Tomorrow's Biodiversity research phase

Desk research

The desk research phase of the project was largely conducted over 2013. This included a review of the drivers of biodiversity change; a review of UK biodiversity monitoring & surveillance and a review of biological identification resources. The review of the drivers of biodiversity loss confirmed that they are manifold, dynamic and largely unpredictable. It concluded:

The drivers of biodiversity loss are wide-ranging and complex and they interact in ways which we are only just beginning to appreciate, much less understand. Furthermore, the effects of these drivers on biodiversity operate through complex, and relatively poorly understood, ecological processes. The Tomorrow’s Biodiversity Project should not address itself to unpicking the detail of the links between the complex web of drivers and the response of biodiversity, but rather to observing and recording the effects of drivers on biodiversity to facilitate better understanding and mitigation.

PDFDownload the full text of the review of the review of drivers of biodiversity change.

A review UK biodiversity monitoring & surveillance highlighted huge gaps in taxonomic coverage amongst existing indicators and concluded:

FSC and the Tomorrow’s Biodiversity Project cannot directly influence the development of national and UK indicators, but we can target resources on the development of operational indicators that have potential to make a contribution and we can prioritise work in those areas for which few operational indicators currently contribute.

The full text of the review of UK biodiversity monitoring & surveillance will be available for download soon.

A review of biological identification resources was also carried out. This highlighted the rapidly changing landscape of taxonomic investigation and identification. The review concluded:

Biological identification and, as a consequence, biological recording is on the cusp of a period of major and rapid change on the tails of a technological transformation already underway in the wider field of taxonomy & systematics. Accelerating advances in mobile computing and electronic publishing are helping to drive this transformation. These changes are fundamentally important to the delivery of the Tomorrow’s Biodiversity project and are of general importance for the delivery of biodiversity education and resources within the FSC.

PDFDownload the full text of the review of biological identification resources.

The Tomorrow's Biodiversity research phase did not produce any strong evidence to highlight particular groups of organisms that can address gaps in surveillance & monitoring linked to specific drivers of biodiversity change. On the contrary, it suggested that the gaps are so large, and the drivers so poorly understood and unpredictable, that almost any under-resourced taxonomic group could make a valuable contribution to surveillance & monitoring if supported by new identification resources, training and special interest groups.