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 www.jncc.defra.gov.uk/biyp. 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
1 This review involved wide consultation with the
UK Biodiversity Indicators
Forum, involving key stakeholders.