Report 326
Annual Report 2001-2002
British Trust for Ornithology
This report covers BTO work under the JNCC/BTO Partnership during 2001-02, including much collation and analysis of studies for which the fieldwork was undertaken in previous years. The two main sections of the report present the chief conclusion drawn from the Partnership's programme in 2001/02 (Section B) and the means by which the work was delivered (Section C)


The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation. Its work contributes to maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving geological features and sustaining natural systems.
JNCC delivers the UK and international responsibilities of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC), the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), Natural England, and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The functions that arise from these responsibilities are principally to:
  • advise Government  on the development and implementation of policies for, or affecting, nature conservation in the UK and internationally;
  • provide advice and disseminate knowledge on nature conservation issues affecting the UK and internationally;
  • establish common standards throughout the UK for nature conservation, including monitoring, research, and the analysis of results;
  • commission or support research which it deems relevant to these functions.
The Committee comprises 14 members: a Chairman and five independent members appointed by the Secretary of State; the Chairman of CNCC; the Chairmen or deputy Chairmen of CCW, Natural England and SNH; and one other member from each of these bodies.     
JNCC, originally established under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, was reconstituted by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Support is provided to the JNCC by a company limited by guarantee (JNCC Support Co) that the Committee established in 2005.
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) promotes and encourages the wider understanding, appreciation and conservation of birds through scientific studies using the combined skills and enthusiasm of its members, other birdwatchers and staff. A key element of BTO's approach is the synergistic combination of unpaid contributions of the time and expertise of over 12,000 members and other volunteers, with the professional skills of trained staff.
In pursuit of its aims, the Trust seeks to: maintain high scientific and professional standards in all its activities; co-operate with others engaged in relevant research; work constructively with those whose activities impinge upon the conservation of birds and their environment; and ensure that its projects widen participants' experience, knowledge and understanding of birds as well as providing enjoyment.
Co-operation between JNCC (and its predecessor bodies) and BTO has been long and particularly fruitful. JNCC and the country agencies have used data and information collected by thousands of BTO members to promote the conservation of sites and habitats of importance for bird conservation throughout Britain, as well as to highlight the specific needs of individual species. More detailed research has been undertaken to investigate conservation problems and to suggest solutions.
As well as applying the results generated by BTO, JNCC contributes its conservation expertise to the Partnership, thus helping to ensure that the work addresses priority issues. BTO contributes not only the fieldwork of the volunteers but also both the ornithological and ecological expertise of its staff and members and the experience that it has of organising large-scale surveys, collating the data, and analysing the results. Both Partners contribute to the costs.
The BTO/JNCC Partnership overlaps with Partnerships responsible for the Breeding Bird Survey (with RSPB) and the Wetland Bird Survey (with WWT and RSPB).
This report covers BTO work under the Partnership during 2001-02, including much collation and analysis of studies for which the fieldwork was undertaken in previous years. The two main sections of the report present the chief conclusion drawn from the Partnership's programme in 2001/02 (Section B) and the means by which the work was delivered (Section C).
Under each programme, we state when we delivered those reports that are formally required under the contract underlying the Partnership but do not list the many other reports made as part of the continuous dialogue of the Partnership. Formal publications are listed in Section D.
Foot-and-Mouth Disease
The BTO suspended fieldwork immediately the FMD outbreak was confirmed; a notice was immediately posted on its website and by the end of the first weekend all Regional Representatives had been contacted; advice to members was given in BTO News. The overall policy subsequently developed was to suspend completely those surveys for which gaps in coverage would render the results largely useless but to allow fieldwork on other projects in those areas of the country free of the disease, provided that the Regional Representative in the area was content that BTO work should go ahead there, that the landowners and tenants of both the surveyed site and adjacent land were content, and that recommended biosecurity measures were taken. We ensured that all activities complied with Government guidelines. BTO and JNCC staff liaised actively throughout the outbreak.
No significant problems were reported and we are grateful both to the volunteer fieldworks and to landowners for handling a difficult situation so well.
There were, of course, significant impacts on the work programme. Coverage of many surveys was seriously affected (see specific sections below). This results in some time being saved during the later part of the year because there were fewer data to process, which compensated for the extra time involved in liaising with the volunteers and with managing partial coverage of the surveys.
Thanks to volunteers
We are grateful to the many volunteers who contribute so much to the conservation of wildlife in the UK by participating in the BTO/JNCC work programme. The time they spend on fieldwork alone is the equivalent certainly of many hundreds of full-time staff, probably of a few thousand. We particularly thank the BTO Regional Representatives who, also in a purely voluntary capacity, organise the fieldwork at local level.


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36 pages
ISSN 0963 8091
Please cite as: British Trust for Ornithology (2002),Services in Ornithology: Annual Report 2001-2002,JNCC Report, No. 326