United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan

The United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan or (UK BAP) was the UK government's response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The UK was the first country to produce a national Biodiversity Action Plan. It was published in 1994 and created action plans for priority species and habitats in the UK that were most under threat so as to support their recovery.[1][2]

Water vole - Arvicola amphibius
Water vole (Arvicola amphibius) - a 'Priority Species', listed in the UK BAP.


Stone Curlew from the Crossley ID Guide Britain and Ireland
The Stone Curlew Action Plan in the original 1994 UK BAP aimed to enhance the English breeding population from around 160 pairs to 200 pairs by the year 2000[2]

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan summarised the most threatened or rapidly declining biological resources of the United Kingdom, and gave detailed plans for their conservation. Individual 'Action Plans' were provided for these habitats and species, and a reporting mechanism was established to demonstrate how the UK BAP was contributing to the United Kingdom's commitment to help reduce or halt the significant losses in global biodiversity, highlighted by the international Convention on Biological Diversity.[1] The original publication included action plans for 45 habitats and 391 species, each identified either as being globally threatened, or where evidence showed there had been a particularly rapid decline of those resources within the UK.[3] Although mainly focused on England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK Crown dependencies, the UK Biodiversity Action Plan also addressed issues of declining species and habitats overseas in the UK Dependant Territories and British-held territories in Antarctica; areas together containing over 700 endemic species.[2]


At the launch of Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan in January 1994, the UK Prime Minister announced the formation of a 'Biodiversity Steering Group', drawing on experts from key conservation organisations and government agencies. It was tasked with identifying and preparing costed action plans for priority species and habitats by 1995, and with developing methodologies for monitoring progress and improving public awareness and access to biodiversity information.[4] In 1995 the Biodiversity Steering Group published a two-volume report, the second part of which contained three important lists of species:[5]

  • a 'Long List' contained 1252 species, selected using broad criteria;
  • a 'Middle List' contained over 300 species for which action plans should be produced over the subsequent three years;
  • a 'Short List' of 116 species for which action plans had already been devised.

The criteria for selection as a Biodiversity Action Plan species on the 'long list' were:[6]

  1. being a threatened UK endemic or other globally threatened species;
  2. being a species where the UK holds more than a quarter of its world population;
  3. being a species where its numbers or distribution range have declined by more than 25% over the last 25 years;
  4. being (in some cases) a species found in less than fifteen 10 kilometre squares in the UK;
  5. being listed in the EU Birds or Habitats Directives, the Bern, Bonn or CITES Conventions, or under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 or the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.

After devolution in 1998, England, Wales and Scotland had all developed their own individual biodiversity strategies by 2002, with Northern Ireland following shortly afterwards, whilst still also collaborating together.[7][8]

By 2007 the criteria used to select priority habitats and priority species had been reviewed and the lists updated to propose that 40 UK BAP habitats and 1,149 species were included in the UK priority lists, and a further 123 species were proposed for removal.[9]

As of 2009 1,150 species and 65 habitats were identified as needing conservation and greater protection and were covered by UK BAPs.[10] The updated list included the hedgehog, house sparrow, grass snake and the garden tiger moth, while otters, bottlenose dolphins and red squirrels remained in need of habitat protection.[11]

In 2012 the UK Biodiversity Action Plan was succeeded by the 'UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework'. This was produced on behalf of the Four Countries' Biodiversity Group (4CBG) by Defra and the JNCC.[12] But the work identifying priority species and priority habitats remains relevant, and was then enshrined in appendices to the NERC Act (2006).

Priority species and priority habitats

As the UK BAP developed, the most important species and habitats that it identified for action were referred to as 'priority species' and 'priority habitats' ( also: 'UK BAP species' and UK BAP habitats').

Priority habitats

Reedbed at Chippenham Fen - geograph.org.uk - 554563
Reedbed at Chippenham Fen - a UK Priority Habitat
  • Rivers
  • Oligotrophic and dystrophic Lakes
  • Ponds
  • Mesotrophic lakes
  • Eutrophic standing waters
  • Aquifer fed naturally fluctuating water bodies
  • Arable field margins
  • Hedgerows
  • Traditional orchards
  • Wood-pasture and parkland
  • Upland oakwood
  • Lowland beech and yew woodland
  • Upland mixed ashwoods
  • Wet woodland
  • Lowland mixed deciduous woodland
  • Upland birchwoods
  • Native pine woodlands
  • Lowland dry acid grassland
  • Lowland calcareous grassland
  • Upland calcareous grassland
  • Lowland meadows
  • Upland hay meadows
  • Coastal and floodplain grazing marsh
  • Lowland heathland
  • Upland heathland
  • Upland flushes, fens and swamps
  • Purple moor grass and rush pastures
  • Lowland fens
  • Reedbeds
  • Lowland raised bog
  • Blanket bog
  • Mountain heaths and willow scrub
  • Inland rock outcrop and scree habitats
  • Calaminarian grasslands
  • Open mosaic habitats on previously developed land
  • Limestone pavement
  • Maritime cliff and slopes
  • Coastal vegetated shingle
  • Machair
  • Coastal sand dunes
  • Intertidal chalk
  • Intertidal boulder communities
  • Sabellaria alveolata reefs
  • Coastal saltmarsh
  • Intertidal mudflats
  • Seagrass beds
  • Sheltered muddy gravels
  • Peat and clay exposures
  • Subtidal chalk
  • Tide-swept channels
  • Fragile sponge & anthozoan communities on subtidal rocky habitats
  • Estuarine rocky habitats
  • Seamount communities
  • Carbonate mounds
  • Cold-water coral reefs
  • Deep-sea sponge communities
  • Sabellaria spinulosa reefs
  • Subtidal sands and gravels
  • Horse mussel beds
  • Mud habitats in deep water
  • File shell beds
  • Maerl beds
  • Serpulid reefs
  • Blue mussel beds
  • Saline lagoons

Regional response

The regional response to guidelines published in 1995 led to 162 Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) being produced for England, Wales and Scotland, with further action plans later produced for Northern Ireland.[7] These were usually formulated by a broad partnership of conservation organisations working on county and similar-sized areas of Britain.[13][14][15][16] LBAPs play an important role in translating national and sub-national strategies, priorities and targets into direct local action on the ground, and in identifying which UK priority species and habitats are found in that local area.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) 1992–2012". jncc.defra.gov.uk. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Biodiversity - The UK Action Plan" (PDF). jncc.defra.gov.uk. London: HMSO. 1994. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-2020: Introduction" (PDF). www.derbyshire.gov.uk. Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Partnership. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  4. ^ Plowman, J. (Chairman). "Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report Volume 1: Meeting the Rio Challenge" (PDF). Biodiversity Steering Group. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  5. ^ John, Plowman (1995). "Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report Volume 2: Action Plans (Annex F and Annex G)" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. UK Biodiversity Steering Group. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  6. ^ John, Plowman (1995). "Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report Volume 1: Meeting the Rio Challenge" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. UK Biodiversity Steering Group. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b "JNCC Committee Paper: The UK Biodiversity Action Plan and Country Biodiversity Strategies" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. December 2004. p. 2. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Country Biodiversity Strategies". jncc.defra.gov.uk. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  9. ^ Biodiversity Reporting and Information Group (BRIG) (June 2007). "Report on the Species and Habitat Review" (PDF). jncc.defra.gov.uk. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  10. ^ "UK BAP Website". UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 2007. Archived from the original on 2004-04-26. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
  11. ^ BBC NEWS, Hedgehogs join 'protection' list
  12. ^ "The UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework". jncc.defra.gov.uk. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan". www.derbyshire.gov.uk. Derbyshire County Council. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  14. ^ Cumbria biodiversity action plan Archived July 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "LBAPs". www.biodiversitysouthwest.org.uk. Biodiversity South West. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Local Biodiversity Action Plan Partnerships". www.biodiversityscotland.gov.uk. Biodiversity Scotland. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2017.

External links

The UK BAP website (http://www.ukbap.org.uk/) was in operation between 2001 and 2011, when it was closed as part of a government review of websites. The core content was migrated into the JNCC website. The National Archives preserves snapshops of UK BAP webpages predating publication of the UK Biodiversity Framework, for example copies from 2011 [1] and 2012 [2].

Abraxas sylvata

Abraxas sylvata, the clouded magpie, is a moth of the family Geometridae that was named by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli in 1763.

Biodiversity action plan

A biodiversity action plan (BAP) is an internationally recognized program addressing threatened species and habitats and is designed to protect and restore biological systems. The original impetus for these plans derives from the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). As of 2009, 191 countries have ratified the CBD, but only a fraction of these have developed substantive BAP documents.

The principal elements of a BAP typically include: (a) preparing inventories of biological information for selected species or habitats; (b) assessing the conservation status of species within specified ecosystems; (c) creation of targets for conservation and restoration; and (d) establishing budgets, timelines and institutional partnerships for implementing the BAP.


Blue-listed species includes any indigenous species or subspecies (taxa) considered to be vulnerable in their locale. Vulnerable taxa are of special concern because of characteristics that make them particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events. Blue-listed taxa are at risk, but are not extirpated, endangered or threatened.

Boletopsis leucomelaena

Boletopsis leucomelaena is a species of hydnoid fungus in the family Bankeraceae. It was originally described in 1801 as Boletus leucomelas by Christian Hendrik Persoon. Swiss mycologist Victor Fayod transferred it to Boletopsis in 1889. The fungus is listed as a priority species in the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan. B. leucomelaena is found in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, in Japan, and throughout Europe, although it is less common than the lookalike B. grisea.

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC, French: Comité sur la situation des espèces en péril au Canada, COSEPAC) is an independent committee of wildlife experts and scientists whose "raison d'être is to identify species at risk" in Canada. It designates the conservation status of wild species.

It was established in 1977 to provide a single, scientifically sound classification of wildlife species at risk of extinction. In the 2002 Species at Risk Act, COSEWIC was appointed as the body to identify and assess a species status. Although the status assigned by COSEWIC is not legally binding, it does report its results to the government and the public. The report is influential toward the addition of species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk by the Minister of the Environment.

Critically endangered

A critically endangered (CR) species is one that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.As of 2014, there are 2,464 animal and 2,104 plant species with this assessment.As the IUCN Red List does not consider a species extinct until extensive, targeted surveys have been conducted, species that are possibly extinct are still listed as critically endangered. IUCN maintains a list of "possibly extinct" CR(PE) and "possibly extinct in the wild" CR(PEW) species, modelled on categories used by BirdLife International to categorize these taxa.

Deep-water coral

The habitat of deep-water corals, also known as cold-water corals, extends to deeper, darker parts of the oceans than tropical corals, ranging from near the surface to the abyss, beyond 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) where water temperatures may be as cold as 4 °C (39 °F). Deep-water corals belong to the Phylum Cnidaria and are most often stony corals, but also include black and horny corals and soft corals including the Gorgonians (sea fans). Like tropical corals, they provide habitat to other species, but deep-water corals do not require zooxanthellae to survive.

While there are nearly as many species of deep-water corals as shallow-water species, only a few deep-water species develop traditional reefs. Instead, they form aggregations called patches, banks, bioherms, massifs, thickets or groves. These aggregations are often referred to as "reefs," but differ structurally and functionally. Deep sea reefs are sometimes referred to as "mounds," which more accurately describes the large calcium carbonate skeleton that is left behind as a reef grows and corals below die off, rather than the living habitat and refuge that deep sea corals provide for fish and invertebrates. Mounds may or may not contain living deep sea reefs.

Submarine communications cables and fishing methods such as bottom trawling tend to break corals apart and destroy reefs. The deep-water habitat is designated as a United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan habitat.

Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve

Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve is a protected area in Yorkshire, England, which is noted for its avian biodiversity.

The reserve has recorded around 280 bird species, remarkable for an inland site in the United Kingdom. This is explained by the site being on migration routes as well as the diversity of habitats.

Jacobaea vulgaris

Jacobaea vulgaris, syn. Senecio jacobaea, is a very common wild flower in the family Asteraceae that is native to northern Eurasia, usually in dry, open places, and has also been widely distributed as a weed elsewhere.

Common names include ragwort, common ragwort, stinking willie, tansy ragwort, benweed, St. James-wort, stinking nanny/ninny/willy, staggerwort, dog standard, cankerwort, stammerwort. In the western United States it is generally known as tansy ragwort, or tansy, though its resemblance to the true tansy is superficial.

Although the plant is often unwanted by landowners because it is considered a weed by many, it provides a great deal of nectar for pollinators. It was rated in the top 10 for most nectar production (nectar per unit cover per year) in a UK plants survey conducted by the AgriLand project which is supported by the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative. It also was the top producer of nectar sugar in another study in Britain, with a production per floral unit of (2921 ± 448μg).

List of United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan species

This is a list of United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan species. Some suffer because of loss of habitat, but many are in decline following the introduction of foreign species, which out-compete the native species or carry disease.

See also the list of extinct animals of the British Isles.

This list includes the 116 species identified as requiring action plans in the Biodiversity Steering Group's report of December 1995.

List of extinct and endangered species of Italy

This is a list of extinct and endangered species of Italy.

List of threatened birds of the United States

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 77 bird species in the United States are threatened with extinction. The IUCN has classified each of these species into one of three conservation statuses: vulnerable VU, endangered EN, and critically endangered CR (v. 2013.2, the data is current as of March 5, 2014).

Molinia caerulea

Molinia caerulea, the purple moor-grass, is a species of grass that is native to Europe, west Asia, and north Africa. It grows in locations from the lowlands up to 2,300 m (7,546 ft) in the Alps. Like most grasses, it grows best in acid soils, ideally pH values of between 3.5 and 5, however, it can continue to live under more extreme conditions, sometimes to as low as 2. It is common on moist heathland, bogs and moorland throughout Britain. Introduced populations exist in northeastern and northwestern North America.The specific epithet caerulea means "deep blue" and refers to the purple spikelets.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (c 16), also referred to as the NERC Act (2006), is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Phaonia jaroschewskii

The hairy canary fly, Phaonia jaroschewskii, is a yellow European muscid fly. This species is found on sphagnum moss on healthy wet bog ecosystems. The larvae feed on these sphagnum bog mosses. It is of interest as an indicator of the health of these bogs, as it will disappear if the bog deteriorates. For this reason the hairy canary fly is one of the species listed in the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan.

Purple moor grass and rush pastures

Purple moor grass and rush pastures is a type of Biodiversity Action Plan habitat in the UK. It occurs on poorly drained neutral and acidic soils of the lowlands and upland fringe. It is found in the South West of England, especially in Devon.

The vegetation consists of species-rich, semi-natural grassland containing abundant purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea) and one or more of several creeping rushes: sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus), jointed rush (Juncus articulatus) and blunt-flowered rush (Juncus subnodulosus).

Only 8% remains of the area thought to have existed in 1900. In the UK estimate the area is thought to be less than 70,000 hectares (170,000 acres). Their importance is recognised and are included as a priority habitat in the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan.

Sabellaria alveolata

Sabellaria alveolata, (also known as the honeycomb worm), is a reef-forming polychaete. It is distributed around the Mediterranean Sea, and from the north Atlantic Ocean to south Morocco. It is also found in the British Isles at its northern limit in the northeast Atlantic. Its common name is derived from the honeycomb-like pattern it creates when building its tube reefs.

Threatened species

Threatened species are any species (including animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future. Species that are threatened are sometimes characterised by the population dynamics measure of critical depensation, a mathematical measure of biomass related to population growth rate. This quantitative metric is one method of evaluating the degree of endangerment.


The wart-biter (Decticus verrucivorus) is a bush-cricket in the family Tettigoniidae. Its English and scientific names derive from the age-old practice of using the cricket to bite warts from the skin.

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