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
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. The review
identified a small number of gaps where there were no indicators
for particular targets, or where the existing indicators were only
indirectly linked to the Aichi Targets. A number of further
refinements to existing indicators were also identified to improve
their relevance, make them easier to understand, or to address
concerns over data quality or availability. As a result,
the set of 18 indicators originally developed for reporting against
previous international targets has been expanded to 24, as set out
in this document. Where previous indicators remain relevant
and robust, they have been retained. Others have been revised
or replaced. Where possible each of the indicators has been
updated with the most recent data, but in some cases 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
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 these 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
Biodiversity policy is a devolved responsibility in the UK, and
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
below, and links are provided to the full detail of each of
the previous editions (stored on the National Archives
This is a Defra National Statistics compendium (see Annex for further
1 This review involved wide
consultation with the UK Biodiversity Indicators Forum, involving key