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An assessment of the state of nature in the United Kingdom: A review of findings, methods and impact

An assessment of the state of nature in the United Kingdom: A review of findings, methods and impact
An assessment of the state of nature in the United Kingdom: A review of findings, methods and impact

Clear, accessible, objective metrics of species status are critical to communicate the state of biodiversity and to measure progress towards biodiversity targets. However, the population data underpinning current species status metrics is often highly skewed towards particular taxonomic groups such as birds, butterflies and mammals, primarily due to the restricted availability of high quality population data. A synoptic overview of the state of biodiversity requires sampling from a broader range of taxonomic groups. Incorporating data from a wide range of monitoring and analysis methods and considering more than one measure of species status are possible ways to achieve this. Here, we utilise measures of species’ population change and extinction risk to develop three species status metrics, a Categorical Change metric, a Species Index and a Red List metric, and populate them with a wide range of data sources from the UK, covering thousands of species from across taxonomy. The species status metrics reiterate the commonly reported decline in freshwater and terrestrial species’ status in the UK in recent decades and give little evidence that this rate of decline has slowed. The utility of species status metrics is further improved if we can extrapolate beyond the species sampled to infer the status of the community. For the freshwater and terrestrial species status metrics presented here we can do this with some confidence. Nevertheless, despite the range and number of species contributing to the species metrics, significant taxonomic bias remained and we report weighting options that could help control for this. The three metrics developed were used in the State of Nature 2016 report and indications are they reached a large number of audience members. We suggest options to improve the design and communication of these and similar metrics in the future.

Biodiversity, Great Britain, Index, Indicator, Metric, Species
1470-160X
226-236
Burns, F.
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Eaton, M. A.
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Hayhow, D. B.
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Outhwaite, C. L.
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Al Fulaij, N.
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August, T. A.
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Boughey, K. L.
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Brereton, T.
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Brown, A.
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Bullock, D. J.
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Gent, T.
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Haysom, K. A.
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Isaac, N. J.B.
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Johns, D.G.
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Macadam, C. R.
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Mathews, F.
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Noble, D. G.
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Powney, G. D.
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Sims, D. W.
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Smart, S. M.
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Stroh, P.
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Walker, K. J.
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Webb, J. R.
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Webb, T. J.
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Gregory, R. D.
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Burns, F.
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Eaton, M. A.
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Hayhow, D. B.
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Outhwaite, C. L.
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Al Fulaij, N.
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August, T. A.
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Boughey, K. L.
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Brereton, T.
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Brown, A.
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Bullock, D. J.
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Gent, T.
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Haysom, K. A.
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Isaac, N. J.B.
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Johns, D.G.
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Macadam, C. R.
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Mathews, F.
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Noble, D. G.
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Powney, G. D.
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Sims, D. W.
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Smart, S. M.
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Stroh, P.
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Walker, K. J.
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Webb, J. R.
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Webb, T. J.
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Gregory, R. D.
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Burns, F., Eaton, M. A., Hayhow, D. B., Outhwaite, C. L., Al Fulaij, N., August, T. A., Boughey, K. L., Brereton, T., Brown, A., Bullock, D. J., Gent, T., Haysom, K. A., Isaac, N. J.B., Johns, D.G., Macadam, C. R., Mathews, F., Noble, D. G., Powney, G. D., Sims, D. W., Smart, S. M., Stroh, P., Walker, K. J., Webb, J. R., Webb, T. J. and Gregory, R. D. (2018) An assessment of the state of nature in the United Kingdom: A review of findings, methods and impact. Ecological Indicators, 94 (Part 1), 226-236. (doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.06.033).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Clear, accessible, objective metrics of species status are critical to communicate the state of biodiversity and to measure progress towards biodiversity targets. However, the population data underpinning current species status metrics is often highly skewed towards particular taxonomic groups such as birds, butterflies and mammals, primarily due to the restricted availability of high quality population data. A synoptic overview of the state of biodiversity requires sampling from a broader range of taxonomic groups. Incorporating data from a wide range of monitoring and analysis methods and considering more than one measure of species status are possible ways to achieve this. Here, we utilise measures of species’ population change and extinction risk to develop three species status metrics, a Categorical Change metric, a Species Index and a Red List metric, and populate them with a wide range of data sources from the UK, covering thousands of species from across taxonomy. The species status metrics reiterate the commonly reported decline in freshwater and terrestrial species’ status in the UK in recent decades and give little evidence that this rate of decline has slowed. The utility of species status metrics is further improved if we can extrapolate beyond the species sampled to infer the status of the community. For the freshwater and terrestrial species status metrics presented here we can do this with some confidence. Nevertheless, despite the range and number of species contributing to the species metrics, significant taxonomic bias remained and we report weighting options that could help control for this. The three metrics developed were used in the State of Nature 2016 report and indications are they reached a large number of audience members. We suggest options to improve the design and communication of these and similar metrics in the future.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 July 2018
Published date: 1 November 2018
Keywords: Biodiversity, Great Britain, Index, Indicator, Metric, Species

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 424946
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/424946
ISSN: 1470-160X
PURE UUID: 3af63835-242f-4abc-a420-0f927696859f

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 05 Oct 2018 16:30

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Contributors

Author: F. Burns
Author: M. A. Eaton
Author: D. B. Hayhow
Author: C. L. Outhwaite
Author: N. Al Fulaij
Author: T. A. August
Author: K. L. Boughey
Author: T. Brereton
Author: A. Brown
Author: D. J. Bullock
Author: T. Gent
Author: K. A. Haysom
Author: N. J.B. Isaac
Author: D.G. Johns
Author: C. R. Macadam
Author: F. Mathews
Author: D. G. Noble
Author: G. D. Powney
Author: D. W. Sims
Author: S. M. Smart
Author: P. Stroh
Author: K. J. Walker
Author: J. R. Webb
Author: T. J. Webb
Author: R. D. Gregory

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