Overview of assessment of change for all indicators

The table below summaries traffic light assessments for 24 indicators and their component measures. For each indicator it’s number, title, and measures (where applicable) are shown. Indicators are numbered according to the Strategic Goal with which they most closely link.

Indicator / measure(s) Long-term change1 Short-term change2
   

A1. Awareness, understanding and support for conservation

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation

2010 indicator improving

2000–2015

2010 indicator declining

2010–2015

A3. Value of biodiversity integrated into decision making

Under development

A4. Global biodiversity impacts of UK economic activity / sustainable consumption

Under development

A5. Integration of biodiversity considerations into business activity

A5a. Environmental Management Systems

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

A5b. Environmental consideration in supply chains

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

B1. Agricultural and forest area under environmental management schemes

B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes

2010 indicator improving 1992–2016

2010 indicator declining 2011–2016

B1b. Area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed

2010 indicator improving 2001–2017

2010 indicator stable2012-2017

B2. Sustainable fisheries

2010 indicator improving

1990–2013

2010 indicator improving

2008–2013

B3. Climate change adaptation

Under development

B4. Pressure from climate change (Spring Index)

Not assessed

Not assessed

B5. Pressure from pollution

B5a. Air pollution

B5a(i). Area affected by acidity

2010 indicator improving

1996–2014

2010 indicator stable2009–2014

B5a(ii). Area affected by nitrogen

2010 indicator improving

1996–2014

2010 indicator stable2009–2014

B5b. Marine pollution

2010 indicator improving

1990–2015

2010 indicator improving2010–2015

B6. Pressure from invasive species

B6a. Freshwater invasive species

2010 indicator declining1960–2016

Not assessed

B6b. Marine (coastal) invasive species

2010 indicator declining1960–2016

Not assessed

B6c. Terrestrial invasive species

2010 indicator declining1960–2016

Not assessed

B7. Surface water status

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator declining2011–2016

C1. Protected areas

C1a. Total extent of protected areas: on-land

2010 indicator improving

1950–2017

2010 indicator stable2012–2017

C1b. Total extent of protected areas: at-sea

2010 indicator improving

1950–2017

2010 indicator improving

2012–2017

C1c. Condition of Areas/Sites of Special Scientific Interest

2010 indicator improving2005–2017

2010 indicator stable2012–2017

C2. Habitat connectivity

Under development

C3. Status of European habitats and species

C3a. Status of UK habitats of European importance

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator declining2007–2013

C3b. Status of UK species of European importance

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator improving2007–2013

C4. Status of UK priority species

C4a. Relative abundance

2010 indicator declining1970–2015

2010 indicator declining2010–2015

C4b. Distribution

2010 indicator stable1970–2016

2010 indicator stable2011–2016

C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea

C5a. Farmland birds

2010 indicator declining1970–2014

2010 indicator declining2009–2014

C5b. Woodland birds

2010 indicator declining1970–2014

2010 indicator stable2009–2014

C5c. Wetland birds

2010 indicator declining1975–2014

2010 indicator declining2009–2014

C5d. Seabirds

Not Assessed

Not Assessed

C5e. Wintering waterbirds

2010 indicator improving 1975/76–2013/14

2010 indicator declining2008/09–2013/14

C6. Insects of the wider countryside

C6a. Semi-natural habitat specialists

2010 indicator declining1976–2016

2010 indicator stable2011–2016

C6b. Species of the wider countryside

2010 indicator declining1976–2016

2010 indicator stable2011–2016

C7. Plants of the wider countryside

 

Under development

C8. Mammals of the wider countryside (bats)

2010 indicator improving1999–2015

2010 indicator stable2010–2015

C9. Genetic resources for food and agriculture

C9a. Animal genetic resources – effective population size of Native Breeds at Risk

C9a(i). Goat breeds

2010 indicator improving2004–2016

2010 indicator improving2011–2016

C9a(ii). Pig breeds

2010 indicator stable2000–2016

2010 indicator declining2011–2016

C9a(iii). Horse breeds 

2010 indicator declining2000–2016

2010 indicator declining2011–2016

C9a(iv). Sheep breeds

2010 indicator improving2000–2016

2010 indicator stable

2011–2016

C9a(v). Cattle breeds

2010 indicator improving2000–2016

2010 indicator improving2011–2016

C9b. Plant genetic resources – Enrichment Index

2010 indicator improving1960–2017

2010 indicator improving2012–2017

D1. Biodiversity and ecosystem services 

D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea

2010 indicator stable1983–2014

2010 indicator improving2009–2014

D1b. Removal of greenhouse gases by UK forests

2010 indicator improving1990–2015

2010 indicator improving2010–2015

D1c. Status of pollinating insects

2010 indicator declining1980–2014

2010 indicator stable2009–2014

E1. Biodiversity data for decision making

E1a. Cumulative number of records

2010 indicator improving 2004–2017

2010 indicator improving2012–2017

E1b. Number of publicly accessible records at 1km2 resolution or better

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator improving2012–2017

E2. Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity

E2a. Public sector expenditure on UK biodiversity

2010 indicator improving2000/01–2015/16

2010 indicator declining2010/11–2015/16

E2b. Non-governmental organisation expenditure on UK biodiversity

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

E2c. UK expenditure on international biodiversity

2010 indicator improving2000/01–2015/16

2010 indicator declining2010/11–2015/16

 

1 Long-term – an assessment of change since the earliest date for which data are available, although if the data run is for less than ten years a long-term assessment is not made.

2 Short-term – an assessment of change over the latest five years.  For a very few indicators the short-term change is over a longer time-period as a result of the frequency of update of the data upon which the indicators are based.  Indicators C3a and C3b have a six year short-term assessment.

2010 indicator improving

 

   Improving 

2010 indicator declining

 

   Deteriorating

2010 indicator stable

 

   Little or no overall change

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

 

   Insufficient or no comparable data

 

The individual assessments for each measure can be combined to produce an overall picture of progress made. The charts below display the numbers of measures that have shown an improvement (green traffic light), deterioration (red traffic light), little or no overall change (amber traffic light), or that have insufficient data for an assessment to be made (white traffic light).

The UK Government is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is committed to the biodiversity goals and targets agreed in 2010 and set out in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. The targets are known as 'Aichi Targets', after the province in Japan where they were agreed.  The Strategic Plan has five goals (A–E), each with a number of targets (the focus of each goal is shown by the words in bold type below):

A.    Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.

B.    Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.

C.   Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.

D.   Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystems.

E.    Enhance implementation through planning, knowledge management and capacity building.

As well as an overall summary, based on all measures in the indicator set, separate summaries for Strategic Goals B and C are shown, which are based on the indicators and measures linked to those goals (B1 to B7; C1 to C9).  A number of indicators are under development for Strategic Goals A, D, and E, so they currently have very few measures; separate charts are therefore not shown.

Assessment of change: all measures

 

Assessment of change: all measures

 

The UK biodiversity indicators set comprises 24 indicators and 49 measures.  Of these, seven measures are not assessed in the long-term, and ten in the short term, as the measures are either under development, or analytical methods for short-term assessment need to be refined.  Twenty of the 42 measures assessed over the long term show an improvement, compared to 11 of the 39 measures that are assessed over the short term.  Eleven measures show a decline in the long term, and twelve a decline in the short term.  Measures that improved or deteriorated in the long term have not necessarily continued to improve or deteriorate respectively in the short term.

The 11 measures showing an improvement in the short term are:

B2. Sustainable fisheries

B5b. Marine pollution (heavy metals)

C1b. Total area of protected sites: at sea

C3b. Status of UK species of European importance

C9a. Animal genetic resources (2 measures)

C9b. Plant genetic resources

D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea

D1b. Greenhouse gas removals by forests

E1. Biodiversity data for decision making (2 measures)

 

The 20 measures which have improved in the long term are:

A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation

B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes

B1b. Area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed

B2. Sustainable fisheries

B5. Pressure from pollution (3 measures)

C1. Protected areas (3 measures)

C5e. Wintering water birds

C8a. Mammals of the wider countryside (Bats)

C9a. Animal genetic resources (3 measures)

C9b. Plant genetic resources

D1b. Greenhouse gas removals by UK forests

E1a. Cumulative number of records in the NBN

E2. Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity (2 measures)

 

The 12 measures showing a decline in the short term are:

A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation

B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes

B7. Surface water status

C3a. Status of UK habitats of European importance

C4a. Status of UK Priority species: Relative abundance

C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea (3 measures)

C9a. Animal genetic resources (2 measures)

E2. Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity (2 measures)

 

The 11 measures showing long-term deterioration are:

B6. Pressure from invasive species (3 measures)

C4a. Status of UK Priority species: Relative abundance

C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea (3 measures)

C6. Insects in the wider countryside (butterflies) (2 measures)

C9a. Animal genetic resources - horse breeds

D1c. Status of Pollinating insects

 

Key changes to the indicator set since the previous publication are:

  1. Corrections to the historic data for indicator A2 on conservation volunteering hours.
  2. As a result of changes to the way in which agri-environment schemes are implemented in the UK, the measure of entry-level schemes (indicator B1a) has been moved to the background in the 2017 publication (Environmental Stewardship in England closed to new agreements in 2014 and ELS only agreements have started to expire).  This has the effect of decreasing the number of measures in the indicator set by one. 
  3. An improved bats indicator (indicator C8) through removal of summer roost count data for common and soprano pipistrelles as investigations have shown that the pipistrelle species’ frequent ‘roost switching’ can cause a negative bias.
  4. The two indicators based on based on Bayesian statistics: distribution of UK priority species (indicator C4b) and status of pollinating insects (indicator D1c) have both benefited from methodological improvements to the underlying modelling techniques, which have allowed many more species to be brought into these measures.  As such they are not directly comparable with the indicators previously published.
  5. The traffic light assessment for the seabirds measure (indicator C5d) has been removed until a way of assessing variability is devised.  This follows recommendations in a quality assurance science panel report, dated January 2016.

 

Assessment of change: Strategic Goals B and C

Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use

 

Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.

 

The indicators under Strategic Goal B (seven indicators and 12 measures prefixed 'B' in the summary table) show progress is being made to address the pressures on biodiversity (e.g. in the proportion of fisheries that are sustainable, in the area of land in agri-environment schemes, air and marine pollution).  However, there has been a long-term increase in the prevalence of invasive species, reflecting a pattern of continuing or growing threat to biodiversity in the UK.  In the short-term there is little or no overall change in the area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed, and in the area of semi-natural habitats affected by acidification and/or eutrophication.  There was a short-term decline in the area of land in higher-level / targeted agri-environment schemes, and in surface water status.

 

Goal C: Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.

 

Goal C: Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.

 

There were long-term declines for seven measures under Strategic Goal C (nine indicators and 23 measures prefixed 'C' in the summary table, covering status of biodiversity), reflecting the declines in many species populations seen in the 1970s and 1980s.  There is some evidence that some of the previous declines have slowed, with some measures assessed as deteriorating in the long-term showing little or no overall change in the short-term (e.g. butterflies, woodland birds, and the abundance and distribution of priority species).  In total, six measures have shown improvement over the short term, including extent of protected areas at sea, status of UK species of European importance, and plant genetic resources.  These conclusions should be viewed with some caution as changes are more difficult to assess reliably over the short term.