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 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 continued to be based on the most robust and
reliable available data; and remained relevant to the new
international goals and targets1. Since then
the indicators have been refined to improve their
relevance/quality, and new indicators developed to fill gaps.
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 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 formed a major part of the UK’s 5th National
Report to the CBD in 2014, 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 indicators may be subject to
further review as necessary.
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.
Links to the full detail of each of the previous editions
are provided on the website (stored on the National Archives
website). At the 8th Biodiversity Indicators Forum (BIF8) ,
a recommendation was made to publish a transparent statement of the
level of confidence that can be ascribed to each individual
indicator. The Biodiversity Indicators Working Group (Defra
and JNCC) have undertaken a preliminary
assessment which will be peer-reviewed during 2015.
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.