Big boost for biological recording?

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) has announced a six-year contract to enhance biological recording in the UK. 

The contract awarded to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) will support biological recording, analysis and interpretation, with the aim of improving the impact and value of data for conserving the natural environment.

Species and habitat status information is needed for decision-making in planning and industry, and for understanding the importance of wildlife to our everyday existence, such as its economic importance in the pollination of crops.

So-called 'citizen science' has a valuable part to play, as it is responsible for a vast amount of UK biological recording. The new JNCC contract will be supported by the country conservation bodies. It will enable the Biological Records Centre at CEH, and various recording schemes and societies to support volunteer recorders and make better use of the data they collect.

Online recording and verification systems are a primary goal of the project, to improve data flow, and speed up sharing with the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway.

Another aspect will be to develop new sampling strategies to better target rare species and priority habitats. New analytic techniques should also provide policy-relevant information on biodiversity and ecosystem trends. Delays in understanding the spread of invasive species has also been raised as an area of concern.

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