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Overview of assessment of change for all indicators

Updated 5 September 2019

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

change1

Short-term

change2

Last

Updated

Latest

Data

A1. Awareness, understanding and support for conservation

Not Assessed

Not Assessed

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation

Improving2000–2017

Improving2012–2017

2019

2017

A3. Value of biodiversity integrated into decision making

Under development

2019

Not Applicable

A4. Global biodiversity impacts of UK economic activity / sustainable consumption

Under development

2019

Not Applicable

A5. Integration of biodiversity considerations into business activity

Improving 1999–2017

Deteriorating 2012–2017

2019

2017

B1. Agricultural and forest area under environmental management schemes

B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes


Improving 1992–2018


Little or no overall change 2013–2018

2019

2018

B1b. Area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed

National Statistics Logo

Improving2001–2019

Little or no overall change2014-2019

2019

2019

B2. Sustainable fisheries

B2a. Percentage of marine fish stocks harvested sustainably

Improving1990–2017

Improving2012–2017

2019

2017

B2b. Biomass of marine fish stocks at full reproductive capacity

Improving1990–2017

Improving2012-2017

2019

2017

B3. Climate change adaptation

Under development

2019

Not Applicable

B4. Pressure from climate change (Spring Index)

Not Assessed

Not Assessed

2019

2018

B5. Pressure from pollution

B5a. Air pollution

B5a(i). Area affected by acidity

Improving1996–2015

Improving2010–2015

2019

2015

B5a(ii). Area affected by nitrogen

Improving1996–2015

Little or no overall change2010–2015

2019

2015

B5b. Marine pollution

Improving1990–2017

Improving2012–2017

2019

2017

B6. Pressure from invasive species

B6a. Freshwater invasive species

Deteriorating1960–2018

Not assessed

2019

2018

B6b. Marine (coastal) invasive species

Deteriorating1960–2018

Not assessed

2019

2018

B6c. Terrestrial invasive species

Deteriorating1960–2018

Not assessed

2019

2018

B7. Surface water status

Insufficient or no comparable data

 

Little or no overall change2013–2018

2019

2018

C1. Protected areas

C1a. Total extent of protected areas: on land

Improving1950–2019

Little or no overall change2014–2019

2019

2019

C1b. Total extent of protected areas: at sea

Improving1950–2019

Improving2014–2019

2019

2019

C1c. Condition of Areas/Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Improving2005–2019

Little or no overall change2014–2019

2019

2019

C2. Habitat connectivity

Experimental Statistic – under review

2019

2012

C3. Status of European habitats and species

C3a. Status of UK habitats of European importance

Insufficient or no comparable data

Deteriorating2007–2013

2019

2013

C3b. Status of UK species of European importance

Insufficient or no comparable data

Improving2007–2013

2019

2013

C4. Status of UK priority species

C4a. Relative abundance

Deteriorating1970–2016

Deteriorating2011–2016

2019

2016

C4b. Distribution

Deteriorating1970–2016

Little or no overall change2011–2016

2019

2016

C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea

National Statistics Logo

C5a. Farmland birds

Deteriorating1970–2016

Deteriorating2011–2016

2019

2017

C5b. Woodland birds

Deteriorating1970–2016

Deteriorating2011–2016

2019

2017

C5c. Wetland birds

Little or no overall change1975–2016

Little or no overall change2011–2016

2019

2017

C5d. Seabirds

Not Assessed

Not Assessed

2019

2015

C5e. Wintering waterbirds

Improving1975/76–2015/16

Little or no overall change2010/11–2015/16

2019

2016-17

C6. Insects of the wider countryside

C6a. Habitat specialists

Deteriorating1976–2018

Little or no overall change2013–2018

2019

2018

C6b. Species of the wider countryside

Deteriorating1976–2018

Little or no overall change2013–2018

2019

2018

C7. Plants of the wider countryside

Under development

2019

2007

C8. Mammals of the wider countryside (bats)

Improving1999–2017

Improving2012–2017

2019

2018

C9. Genetic resources for food and agriculture

C9a. Animal genetic resources – effective population size of Native Breeds at Risk

C9a(i). Goat breeds

Improving2004–2018

Improving2013–2018

2019

2018

C9a(ii). Pig breeds

Improving2000–2018

Deteriorating2013–2018

2019

2018

C9a(iii). Horse breeds

Deteriorating2000–2018

Deteriorating2013–2018

2019

2018

C9a(iv). Sheep breeds

Improving2000–2018

Improving2013–2018

2019

2018

C9a(v). Cattle breeds

Improving2000–2018

Improving2013–2018

2019

2018

C9b. Plant genetic resources – Enrichment Index

Improving1960–2018

Improving2013–2018

2018

2018

D1. Biodiversity and ecosystem services

D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea

Deteriorating1983–2017

Improving2012–2017

2019

2017

D1b. Removal of greenhouse gases by UK forests

Improving1990–2017

Improving2012–2017

2019

2017

D1c. Status of pollinating insects

Deteriorating1980–2016

Deteriorating2011–2016

2019

2016

E1. Biodiversity data for decision making

E1a. Cumulative number of records

Improving2004–2019

Improving2014–2019

2019

2019

E1b. Number of publicly accessible records at 1km2 resolution or better

Improving2008–2019

Improving2014–2019

2019

2019

E2. Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity

E2a. Public sector expenditure on UK biodiversity

Improving2000/01–2017/18

Deteriorating2012/13–2017/18

2019

2017/18 financial year

E2b. Non-governmental organisation expenditure on UK biodiversity

Insufficient or no comparable data

Improving2012/13–2017/18

2019

2017/18 financial year

E2c. UK public sector expenditure on international biodiversity

Improving2001/02–2017/18

Improving2012/13–2017/18

2019

2017/18 financial year

 

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.

Improving

Improving 

Deteriorating

Deteriorating

Little or no overall change

Little or no overall change

Insufficient or 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

 

The UK biodiversity indicators set comprises 24 indicators and 49 measures.  Of these, eight measures are not assessed in the long-term, and eleven in the short term, as the measures are either under development, or analytical methods for short-term assessment need to be refined.  In this 2019 publication, 20 indicators (42 measures) have been updated. 

Twenty-four of the 41 measures assessed over the long term show an improvement, compared to 18 of the 38 measures that are assessed over the short term.  Twelve 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 18 measures showing an improvement in the short term are:

A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation
B2a. Sustainable fisheries (2 measures)
B5. Pressure from pollution (2 measures)
C1b. Total area of protected sites: at sea
C3b. Status of UK species of European importance
C8. Mammals of the wider countryside (Bats)
C9a. Animal genetic resources (3 measures)
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 24 measures which have improved in the long term are:

A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation
A5. Integration of biodiversity considerations into business activity
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
C8. 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:

A5. Integration of biodiversity considerations into business activity
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)
D1c. Status of Pollinating insects
E2a. Expenditure on UK biodiversity

The 12 measures showing long-term deterioration are:

B6. Pressure from invasive species (3 measures)
C4. Status of UK Priority species (2 measures)
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
D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea
D1c. Status of Pollinating insects

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

i. Temporary removal of the Awareness indicator (A1) due to late discovery of an error.

ii. A new indicator on the Integration of biodiversity considerations into business activity (A5);

iii. Refinements to the Sustainable fisheries and Large fish index indicators (B2 and D1a);

iv. Expansion of the coverage of the experimental statistic on Connectivity (C2) to include birds as well as butterflies;

v. Refinements to the species coverage of the Priority species indicators (C4a and C4b), the Bats indicator (C8), and the Status of pollinating insects (D1c).

vi. Inclusion of trends for farmland and woodland butterflies at UK scale in the Butterflies fiche (C6);
vii. UK public expenditure on international biodiversity (E2c) refined to include a wider range of projects within Official Development Assistance funding.

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Assessment of change: Strategic Goals B and C

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

Strategic Goal B

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.

Strategic Goal C

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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UK Biodiversity Indicators 2019

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