A spatial indicator of ecological status for valuation of biodiversity across the UK, based on species occurrence records was developed. UK species occurrence data were collated from the Biological Records Centre (BRC). The mean ecological status was calculated across all taxonomic groups for the 2000 to 2013 time period, relative to the species richness maximums from the 1970-1990 time period, showing differences as colours.
Publication date: 2014-04-30
UK species occurrence data were collated from the Biological Records Centre (BRC). Data were gathered for 11 taxonomic groups (Bees, Birds, Bryophytes, Butterflies, Carabidae, Hoverflies, Isopoda, Ladybirds, Moths, Orthoptera and Vascular plants) at the 10km2 scale (hectad) over two separate time periods: 1970 to 1990 and 2000 to 2013. Bird species occurrence data for the breeding birds of the UK were acquired from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). We used data corresponding to the two time periods defined above, taken from the bird atlases of 1976 and 2001-2011 respectively. Estimating species richness and measuring ecological status: Separate analyses were undertaken for both time periods within each taxonomic group. For each hectad we compiled a species list and calculated species richness. We then applied a recently developed method (FRESCALO; Hill 2012) to account for the variation in recorder effort within different hectads. The ecological status of each hectad was calculated using a relative measure of estimated species richness. Each hectad was assigned to an environmental zone, determined by land cover type, climate, geology and topography. We assigned zones using the 2007 ITE land classification (Bunce et al. 2007), according to the dominant ITE land class (45 classes in total) present in individual hectads (Figure S1). A reference list of potential species was then compiled for each environmental zone, and the estimated species richness for any given hectad was compared as a proportion to the list of species that could potentially be there. The mean ecological status was calculated across all taxonomic groups for the 2000 to 2013 time period, relative to the species richness maximums from the 1970-1990 time period.