UK Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket (BIYP)

Updated 24 October 2013


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


The UK is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is committed to the new biodiversity goals and targets, ‘the Aichi targets’, agreed in 2010 and set out in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.  We are also committed to developing and using a set of indicators to report on progress towards meeting these international goals and targets.  There are related commitments on biodiversity made by the European Union, and the UK indicators may also be used to assess progress with these.


The UK indicators were comprehensively reviewed during 2011 and 2012 to ensure they continue to be based on the most robust and reliable available data; and remain relevant to the new international goals and targets1.  Where previous indicators remain relevant and robust, they have been retained.  A number of refinements to existing indicators were identified to improve their relevance, make them easier to understand, or to address concerns over data quality or availability.  Where there were no indicators for particular targets, or where the existing indicators were only indirectly linked to the Aichi targets, new indicators were identified.  The first set of revised UK indicators was published in May 2012.  In this version of the publication each of the indicators has been updated with the most recent data wherever possible.  In some cases, however, development work is ongoing, and where this is the case, the work to develop them over the next two to three years has been described briefly.


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 will form a major part of the UK’s 5th National Report to the CBD in 2014 but will be supplemented with other information relating to UK biodiversity and implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. 


Biodiversity policy is a devolved responsibility in the UK; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have each developed or are developing their own biodiversity or environment strategies.  Indicators are being developed to track progress with the respective commitments in each country.  The UK indicators have a specific purpose for international reporting and were selected following consultation and agreement between the administrations.  The indicators provide a flexible framework and a common set of methodologies which in some cases can also be used for country reporting.


The UK Biodiversity Indicators are dependent on a wide variety of data, provided by Government, research bodies, and the voluntary sector.  As Official Statistics, the presentation and assessment of the indicators has been verified by the data providers, and the production and editing of the indicators has been overseen by Government statisticians.


The indicators may be subject to further review, particularly as the reporting requirements of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive are clarified.


Previous versions of the indicators are available for download at Links to the full detail of each of the previous editions are provided on the website (stored on the National Archives website). 


This is a Defra National Statistics compendium (see Annex for further details and enquiries about indicators or this publication)


1 This review involved wide consultation with the UK Biodiversity Indicators Forum, involving key stakeholders.

BIYP 2013


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UK Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket (BIYP)


The following links will take you to previous versions of BIYP