Countryside Survey ‘ahead of the game’ in monitoring updated UK BAP species

August 2007

The UK Biodiversity Partnership has released an updated List of Priority Species and Habitats that deserve the highest conservation protection. The new list, which was released in June 2007, is a result of the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken in the UK, involving two years of work and over 500 people. It contains 1149 species and 65 habitats that have been identified as priorities for conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).

The new list of endangered species and habitats has already been considered and included as part of the methodological development of Countryside Survey 2007. Preliminary work for the 2007 Survey has involved working closely with policy customers to determine which of the previous UK BAP priority habitats would be reported on. It has also involved matching the Survey’s own disaggregated code system (first developed in 1978 to classify Broad Habitats) with the priority habitat descriptions, as well as analysing previous data to determine previous extents. Field surveyors have also been asked to ensure that a vegetation plot is recorded for each priority habitat, including the allocation of plots to a National Vegetation Classification (NVC).

Priority habitats that the project expects to report on include:

blanket bog
woodlands (lowland beech, lowland mixed deciduous, wet woodland, upland mixed ash, upland oak, native pine)
upland heath
lowland acid grassland
upland and lowland hay meadows
cereal field margins

Says Ian Simpson, project manager of Countryside Survey:“Our early planning and consultation with partners has enabled us to devise methods to better respond to policy changes and the needs of policy customers, as well as furthering the project’s overall contribution to the UK BAP programme. In this respect, Countryside Survey is indeed ahead of the game in its forward planning”.