Trends in Biodiversity: Update on Biodiversity Indicators

Posted by Sarah Booley on 23/02/2016

To provide an update on the current and emerging trends in biodiversity the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) has assessed 24 different indicators. This aims to provide a clear way to identify and address problems facing biodiversity in the UK. These indicators have been based on a total of fifty measures and the full report can be found here.

Indicators used cover a wide range of topics from status of UK species to the implementation of agri-environmental schemes. Overall the situation regarding species in the UK seems bleak, with the JNCC report describing a continued long term decline in the abundance and distribution of priority species, based on 213 indicator species. Additionally long and short term declines in a wide range of bird species has been reported as well as a continued decline in UK pollinators and rising pressure from invasive species. There has also been a continued decline in the status of UK habitats of European importance.

Despite this we have seen short term improvements in the status of UK species of European importance, suggesting protection and enhancement measures being implemented for these species is providing measurable benefits. This includes long term increases in the populations of British bat species although in recent years little to no change has been recorded. This leaves plenty of room for improvement into the future.

Sadly the JNCC report shows a surprisingly low level of public engagement with the problem of biodiversity loss, with 68% of individuals surveyed being unware of the threat to biodiversity or not concerned about it. Additionally the report shows a short term decrease in volunteer time spent in conservation, although this trend is based on figures reported by our largest conservation organisations and may not take into account the growing number of smaller community based conservation groups.

In the future the JNCC plans to develop additional indicators to provide further information about the state of biodiversity. This includes considering the key issues of habitat connectivity, plant species richness and how the value of biodiversity is integrated into decision making processes. Alternatively, you can head straight over to our cutting edge biodiversity valuation methods (click here) that have been used by clients such as Bristol Water, Devon Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the European Environment Agency.