Transforming the NBN Atlas into a world-leading source of environmental data

We are delighted to announce that the National Biodiversity Network Trust has today received funding from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to help transform its data sharing website, the NBN Atlas, into a world-leading source of environmental data.

The funding, of £375,000 over three and a half years, will enable the further development of the NBN Atlas to meet the needs of its audiences, both current and new, and to help with global environmental issues.

Currently the NBN Atlas holds over 223 million occurrence records across 45,000 species, spanning five centuries. The data come from over 140 different data partners including government agencies, research bodies, local environmental records centres, conservation charities, commercial companies and volunteer wildlife recording groups.

Correctly resourced, through the help of funding such as this Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Grant, the NBN Atlas aims to be the single source of high-quality wildlife data at the national level.

On a larger scale, and in aiming to help address UK and global environmental concerns, the NBN Trust has identified three ‘needs’, which will be addressed through this grant:
1) engaging more people with the natural world,
2) making the data needed for evidence-based decisions more accessible, and
3) developing the NBN Trust’s organisational sustainability to be able to deliver on the first two needs.

Already, anyone can access the NBN Atlas free of charge and discover more about wildlife in their locality or access information about local green spaces, but in achieving these additional aims, the NBN Atlas will become the leading website to share, view, analyse and use this data. Importantly, it will be accessible to everyone from schoolchildren, students and academic researchers to commercial users, government agencies and the general public.

Furthermore, the unparalleled aggregation of biodiversity data on the NBN Atlas, along with the expertise within the NBN partnership means that the NBN Trust is uniquely placed to provide expert advice and input into the development of government biodiversity policy. Indeed, the wildlife information currently shared on the NBN Atlas is already helping to protect British endangered species – such as red squirrels, hedgehogs and natterjack toads – and their habitats from being developed and built-on.

The NBN Trust and, specifically the NBN Atlas, is unique in bringing together this data, standardising it and making it available to everyone. In doing so, it becomes a truly powerful resource for understanding and conserving the natural world of the UK and beyond.

Dr Jo Judge, CEO of the National Biodiversity Network Trust says:
“The NBN Trust is delighted to have received this support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. With this grant we can develop the NBN Atlas further and help turn it into a world-leading source of environmental data.
Collecting and sharing data about the UK’s wildlife is vitally important to ensure robust evidence is available for use in policy, planning and conservation decisions. The NBN Atlas will become a vital tool for helping with this.
Additionally, we hope this Esmée Fairbairn Foundation grant will enable us to engage new audiences and inspire and captivate the general public’s interest in biodiversity and the natural world around them.”


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