Nick White, London Biodiversity Partnership.
The current rate of species extinction worldwide is estimated at between 1,000 and 10,000 times what would occur without human influence. In 1992, the UK along with 150 other signatories at the Rio de Janeiro ‘Earth Summit’, committed to reducing this rate by the year 2010.The UK chose to adopt a series of biodiversity action plans, or BAPs, to kick the process into gear. In London, regional BAPs are delivered by a partnership of public, private and voluntary sector organisations – a collective that was formally established in 1996 as the London Biodiversity Partnership – the LBP.
London’s plan sets out a series of strategies and actions designed to protect and enhance the capital’s many nationally, regionally and locally significant habitats and species. It covers habitats ranging from woodland and heathland, to rivers and streams and species as diverse as stag beetles, water voles and tower mustard. Without the support of GiGL, the Partnership would have little way of measuring the success or otherwise of the action plans it has adopted. The reason is simple – data.
The data collated by GiGL are used to establish a baseline against which the LBP can monitor and evaluate the impact of its action plans. Comparing historical and current data tells us how well London’s biodiversity has been protected or enhanced. The data also contribute to the UK-wide monitoring of action plan success providing a baseline against which London can assess its progress in contributing to UK and global targets set at Rio.
While GiGL plays a vital role in the Partnership’s ability to assess and evaluate the success of London’s biodiversity action plan, the LBP’s partners have a part to play in ensuring that the data-sets held by GiGL are as up to date as possible. Only by sharing data can we ensure that an accurate picture is painted of the condition and state of biodiversity in the capital. This requires that information sharing is a genuine two-way process. As partners undertake ongoing survey work, the information that they collect needs to be fed-back to GiGL.To this end, LBP seeks to work through its partners to ensure that such a two-way exchange of data takes place. Both organisations compliment each other’s role – working together to ensure that Londoners can enjoy an environment rich in biodiversity for generations to come.