Overview of assessment of change for all indicators

 

The table below summarises traffic light assessments for the 25 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

Under development, no interim
measure(s) available

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

indicator improving

2000–2012

2010 indicator declining

2007–2012

A3. Value of biodiversity integrated into decision making

Under development, no interim
measure(s) available

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

Under development, no interim
measure(s) available

A5. Integration of biodiversity considerations into business activity

Under development, no interim
measure(s) available

B1. Agricultural and forest area
under environmental management schemes 

 

B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes

B1a(i). Higher-level / targeted schemes

indicator improving

1992–2012

indicator improving

2007–2012

B1a(ii). Entry-level type  schemes

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

indicator improving

2007–2012

B1b. Area of forestry land certified as sustainably managed

indicator improving

2001–2013

2010 indicator stable

2008–2013

B2. Sustainable fisheries

indicator improving

1990–2011

indicator improving

2006–2011

B3. Climate change adaptation

Under development, no interim
measure(s) available

B4. Pressure from climate change

Not assessed

Not assessed

B5. Pressure from pollution

B5a. Air pollution

B5a(i). Area affected by acidity

indicator improving

1996–2010

indicator improving

2005–2010

B5a(ii). Area affected by nitrogen

indicator improving

1996–2010

indicator improving

2005–2010

B5b. Marine pollution

indicator improving

1990–2011

indicator improving

2006–2011

B6. Pressure from invasive species

B6a. Freshwater invasive species

2010 indicator declining

1960–2008

2010 indicator stable

2000–2008

B6b. Marine invasive species

2010 indicator declining

1960–2008

2010 indicator declining

2000–2008

B6c. Terrestrial invasive species

2010 indicator declining

1960–2008

2010 indicator declining

2000–2008

B7. Water quality 

Not Assessed

Not Assessed

C1. Protected areas

C1a. Total area of protected areas: on-land

indicator improving

1950–2013

indicator improving

2008–2013

C1b. Total area of protected areas: at-sea

indicator improving

1950–2013

indicator improving

2008–2013

C1c. Condition of A/SSSIs

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

indicator improving

2008–2012/13

C2. Habitat connectivity

C2a. Broad-leaved, mixed and yew woodland

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

C2b. Neutral grassland

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

 indicator - insufficient or no comparable data 

C3. Status of habitats of European importance

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator declining

2007–2013

C4. Status of threatened species

C4a. Status of priority species

2010 indicator declining

1970–2010

2010 indicator declining

2005–2010 

C4b. Status of species of European importance

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

indicator improving

2007–2013

C5. Birds of the wider countryside and at sea

C5a. Farmland birds

 2010 indicator declining

1970–2011

2010 indicator declining

2006–2011

C5b. Woodland birds

2010 indicator declining

1970–2011

indicator improving

2006–2011

C5c. Wetland birds

2010 indicator declining

1975–2011

2010 indicator declining

2006–2011

C5d. Seabirds

indicator improving

1970–2012

2010 indicator declining

2007–2012

C5e. Wintering waterbirds

indicator improving

1975/6–2010/11

2010 indicator stable

2005/6–2010/11

C6. Insects of the wider countryside (butterflies)

C6a. Semi-natural habitat specialists

2010 indicator declining

1976–2012

2010 indicator stable

2007–2012

C6b. Species of the wider countryside

2010 indicator stable

1976–2012

2010 indicator stable

2007–2012

C7. Plants of the wider countryside

C7a. Change in plant species richness (arable and horticultural land)

indicator improving

1990–2007

indicator improving
1998–2007

C7b. Change in plant species richness (woodland and grassland)

2010 indicator declining

1990–2007

2010 indicator declining
1998–2007

C7c. Change in plant species richness (boundary habitats)

2010 indicator declining

1990–2007

2010 indicator declining

1998–2007

C8. Mammals of the wider countryside (bats)

C8a. Bat populations 

indicator improving

1999–2012

2010 indicator stable

2007–2012

C8b. Historical pipistrelle bat roost counts3 

2010 indicator declining

1977–1999

Not Assessed 

C9. Genetic resources for food and agriculture

C9a. Animal genetic resources

C9a(i). Native sheep breeds 

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

2010 indicator stable

2001–2007

C9a(ii). Native cattle breeds

indicator - insufficient or no comparable data

indicator improving

2001–2007

C9b. Plant genetic resources - Enrichment Index

indicator improving

1960–2012

 indicator improving

2007–2012

D1. Biodiversity and ecosystem services (marine – fish size classes in the North Sea)

2010 indicator declining

1983–2011

indicator improving

2006–2011

D2. Biodiversity and ecosystem services (terrestrial)

Under development, no interim
measure(s) available

E1. Biodiversity data for decision making

 

Under development, no interim
measure(s) available

E2. Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity

E2a. Expenditure on UK biodiversity

 indicator improving

2000/1–2012/13

 2010 indicator declining

2007/8–2012/13

E2b. UK Expenditure on international biodiversity

 indicator improving

2000/1–2012/13

2010 indicator declining
2007/8–2012/13

 

1 The earliest available year is used as the baseline for assessment of long-term change. The base year used for each measure is shown in the table. Where data are unavailable, or do not precede 1996, a long-term assessment is not given.

2 If no data are available in 2000, the nearest alternative year has been used and is stated next to the traffic light.

3 Historical pipistrelle bat roost counts are not included in the summary of all measures chart as it is not possible to make a short-term assessment, so there is no possibility for the measure to change from a decline to an increase. 

 

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 assessment.  This provides a summary of progress without the need to combine the indicators themselves. 

 

The charts below display the numbers of measures that have shown an improvement (green traffic light), a 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 new biodiversity goals and targets agreed in 2010 and set out in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020.4 The Strategic Plan has five goals, 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. To 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 overall summaries based on all measures in the indicators, 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

Of the 36 measures used to compile the ‘all measures’ summary chart, 15 (42 per cent) show a short-term improvement, compared with 16 measures (44 per cent) showing improvement over the longer term.  12 measures (33 per cent) show a decline in the short term, and 11 (31 per cent) a decline in the long term. 

 

Those showing an improvement in the short term include: the area of land in agri-environment schemes, sustainable fisheries, air and marine pollution, the extent of protected sites both on-land and at-sea, condition of sites of special scientific interest, status of species of European importance, woodland birds, and plant genetic resources.

 

Measures which have improved in the long term include: conservation volunteering, sustainable fisheries, air and marine pollution, the extent of protected sites both on-land and at-sea, populations of seabirds and of wintering waterbirds, plant species richness of arable and horticultural land, plant genetic resources and expenditure on UK and international biodiversity.

 

Measures showing long-term deterioration include: terrestrial, freshwater and marine invasive species, status of priority species, populations of farmland, woodland and wetland birds, populations of butterflies which are strongly associated with semi-natural habitats, and plant diversity (in woodland and grassland, and in boundary habitats). 

 

Some of these measures have continued to deteriorate in the short term (e.g. marine and terrestrial invasive species, priority species, populations of farmland and wetland birds, and the plant diversity of boundary habitats). 

 

Assessment of change: Strategic Goals B and C

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

Assessment of change: Strategic Goals

 

 

The indicators under Strategic Goal B (seven indicators and ten 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, and air and marine pollution).  There is both long- and short-term deterioration for marine and terrestrial invasive species, reflecting a pattern of continuing or growing threat to biodiversity in the UK. 

 

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

Assessment of change: Strategic Goals

 

There were long-term declines for eight measures (32 per cent) under Strategic Goal C (nine indicators and 22 measures prefixed 'C' in the summary table, covering status of biodiversity), reflecting the declines in many species populations seen in the 1970s and 1980s.  In the short term, these long-term declines have generally slowed, with some measures previously assessed as deteriorating showing either improvement (e.g. populations of woodland birds) or little or no overall change (e.g. butterflies, and wintering water birds).  These conclusions should be viewed with some caution as changes are more difficult to assess over the short term.  One measure within Strategic Goal C, seabirds, shows a long-term improvement, but deterioration in the short term.

 

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