Review calls for an overhaul of Scotland’s biodiversity recording infrastructure

The Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum has published a comprehensive review of the way in which information about Scotland’s nature is recorded, managed, collated and used.

This review sets out a blueprint for improving the infrastructure that supports biological recording and overcoming challenges including uncertain funding, and the championing of a single central repository for biological records. It makes the case for improved use of facilities and skills, using new technology, and increased investment in infrastructure through 24 detailed recommendations.

Ellen Wilson, Chair of the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum said: “There is a long tradition going back to Victorian times of people keeping diaries and logs of the wildlife they see. As we face up to global threats including biodiversity loss and climate change, the information citizen scientists collect about the natural world around them has never been more important.

“Thanks to online recording and national schemes such as the Big Garden Birdwatch and the National Moth Recording Scheme it is easier than ever before to contribute to our knowledge of Scotland’s wildlife. However, there are a number of improvements that can be made to help improve the flow of data and ensure that it can be used effectively.

“Our review sets out a series of forward-looking recommendations that would enable Scotland to become a world-leader for biodiversity and biological recording by 2025, and we hope to work with stakeholders including the Scottish Government to progress these recommendations.”

Sally Thomas, Director of People and Nature, Scottish Natural Heritage said: “We welcome the completion of this comprehensive review towards modernising the recording and use of wildlife information. It will be of widespread interest within Scotland and beyond.

“The findings take a fresh look at this vital infrastructure of skills and facilities at a crucial time for wildlife globally as we work collectively towards fulfilling our biodiversity targets, and we look forward to taking part in forthcoming discussions on the proposals.”

The Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum’s review has been a collaborative process informed by an Advisory Group of 16 government and non-government bodies, interviews with 42 organisations, 290 public questionnaire responses, and four workshops attended by 39 organisations from across the sector.

Download the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum’s Review of the Biological Recording Infrastructure in Scotland  


The Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum was established in 2012 to bring together organisations managing biodiversity data in order to address issues inhibiting data mobilisation.

The Review was commissioned by the Scottish Government in response to a Scottish Parliament petition (PE1229) which called on the Scottish Parliament to:

“urge the Scottish Government to establish integrated local and national structures for collecting, analysing and sharing biological data to inform decision making processes to benefit biodiversity.”

The review has been informed by the 16 government and non-government organisations on the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum’s Advisory Group, which represents the main sectors involved in biodiversity data. Stakeholder workshops have been supported by Scottish Natural Heritage, BRISC, the NBN Trust, RSPB Scotland, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

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