Wildlife Statistics Online
Using the site
The Wildlife Statistics website is intended to become a single
location for finding statistics on UK wildlife (species and
To assist use of the site the following guidance has been
Statistics on the status and trends of UK wildlife are needed
- identify priorities for conservation and the
types of action/policies required.
- measure the effectiveness of conservation
action and policy.
- identify gaps in our knowledge and the
research needed to fill the gaps.
- report within the UK and beyond to Europe and
Further use of these statistics is encouraged by anyone
interested to do so. You may want to undertake conservation actions
yourself, set policies or take decisions. You may want to see how
the UK is striving to meet an EU target to halt the loss of
biodiversity by 2010. All this depends on placing evidence behind
decisions and actions. This website now makes this possible by
facilitating access to a wide range of wildlife statistics and
providing new opportunities to use them more effectively.
What is a wildlife
In this context, a statistic is the term used
for a single measurement that summarises a particular survey. For
example, a population estimate for a species or the number of
10km squares in which the species was recorded
by the survey.
A statistic has a date which will often be a year, but may
be the range of years over which the survey from which it was
derived was carried out.
What is a trend
In this context, a trend
is a measurement of
change derived from a comparison of the results of two or more
A trend relates to a range of dates spanning the statistics
from which it is derived, e.g. 1996 - 2000.
A trend will generally be expressed as a percentage change (+
for an increase, - for a decrease) or as an index.
Indexes are commonly used in cases where the survey method
does not produce an absolute measure, but a comparison of results
collected by the same method applied at different times, gives a
relative change. These changes are expressed relative
to the value in the first survey period which is
arbitrarily set to "1" or possibly "100" (e.g.
Butterfly Monitoring Scheme).
Getting what you want
There are four main access routes at present:
At present there are many gaps that are particularly
noticeable for habitats and the marine environment. Major gaps will
be filled by 2008 and updated thereafter.
You can download results in CSV
format which you can then load into software, such as a
spreadsheet, on your own computer for further analysis.
Most of the trends currently visible on the site are primarily
derived from one of two analytical techniques.
- Change in abundance over time
- Change in range over time
The amount of change that a survey is capable of
detecting, and the degree of certainty that can be placed on its
results, vary considerably. Some of the surveys whose results
appear here were setup specifically to measure trends over
time and were carefully designed to deliver statistically robust
results. Many other surveys, particularly general biological
recording schemes, were designed for other purposes and analyses
presented here are only capable of detecting large changes with any
degree of certainty. It is therefore important to look at
information such as confidence intervals and measures of error that
are presented with the results and to consult the supporting
information that is linked to them. The techniques are also
relatively difficult to standardise across different sources for
Quite often a single species is represented many times because
it is covered by more than one source. Very often the statistics or
trends calculated for the same species from different sources are
different. Occasionally this is because of problems (errors) within
one of both of the sources but much more commonly the differences
are legitimate. Legitimate reasons might be that the sources deal
with different biogeographic populations, different seasons, are
restricted to particular habitat types etc. Care needs to be taken
in the interpretation of several statistics or trends for the same
It is also important to note the caveats that accompany many
of the statistics or trends. Caveats apply when there are
statistical or methodological issues that are considered serious
enough to to cast some doubt on the statistic or trend. These
caveats need to taken seriously when deciding whether it is
appropriate to use these statistics or not. There is no
simple black or white answer it all depends on the type of use to
which the statistics are being put.
Improvements to the wildlife statistics service can be greatly
assisted if users provide frank comment and feedback. JNCC will be
targeting specific user communities throughout 2006 but all
interested parties are strongly encouraged to make contact with
JNCC to discuss their requirements and uses of the wildlife
statistics. Jointly we can work together to make a real
contribution to the benefit of wildlife and natural features. Send
your comments here:
The web service aims to grow in three ways.
- Content. All available wildlife statistics should be accessible
through this web service and updated regularly.
- Online techniques to further analyse and interrogate the
statistics will be developed.
- The ultimate goal is to facilitate making links between the
changes happening to UK wildlife, the causes of these changes and
the policies behind them.
During 2006, special attention will be paid to a number of key
uses of the statistics. These are:
- supporting the development of biodiversity
- contributing to the review of priority species and habitats
lists for UK Biodiversity Action Plan;
- assessing the impacts of climate change;
- measuring the rate of biodiversity loss;
- agreeing targets to meet the requirements for the species and
habitats listed by the EC Habitats Directive.