1st Meeting of the UK Biodiversity Indicators Forum (BIF1)


On Monday 4th March 2002 the first UK Biodiversity Indicators Forum was held at the offices of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) in Peterborough.

The purpose of the Forum was to enable exchange of experience in the development and use of biodiversity indicators in the UK at a range of scales and within a variety of sectors.

The meeting was arranged by Just Ecology on behalf of Defra, with support from JNCC, English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage, on behalf of the Biodiversity Information Group (a sub-group of the UK Biodiversity Partnership). A wide range of government agencies and non-governmental organisations attended.

Presentations on biodiversity indicators were given. They covered a variety of topics, ranging from sectoral issues such as climate change and agriculture through to the use and development of indicators at local, national and European levels. Open discussions were held at the end of each presentation session.


The main themes emerging from the Forum presentations and discussions were:

  • A large number of biodiversity indicators are in existence or being developed, covering a wide variety of sectors and relevant at a range of scales.
  • Indicators serve many purposes, leading to debate about whether indicators should be policy-driven, data-driven or process-driven.
  • The UK was considered to be doing relatively well in the field of biodiversity indicator development, but needs to maintain an overview so that comparisons can be made with European and international counterparts.
  • It would be valuable for the UK to continue to share its experience with indicator development internationally.
  • Gaps in data exist, including for invertebrates, genetic diversity, marine species, linking diversity with climate change and capturing regional/local diversity. There is also a need for further scientific research, as well as work to address the problem of differences in data between countries and the current lack of public awareness about biodiversity.
  • There is a need for increased co-ordination of efforts in indicator development, including awareness-raising, experience sharing, improving data collection, increasing access to data and tackling common problems. A twin-track approach was recommended, whereby we use what data and indicators we have while continuing to develop new and better approaches.
  • Indicators should be simple, transparent yet meaningful, enabling common messages to be given, but without resorting to a rigid framework.


A UK Biodiversity Indicators Forum was considered useful and could have a number of functions: to undertake periodic reviews and facilitate information exchange; to establish, maintain and disseminate a list of contacts; to identify topics requiring more co-ordinated efforts; to develop and promulgate best practice and standards; and to create and maintain an internet hub for linking initiatives.


Meeting Report (PDF, 453kb)