More urgently than ever before, in tackling the biodiversity crisis and climate emergency, we need relevant and up-to-date information to guide effective action and assess success. But obtaining a sufficiently complete and up-to-date account of species in Scotland has been hampered by a dwindling pool of amateur expertise, complex data flows, and gaps in data collection and service provision.

Business Case for Change

Problems, opportunities and investment needs were investigated by the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum, which published its findings in A Review of the Biological Recording Infrastructure in Scotland (SBIF Review) in November 2018. As the most comprehensive audit of its kind, the SBIF Review was shortlisted for the Nature of Scotland Innovation Award 2018 and won the CIEEM Best Practice Stakeholder Engagement Award 2019.

The business case sets out the current situation and presents 24 recommendations that, if adopted, will bring many benefits for all sectors and stakeholders and address the issues identified through the Review.

The business case has been welcomed by BRISC:

“Biological Recording in Scotland (BRISC) strongly supports the publication of A Review of the Biological Recording Infrastructure in Scotland by the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum (SBIF). This important review summarises a huge amount of work that shows how biological recording in Scotland can be organised and managed in the future which will ensure that Scotland is a world leader in monitoring and documenting its biodiversity. BRISC is excited by the suggested outcomes of the review and urges government to adopt and implement the recommendations.”

Chris McInerny, BRISC Chair, November 2018

Downloadable documents

   SBIF Review Final Report

A Review of the Biological Recording Infrastructure in Scotland

[80 pages, 3MB]

SBIF Review Summary Note


Review process

The review identified 12 different roles played by people involved in biological recording and investigated what is working well and less well across all sectors with an interest in biological recording.

The perspectives of 48 influential stakeholders, 290 responses to a public questionnaire and the findings of four cross-sectoral workshops on data flow, services, governance and funding have given an unprecedented level of insight into problems that have persisted for over 40 years and that are today limiting Scotland’s contribution to almost all the Aichi Targets.

Outputs from the review are summarised in the following documents and diagrams

Next steps

The SBIF ambition – for Scotland but also applicable to the UK – is to have an improved infrastructure for recording, managing, sharing and using wildlife data.  The need to get this underway is urgent, whilst recognising that a degree of iteration and further thought will be required to determine the scale and pace of implementation. The Scottish Government Biodiversity Team has therefore asked for a business case of delivery options, in the light of prevailing circumstances and potential routes to funding. An interim draft business case has now been issued for initial consideration by the SBIF Advisory Group, who are asked to think about how they and others could help with and champion this.

SNH have funded the SBIF Development Officer until March 2020, giving capacity to take the Review to publication and submission, and to keep momentum going across all sectors.  This role will be seeking funding to establish any implementation resources as well as focussing on securing funding to develop any potential projects linked to the 24 Recommendations.

Keep informed

  • Follow the discussion on Twitter: follow @SB_Info_Forum and use #SBIFReview
  • Read more views from the community via the SBIF Blog
  • Discover more about the Review process 
  • Existing sources gathered during the course of the Review are available in the SBIF Review Archives

For other general information about the SBIF Review, please contact Rachel Tierney, SBIF Development Officer (