The UK Terrestrial Biodiversity Surveillance Strategy
What is it and why is it needed?
Currently there are approximately
100 different schemes (more than for any other single sector
of environmental monitoring) that are looking at one or more
components of biodiversity and which operate at a country or UK
scale. The total investment in these schemes – currently estimated
at £11.5 million per annum – is split over at least 30 funders,
including public bodies, research organisations, NGOs and
These schemes provide some evidence of the
status of biodiversity in relation to specific pressures and
drivers including climate change, habitat transformation and
exploitation. They also show if conservation
strategies are being successful and indicate areas that
need further conservation action. The geographic scales of
reporting for these schemes can range from regional or
country-based monitoring of policy effectiveness (e.g. the
Native Woodlands Survey of Scotland) to European or global
(e.g. seabirds population and national fisheries
monitoring), frequently operating at a range of levels.
However these schemes have developed over a
long period, often without an overview of existing surveillance
effort; we need to understand whether we have the right mix of
schemes to meet current and anticipated needs for evidence.
The UK Terrestrial Biodiversity
Surveillance Strategy has been developed, initially by JNCC, to
improve the fit between UK current biodiversity surveillance and
monitoring activity, known gaps and likely future need. The
terrestrial biodiversity surveillance strategy analyses how UK
surveillance activity meets three
objectives. The strategy has been adopted by the UK
Biodiversity Partnership Standing Committee.
The Strategy is not just one document, but a series of related
documents and collations of information. The overview is
contained in the Surveillance Strategy (February
2009 version). Its implementation is progressing as it is
adopted by the main investors in surveillance and monitoring. In
particular it is being used by the country agencies as a framework
for their surveillance and monitoring requirements, especially as
these relate to legal and policy needs which are devolved.
Although substantial progress in implementation is being made, the
strategy remains a proposal whilst the implications of adoption by
the main investors are worked out.
Surveillance Strategy contents
The Strategy is not just one document, but a
series of related documents and collations of information:
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