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1 Biodiversity and earth observation: the future for big data in the UK Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser, Defra

2 Introduction: Structure of presentation 1. Defra-network priorities iti for biodiversity it data 2. The value of the data from the National Biodiversity Network 3. New opportunities on the horizon i. Earth Observation ii. Other technological l advances 4. What does big (or bigger) data mean for the NBN? Source: Countryside Survey: Integrated assessment. Pollinator species richness 2

3 Defra network priorities for biodiversity data Our high h level l priorities iti are set out in the Defra network Evidence Strategy, published in 2014: Monitor the state of the terrestrial and freshwater environment, its biodiversity, and water quality (statutory and non-statutory reporting). Assess and improve delivery operational monitoring i Support implementation of the National Pollinator Strategy. Understand and value natural capital As well as Working more effectively work together, within the network and with external providers 3

4 Priorities for the Defra network Biodiversity Monitoring and Surveillance Strategy Biodiversity 2020 Our specific, shared Defra-network priorities for monitoring and surveillance: a. Support national reporting and evaluation (statutory reporting and reporting against policy outcomes) b. Identify the causes and consequences of change, particularly in terms of natural capital and ecosystem services(e.g. pollinators) c. Inform local decision making and delivery Support ed by NB BN data 4

5 Examples: The value of the data from the National Biodiversity Network Data from the NBN is used across the Defra network to support: 120 Statutory reporting on status of Species of Community Interest under the Habitats Directive Status assessments for wild birds Six of the UK biodiversity indicators (used to report CBD progress) Composite indicator of six widespread bats ) In ndex (1970 = All farmland birds (19) Percentage of s pecies Long term Short term Strong increase Weak increase No change Weak decline Strong decline e

6 Example: Impacts of air pollution Research by Carly Stevens at Lancaster University. Integrated data from a range of volunteer schemes, including: BSBI Vascular Plant Database and Local Campanula glomerata Change data British Bryological Society records British Lichen Society records Plantlife Common Plant records Spatial analysis of species presence across gradients of N deposition. Different species show different responses to N deposition Helps to understand how protected sites respond to environmental pressures Cladonia subulata Stevens et al (2011). Collation of evidence of nitrogen impacts on vegetation in relation to UK biodiversity objectives. JNCC Report, 6 No. 447.

7 Example: GB Non-native species information portal Alert! 7

8 Example: trends in wild pollinators Availability of robust quantitative evidence of trends in pollinators is limited Occurrence records can be used to assess changes in species richness or frequency of occurrence over time. Biesmeijer et al 2006 demonstrated: Substantial decline in bee species richness per unit area since late 60s across much of Britain Significant range contraction is species with more specialised habitat or feeding traits. Proportion of trait-group showing significant decline in relative frequency in 10km squares.. Biesmeijer JC, Roberts SPM, Reemer M, Ohlemueller R, Edwards M, et al. (2006) Parallel declines in pollinators and insectpollinated plants in Britain and the Netherlands. Science 313:

9 Example: trends in wild pollinators More recent analysis of the similar data set at a range of scales and different groups suggest this process has slowed or reversed ersed more recently (Carvalheiro alheiro et al 2013) Carvalheiro et al 2013 Carvalheiro et al Species richness declines and biotic homogenisation have slowed down for NW-European pollinators and plants. Ecology Letters. 9

10 Summary of existing use 1. Data from the NBN is already being used to support a range of the Defra network priorities 2. There are still significant gaps in UK monitoring and surveillance capacity (status of threatened species, habitat extent & condition, natural capital state and dynamics ) 3. New technologies are on the near horizon 4. We will need to work together to find the optimal balance of remote and field survey to meet shared future needs. Photo: David Smallshire Mark Stevenson David Smallshire Mark Stevenson

11 Earth Observation: Copernicus An EU Programme ( 3.8bn) covering 6 themes: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security Will launch a constellation of satellites carrying a variety of sensors over the next 2 years Data are freely available

12 Earth Observation: Copernicus 12

13 Defra Space Partnerships Space for Smarter Government Programme (SSGP) Providing 300k this year for six projects to make the most of Copernicus for Defra priorities 2 strategic capability building projects (Hub and spoke data/mapping service; Centre of Excellence) 4 specific business areas where investment is likely to realise early benefits (Greening the CAP; upland monitoring; catchment sensitive farming; biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital evaluation) 13

14 SSGP Strategic projects Project one the hub and spoke model Hub and spoke model for managing large data volumes to ensure users across a wide variety of application areas can access and use data in a way that meets their requirements

15 SSGP Project on biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital Integrated use of Earth Observation systems and information from volunteer surveyors provides benefits from flexible coverage and levels of detail Surveyor/recorder MEOW Making Earth Observation Work for Biodiversity

16 Making Earth Observation Work for Biodiversity-mapping it i habitat t extent t Products of this data integration can provide high levels of detail. They will provide a framework for collecting, analysing and understanding di patterns from other data sources. Some remote and some field-based Volunteer data will provide insight into accuracy of mapping, condition of habitats and any change taking place.

17 Making Earth Observation Work for Biodiversity-mapping it i habitat t condition 1.6m NDWI _ normalised difference wetness index 10m NIR (near infra-red) and SWIR (short-wave infra-red) Crick Framework

18 Other technological advances Genetic sequencing of environmental samples (edna) Remote video and camera trapping with wireless uploads (with or without t crowd sourced identification) Automated GPS tracking, radar (birds, bats) Automated sound recognition

19 What does big (or at least bigger) data mean for the NBN? 1. It s a huge opportunity 2. Shared sampling frameworks and colocation to link environmental, habitat and species data 3. Shared data platforms a. Spatial database of habitat data to link EO and field survey b. Better integration of species and habitat data 4. Integrating automated sampling within existing sampling frameworks 5. Effort recording / standardised methods 19

20 What does big (or at least bigger) data mean for the NBN? 1. The Trust is already developing a broader vision and we welcome this development 2. It could pitch itself as an investment platform for surveillance and research on biodiversity; integrating data to provide high quality products to a range of sectors. 3. A coordinated d network can adapt and capitalise on new opportunities, sharing best practice, and improving standards. 4. Attracting investment through improved products and services. 20

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