Collated indices are a relative measure of butterfly abundance across monitored sites in the UK, calculated from data collected by the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS). Collated indices are calculated annually for each individual butterfly species that has been recorded on five or more sites in that year. Based on this criterion collated indices have been calculated for the entire UKBMS time series from 1976 to the current year for the majority of species. For some rarer species the time series starts in a later year due to lack of data. Collated indices are calculated using a statistical model that accounts for missing data. The number of sites for each species ranges from 5 to several hundred and varies from year to year. Since 2008 more than 1,000 sites have been monitored across the UK each year. Collated indices are calculated so that we can determine how butterfly populations are changing over time across the UK. This data can be used, for example, to determine where to target conservation efforts and to measure the condition of the UK countryside.
Butterflies are recognised as important indicators of biodiversity and environmental change (e.g. as official UK Biodiversity Indicators), and have been used in numerous research studies to understand the impacts of changes in climate and the extent and condition of habitats.
Although the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) and Butterfly Conservation (BC) are responsible for the calculation and interpretation of the Collated indices, the collection of the data used in their creation is ultimately reliant on a large volunteer community. The UKBMS is funded by a consortium of organisations led by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).
This dataset is updated annually and more recent versions of the UKBMS collated indices are available.
Publication date: 2017-12-01