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Mapping the Species Data Pathway: Connecting species data flows in England

Title: Mapping the Species Data Pathway: Connecting species data flows in England

Client: Cabinet Office and Geospatial Commission

Year: 2020-21

Service area(s): Policy Design, Appraisal and Evaluation      

Country/region: UK

eftec team: Ian Dickie, Natalya Kharadi, Sophie Neupauer, Rob Tinch, Ece Özdemiroğlu

About the project

We need biodiversity data to assess the state of the environment, make better decisions on environmental management (such as the Environmental Land Management scheme in England), and monitor the outcome of relevant actions. Part of that data is about the abundance, condition, and distribution of species covering all flora and fauna within the marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments.

The current species data pathway in England enables a large amount of data to be recorded and shared thanks to extensive volunteer input and is reliant upon continued good will and interest. However, complex data flows and data inconsistencies can affect the quality of the data.

Together with eCountability, the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres, the National Biodiversity Network Trust and the Biological Records Centre, we reviewed how species data is currently collected and collated in England and conducted a cost benefit analysis of the role of the species data pathway in enhancing stewardship of and access to species data, and the decisions that use such data. The baseline of current operation was compared to a ‘no species data pathway’ scenario in which data stewardship and use is severely impaired due to the absence of the data pathway.

The analysis shows benefits strongly outweigh cost, with benefit-cost ratios of the current data pathway ranging between 14:1 and 28:1. However, despite such good public returns, lack of funding is a risk to maintaining the current species data pathway and a funding gap of £6 million has been identified through this work.

Access the report here

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