Scotland is famed for wildlife – bringing fascination and enjoyment on land, in our lochs and rivers, and surrounding seas. Our knowledge of wildlife distribution is founded on the skill and dedication of volunteer naturalists, recording plants and animals as they encounter them or by taking part in structured recording schemes.
We interact with this enthusiastic and motivated community of volunteers through Scotland’s Biodiversity Information Forum. In 2016 SBIF became fully aligned with the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) in Scotland, forming a unique alliance.
With 24 million species records now accessible through NBN Atlas Scotland we have a great foundation to build on. Impressive as that is, species recording coverage is nevertheless patchy and incomplete, and some areas lack recent observations. We need to strengthen information on the natural environment to inform effective action. A wealth of data collected by public agencies and private organisations can also contribute to biodiversity knowledge where mobilised for public use. We have published more than 340,000 species records and encourage others to do so too.
Our ability to access and use biodiversity data continues to be developed through the NBN Atlas web site – a technical advance pioneered in Scotland – with improvements and enhancements underway. Limiting factors to creating a more complete knowledge base are the sufficiency and security of resources to support recording. A comprehensive review of the biological recording infrastructure in Scotland is therefore being undertaken by SBIF to gather ideas on how to improve collaboration, engagement and associated investment.
“The review is timely. It demonstrates connecting people with nature for a prosperous and secure future. Importantly, its findings will be relevant throughout Scotland, including and beyond traditional biodiversity interests.”
Sally Thomas, Director of Policy and Advice
Four two-day workshops organised by SBIF are taking place at our Battleby Conference Centre to consider:
- Data Flows (September)
- Services (October)
- Governance (November)
- Finance (December).
Papers, outputs and monthly highlight reports are available on the Scotland pages of the NBN website.
Results will become available for consideration in 2018. We will be especially interested to see how this can give stimulus to our:
- citizen science ambition in Scotland’s Biodiversity Route Map to 2020 and
- 2030 SBS vision, in which Scotland is recognised as a world leader in biodiversity conservation. Everyone is involved; everyone benefits. The nation is enriched.
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