Biological recording

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Biological recording is the scientific study of the distribution of living organisms, biological records describe the presence, abundance, associations and changes, both in time and space, of wildlife. [1] There has been a long tradition of biological recording in the United Kingdom dating back to John Ray (16271705), Robert Plot (1640–1696) and their contemporaries.



The basis of a biological record is the 'four Ws': [2]

Additionally a variety of additional information is often necessary to increase the value of any biological record, including:

Biological recording in the UK

In the UK biological recording is a popular hobby and much is organised by national recording schemes for many taxonomic groups of which almost 90 are registered with the national Biological Records Centre. [3]

At a national level biological records are managed by the Biological Records Centre, originally set up at Monks Wood Experimental Station, but now based at Wallingford in Oxfordshire which has operated since 1964 to manage records of the country's biodiversity. [4] Following the CCBR report in 1995 [1] the National Biodiversity Network was established as an ideal. This is overseen by the NBN Trust [5] which is responsible for the NBN Gateway [6] which in May 2016 passed 127 million records.

At a local level there are a number of field natural history clubs promoting biological recording, including Essex Field Club [7] and Sandwell Valley Naturalists' Club. [8] On a professional level, most of the UK is covered by a network of Local Environmental Records Centres. [9] It was estimated in 1995 that over 60,000 individuals were actively and directly involved in biological recording [1] of which the vast majority were voluntarily engaged out of personal interest.

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  1. 1 2 3 Burnett, J., Copp, C., Harding, P. (1995) Biological Recording in the United Kingdom Present practice and future development Summary Report, Coordinating Commission for Biological Recording available for download from Natural Environment Research Council
  2. "Biological Records". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-02-28.
  3. biological recording schemes at BRC
  4. Roy, D B; Harding, P T; Preston, C D; Roy, H E. "Celebrating 50 years of the Biological Records Centre" (PDF). Biological Records Centre on Internet Archive. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  5. National Biodiversity Network
  6. NBN Gateway
  7. Essex Field Club
  8. Sandwell Valley Naturalists' Club
  9. Association of Local Environmental Records Centres

Additional References