The Biodiversity Audit Approach provides an innovative, landscape-scale and evidence-based approach to strategic delivery of biodiversity.
The Biodiversity Audit Approach is an innovative, landscape-scale and evidence-based approach to delivery of biodiversity. It provides a working example of the implementation of an integrated approach to biodiversity delivery in a region.
A key element has been the development of an evidence-based approach to understanding the requirements of priority species and providing guidelines for their conservation. Ecological requirements of priority species for conservation have been collated, and synthesised, integrating across numerous individual priority species to produce management guidance for multi-species assemblages.
Collates and examines available evidence to understand what species are present.
Objectively defines the suite of conservation priority species.
Assesses the recent or current status of priority species.
A key objective of the approach is to provide land managers and conservation advisers with guidance on how to enhance and sustain the important biodiversity. Effective management is best achieved by providing prescriptions based on sound evidence. The novel approach taken is to identify multi-species assemblages and associated flagship invertebrate and plant species, requiring similar ecological processes and conditions (‘guilds’). This has the aim of integrating prescriptions for multiple species into habitat-based approaches, but through an evidence-based approach rooted in an understanding of the requirements of individual species.
Access to all available biodiversity data for the region being audited.
Officer time to undertake analysis.
Local expertise to identify conservation priorities and understand the collated data.
Evidence of success
Biodiversity Audits undertaken in Norfolk have led to radical changes in the management of Natura 2000 sites with resultant demonstrable gains for biodiversity.
For instance the Breckland Biodiversity Audit showed that current site management practices were failing to deliver effective management for the species identified by the audit as being regional specialists, including those found nowhere else in the UK.
It is sometimes difficult to access all data needed. It is also often difficult to discover what data is available.
Potential for learning or transfer
The approach can be readily applied in other regions.
The concepts utilised around the development of an evidence-based approach to understanding the requirements of priority species and providing guidelines for their conservation can be applied to a number of questions raised by decision makers.