John Swindells, LNHS.
The London Natural History Society has been collecting natural history records since its early days in the mid nineteenth century. Currently, its 22 recorders cover most groups of plants and animals.
The Society’s recording effort has resulted in several significant publications over the years, most notably, one-off volumes on London’s flora, butterflies, larger moths and breeding birds. LNHS also produces the annual London Bird Report and reviews of the status of other plant and animal groups in The London Naturalist. Production of such books and reports could be easier in future with GiGL’s help with data handling.
In recent months LNHS and GiGL have been discussing the possibility of working more closely and negotiating an agreement on the exchange of biological records. It is our intention to make the exchange of records a continuing process, and to improve access to those records while protecting the most sensitive records in the interests of nature conservation.To that end, the Society has begun to supply GiGL with records of birds, dragonflies, flowering plants and ferns.These records are currently part of a wider project with the National Biodiversity Network (see ‘Wildlife Online’ page 11).
The huge volume of LNHS records will clearly be of great value to GiGL’s service users and to London’s wildlife – helping to inform future planning and conservation decisions. LNHS also stands to benefit from the collaboration. GiGL is able to offer recorders a number of services, including providing bespoke maps of survey areas such as Hampstead Heath, advice on vicecounty boundaries, and validation of certain kinds of data such as Ordnance Survey grid references. Some of this may sound mundane but the value of biological records is dependent on their accuracy.
LNHS has been a key player in the development of GiGL from its earliest days and is represented on the GiGL steering group. We look forward to working together co-ordinating our efforts to enhance knowledge of, and access to, information about London’s biodiversity.