Biological Records Centre Annual Report 2005-2006

Hill Mark O
Arnold Henry R
Broad G. R.
Brown Peter M. J.
James Trevor J.
McLean I F. G.
Preston Christopher D.
Rowland F.
Roy D. B.

The period covered by this report is the first year of a new six-year partnership between CEH and JNCC. For this period, there is increased emphasis on targeted survey, on analysis and interpretation and on communications and outreach. These activities were always part of BRC’s work, but they have been given greater prominence as a result of rapid developments in information technology. Data are increasingly reaching BRC in electronic form, so that the effort of data entry and collation is reduced. The data, collected by many volunteers and then collated and analysed at BRC, document the changing status and distribution of plants and animals in Britain. Distribution maps are published in atlases and are available via the internet through the NBN Gateway. The effects of change or loss of habitats, the influence of climate change and the consequences of changing water quality are all examples of the environmental factors that affect our biodiversity and which BRC aims to document and understand. The results are vital for developing environmental policies, to support conservation, and for fundamental ecological research. BRC is funded jointly by JNCC and NERC through a partnership based on a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). The partnership started in 1973 when the Nature Conservancy was divided to form the successor bodies Nature Conservancy Council (NCC) and Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (ITE). NCC was in turn divided further to form JNCC and three Country Agencies, while ITE was merged with other NERC units to form CEH. Through all these changes, the partnership has been maintained. A six-year memorandum of agreement ended on 31 January 2005 (Hill et al. 2005). The present report covers the first full year, 2005-6, of the new agreement for 2005-2010. Rapid progress in information technology continues to be highly beneficial for BRC, whose data are increasingly used by the UK country conservation agencies, environmental consultants, NGOs, research workers, policy makers and volunteers. It is gratifying to know that, through our ability to display data on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway, some of our data suppliers now have immediate access to their own data in a convenient form. The year 2005-6 has been one of steady progress, with new datasets added to BRC, substantial additions to existing data, and improved communication with the NBN Gateway. The most high profile activity of the year has been the Harlequin Ladybird Survey, which has enabled us to observe the early stages of colonization by a mobile insect in greater detail than has been possible in any previous case.

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Joint Nature Conservation Committee
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