Wildlife monitoring schemes
UKBMS provides leadership, coordination, expert support and underlying infrastructure to identify and record butterfly species distributions and abundance at more than 2,000 UK sites each year across a range of habitat types. Butterflies are biologically suitable as indicator species, having rapid lifecycles and, in many cases, high sensitivity to environmental conditions. UKCEH has supported butterfly monitoring volunteer networks since 1976, and it has now become one of the longest running insect monitoring schemes in the world. Annual survey methods now incorporate butterfly transects, the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) and timed-counts. The resulting UKBMS data enable accurate assessment of their trends, and provide one of the most important resources for understanding changes in insect populations.
UKBMS was established in 1976 to provide annual surveys of butterflies, with some data going back to 1973.
UKBMS provides the only UK-scale monitoring of butterflies. Comparable schemes exist in some European countries and other parts of the world, though UKBMS is by far the longest running butterfly monitoring scheme in the world.
UKBMS data are published annually through the UKCEH Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC).
The UKCEH contribution to UKBMS is co-ordinated from the Biological Records Centre at UKCEH Wallingford and operates across the UK.
UKBMS is a collaborative project funded by JNCC, UKCEH, Butterfly Conservation and the British Trust for Ornithology. Research projects using the scheme outputs are funded by: Defra; EU; UKRI-NERC research grants; NERC National Capability LTSS UK-SCaPE programme.
Users of UKBMS include: Defra and JNCC (official statistics for UK and Country Biodiversity Indicators published each year); official partner in the European Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and part of EU SDG indicator: environmental researchers.
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