Overview of assessment of change for all indicators

 

The table below summaries traffic light assessments for 24 indicators and their component measures.

Indicator number (Strategic Goal / number), title,
and measures where applicable

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

20002014

2010 indicator declining

20092014

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

B1a(i). Higher-level or targeted schemes

2010 indicator improving
 19922014

2010 indicator improving
 20092014

B1a(ii). Entry-level type schemes

2010 indicator improving

20052014

2010 indicator improving
 20092014

B1b. Area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed

2010 indicator improving
 20012015

2010 indicator stable 

2010-2015

B2. Sustainable fisheries

2010 indicator improving

19902013

2010 indicator improving

20082013

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

19962012

2010 indicator improving

20072012

B5a(ii). Area affected by nitrogen

2010 indicator improving

19962012

2010 indicator improving

20072012

B5b. Marine pollution

2010 indicator improving

19902013

2010 indicator improving
20082013

B6. Pressure from invasive species

B6a. Freshwater invasive species

2010 indicator declining
19602015

Not assessed

B6b. Marine (coastal) invasive species

2010 indicator declining

19602015

Not assessed

B6c. Terrestrial invasive species

2010 indicator declining

19602015

Not assessed

 

B7. Surface water status

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator stable
2010–2015

C1. Protected areas

C1a. Total extent of protected areas: on-land

2010 indicator improving

19502015

2010 indicator stable
20102015

C1b. Total extent of protected areas: at-sea

2010 indicator improving

19502015

2010 indicator improving

20102015

C1c. Condition of Areas/Sites of Special Scientific Interest

2010 indicator improving

20052015

2010 indicator stable

20102015

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 declining

20072013

C3b. Status of UK species of European importance

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator improving

20072013

C4. Status of UK priority species

C4a. Relative abundance

2010 indicator declining

19702012

2010 indicator stable

20072012

C4b. Distribution

2010 indicator declining

19702012

2010 indicator stable

20072012

C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea

C5a. Farmland birds

2010 indicator declining

19702013

2010 indicator declining

20082013

C5b. Woodland birds

2010 indicator declining

19702013

2010 indicator stable

20082013

C5c. Wetland birds

2010 indicator declining

19752013

2010 indicator declining

20082013

C5d. Seabirds

2010 indicator declining

19862013

2010 indicator declining 

20082013

C5e. Wintering waterbirds

2010 indicator improving
 1975/762012/13

2010 indicator declining 

2007/082012/13

C6. Insects of the wider countryside

C6a. Semi-natural habitat specialists

2010 indicator declining

19762014

2010 indicator stable 

20092014

C6b. Species of the wider countryside

2010 indicator declining

19762014

2010 indicator stable

20092014

C7. Plants of the wider countryside

 

Under development

C8. Mammals of the wider countryside (bats)

2010 indicator improving
19992013

2010 indicator stable

20082013

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 improving

20042015

2010 indicator improving

20102015

C9a(ii). Pig breeds

2010 indicator improving

20002015

2010 indicator declining

20102015

C9a(iii). Horse breeds 

2010 indicator declining

20002015

2010 indicator declining

20102015

C9a(iv). Sheep breeds

2010 indicator improving

20002015

2010 indicator improving

20102015

C9a(v). Cattle breeds

2010 indicator improving

20002015

2010 indicator improving

20102015

C9b. Plant genetic resources – Enrichment Index

2010 indicator improving

19602015

2010 indicator improving

20102015

D1. Biodiversity and ecosystem services 

D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea

2010 indicator stable

19832014

 2010 indicator improving
20092014

D1b. Removal of greenhouse gases by UK forests

2010 indicator improving

19902013

2010 indicator improving

20082013

D1c. Status of pollinating insects

2010 indicator declining
19802010

2010 indicator declining
20052010

E1. Biodiversity data for decision making

E1a. Cumulative number of records

2010 indicator improving
 20042015

2010 indicator improving

20102015

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

2010 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator improving

20102015

E2. Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity

E2a. Public sector expenditure on UK biodiversity

2010 indicator improving

2000/012014/15

2010 indicator declining

2009/102014/15

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 improving

2000/012014/15

2010 indicator improving

2009/102014/15

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 stable   Little or no overall change

2010 indicator declining   Deteriorating

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 2011–20203. The Strategic Plan has five goals (AE), 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.

 

3 The targets are known as 'Aichi Targets', after the province in Japan where they were agreed.

 

Assessment of change: all measures

Figure. Assessment of change: all measures

 

The UK biodiversity indicators set comprises 24 indicators and 50 measures.  Of these, six measures are not assessed in the long-term, and nine in the short term, as the measures are either under development, or analytical methods for short-term assessment need to be refined.  22 of the 44 measures assessed over the long term show an improvement, compared to 17 of the 41 measures that are assessed over the short term.  Thirteen measures show a decline in the long term, and ten 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 17 measures showing an improvement in the short term are:

  • B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes (2 measures)
  • B2. Sustainable fisheries
  • B5. Pressure from pollution (3 measures)
  • C1b. Total extent of protected areas: at sea
  • C3b. Status of UK species of European importance
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources (3 measures)
  • C9b. Plant genetic resources
  • D1a. Fish size classes in the North Sea
  • D1b. Greenhouse gas removals by UK forests
  • E1. Biodiversity data for decision making (2 measures)
  • E2c. UK expenditure on international biodiversity

 

The 22 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 (2 measures)
  • 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 waterbirds
  • C8a. Mammals of the wider countryside (bats)
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources (4 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 10 measures showing a decline in the short term are:

  • A2. Taking action for nature: volunteer time spent in conservation
  • C3a. Status of UK habitats of European importance
  • C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea (4 measures)
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources (2 measures)
  • D1c. Status of pollinating insects
  • E2a. Public sector expenditure on UK biodiversity

 

The 13 measures showing long-term deterioration are:

  • B6. Pressure from invasive species (3 measures)
  • C4. Status of UK priority species (2 measures)
  • C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea (4 measures)
  • C6. Insects in the wider countryside (butterflies) (2 measures)
  • C9a. Animal genetic resources - horse breeds
  • D1c. Status of pollinating insects

 

A new indicator was published in 2015 on animal genetic resources – focussing on native breeds at risk – measures for goats, pigs, horses, sheep and cattle are provided.  A new indicator on the distribution of priority species was also published, using new techniques for evaluating species trends based on Bayesian statistics.  Two of the ecosystem services indicators have had considerable development work.  In the case of the removal of greenhouse gases by forests, this has enabled the indicator to be assessed for the first time.  The scope of the pollinators indicator has been expanded to include hoverflies, considerably increasing the number of species included.  

 

Assessment of change: Strategic Goals B and C

 

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

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

 

The indicators under Strategic Goal B (seven indicators and 13 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, or in surface water status.

 

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

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

There were long-term declines for nine 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.