that have shown an improvement (green traffic light), deterioration (red traffic light), little or no overall change (amber traffic light), or that have insufficient data for an assessment to be made (white traffic light).

The UK Government is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is committed to the biodiversity goals and targets agreed in 2010 and set out in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. The targets are known as 'Aichi Targets', after the province in Japan where they were agreed. The Strategic Plan has five goals (A–E), each with a number of targets (the focus of each goal is shown by the words in bold type below):

  1. Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.
  2. Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
  3. Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
  4. Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystems.
  5. Enhance implementation through planning, knowledge management and capacity building.

As well as an overall summary, based on all measures in the indicator set, separate summaries for Strategic Goals B and C are shown, which are based on the indicators and measures linked to those goals (B1 to B7; C1 to C9). A number of indicators are under development for Strategic Goals A, D, and E, so they currently have very few measures; separate charts are therefore not shown.

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Assessment of change: all measures

Assessment of change: all measures (graph)

The UK biodiversity indicators set comprises 24 indicators and 50 measures. Of these, seven measures are not assessed in the long-term, and ten in the short term, as the measures are either under development, or analytical methods for short-term assessment need to be refined. Twenty-three of the 43 measures assessed over the long term show an improvement, compared to 16 of the 40 measures that are assessed over the short term. Ten measures show a decline in the long term, and nine a decline in the short term. Measures that improved or deteriorated in the long term have not necessarily continued to improve or deteriorate respectively in the short term.

The 16 measures showing an improvement in the short term are:

  • B2a. Sustainable fisheries: proportion of fish stocks harvested sustainably
  • B5a. Air pollution: acidity
  • B5b. Marine pollution (heavy metals)
  • C1b. Total area of protected sites: at sea
  • C3b. Status of UK species of European importance
  • C8a. Mammals of the wider countryside (Bats)
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources (3 measures: goats, sheep, cattle)
  • C9b. Plant genetic resources
  • D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea
  • D1b. Greenhouse gas removals by forests
  • E1. Biodiversity data for decision making (2 measures)
  • E2. Expenditure on biodiversity (2 measures)

The 23 measures which have improved in the long term are:

  • A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation
  • B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes
  • B1b. Area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed
  • B2. Sustainable fisheries (2 measures)
  • B5. Pressure from pollution (3 measures)
  • C1. Protected areas (3 measures)
  • C5e. Wintering water birds
  • C8a. Mammals of the wider countryside (Bats)
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources (4 measures)
  • C9b. Plant genetic resources
  • D1b. Greenhouse gas removals by UK forests
  • E1. Biodiversity data for decision making (2 measures)
  • E2. Expenditure on biodiversity (2 measures)

The 9 measures showing a decline in the short term are:

  • B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes
  • B7. Surface water status
  • C3a. Status of UK habitats of European importance
  • C4a. Status of UK Priority species: Relative abundance
  • C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea (2 measures)
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources (2 measures)
  • E2a. Expenditure on UK biodiversity

The 10 measures showing long-term deterioration are:

  • B6. Pressure from invasive species (3 measures)
  • C4a. Status of UK Priority species: Relative abundance
  • C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea (2 measures)
  • C6. Insects in the wider countryside (butterflies) (2 measures)
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources - horse breeds
  • D1c. Status of Pollinating insects

Key changes to the indicator set since the previous publication are:

  1. Corrections to the historic data for indicator A2 on conservation volunteering hours.
  2. Improvements to the biodiversity expenditure indicator (E2), in particular, clarification of what is included from different sources.
  3. A new experimental statistic on habitat connectivity based on population synchrony of butterflies monitored through the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The project team would welcome feedback on this.
  4. A method (see the full fiches) for assessing the confidence in the changes of the two indicators on priority species (C4a and C4b).
  5. The traffic light assessment for the seabirds measure (indicator C5d) was removed last year until a way of assessing variability is devised. This follows recommendations in a quality assurance science panel report, dated January 2016. Unfortunately this has not been possible in 2018, but it is hoped progress can be made in 2019.

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Assessment of change: Strategic Goals B and C

Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.

Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use (graph)

The indicators under Strategic Goal B (seven indicators and 13 measures prefixed 'B' in the summary table) show long-term progress is being made to address the pressures on biodiversity (e.g. in the proportion of fisheries that are sustainable, in the area of land in agri-environment schemes, air and marine pollution). However, there has been a long-term increase in the prevalence of invasive species, reflecting a pattern of continuing or growing threat to biodiversity in the UK. In the short-term there is little or no overall change in the area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed, in the biomass of fish stocks at full reproductive capacity, and in the area of semi-natural habitats affected by eutrophication. There was a short-term decline in the area of land in higher-level / targeted agri-environment schemes, and in surface water status.

Goal C: Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.

Goal C: Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity (graph)

There were long-term declines for seven measures under Strategic Goal C (nine indicators and 23 measures prefixed 'C' in the summary table, covering status of biodiversity), reflecting the declines in many species populations seen in the 1970s and 1980s. There is some evidence that some of the previous declines have slowed, with some measures assessed as deteriorating in the long-term showing little or no overall change in the short-term (e.g. butterflies and woodland birds). In total, seven measures have shown improvement over the short term, including extent of protected areas at sea, status of UK species of European importance, and plant genetic resources. These conclusions should be viewed with some caution as changes are more difficult to assess reliably over the short term.

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