Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket 2013


Updated UK Biodiversity Indicators were published on 24 October 2013 on the JNCC website. The indicator suite has been published annually since 2007 with input from government, statutory nature conservation bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academic institutes.  Some of the 25 indicators in the suite rely on biodiversity data collected as part of JNCC surveillance schemes run in partnership with NGOs and research bodies. In this 2013 publication, indicators have been updated where possible with the most up to date data and newly developed indicators included.  In some cases development work is ongoing.UK Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket 2013


Key changes to the indicator set since the previous publication in May 2012 are:

  • a new indicator on species status for priority species;
  • a new indicator for plant genetic resources;
  • new indicators on species and habitats of European importance;
  • a reworking of the indicator on protected areas;
  • an extension of the bats indicator to include two more species (a change from six to eight species);
  • an interim indicator on ecological water quality.


There are 36 individually assessed measures making up the 25 indicators, each of which is, where possible, assessed over the long-term and the short-term. The indicators show a mixed picture. Of the 36 component measures within the indicators, over the long-term 11 have shown deterioration, 16 have shown improvement, one has shown little or no overall change, and eight had insufficient data for an assessment. Over the short-term (the past five years) 12 measures have shown deterioration, 15 have shown improvement, seven have shown little or no overall change and two had insufficient data for an assessment.


There has been good progress in the following areas:

  • Designation of protected areas on land and, in particular, at sea;
  • Area of agricultural and forest land managed under environmental schemes;
  • Management of fish stocks around the UK;
  • Reduction in hazardous substances entering the marine environment.


At the same time, many of the pressures on wildlife, for example from invasive species or climate change, remain in place or are increasing.


The status of species and habitats also paints a mixed picture. Some species, such as some bat populations, are recovering from previously low levels. However, many other species, notably farmland birds, continue to decline and there have been losses of some areas of important habitat.  


Expenditure on UK and international biodiversity has decreased in the short term. This indicator is based only on public sector spend, but in future it is planned to follow the new internationally agreed approach to capture all sources of funding including from industry and from non-governmental organisations.


The UK Biodiversity Indicators are dependent on a wide variety of data, provided by a range of organisations. The presentation and assessment of the indicators has been cleared by the data providers, and the production and editing of the indicators has been overseen by independent Defra statisticians as a National Statistics compendium publication. 


The UK Biodiversity Indicators will form a major part of the UK’s 5th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2014. They will be supplemented with other information relating to UK biodiversity, and details of implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.


Previous versions of the indicators are available for download.


Contact File


James Williams

Indicators & Reporting Manager

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866868


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