Tracking natural capital

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Fera Science outlines options for measuring natural land capital and assessing the impact growing has on biodiversity and ecosystems.

From utilising biodiversity planning software to calling in the expertise of biodiversity consultants, there are a variety of tools and services available when it comes to measuring biodiversity and natural capital.

 

  1. UK Habitat Classification (UKHab)
     

    UKHab is a habitat classification system that helps ecologists identify and map field habitats in a consistent way.

    Designed to address inconsistencies between other habitat classification systems, UKHab uses a hierarchy of habitat types that can be scaled up or down depending on the land being mapped.

    By providing uniform data, this monitoring tool enables organisations to consistently report on habitats, enabling farmers and land managers to accurately track what impact their management decisions are having on the landscape over time.

  2. Biodiversity Metric 3.0

    Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric 3.0 uses habitat features to:

    • Assess an area’s value to wildlife
    • Calculate its biodiversity value
    • Measure biodiversity losses and gains resulting from changes in land management

    The process involves carrying out habitat surveys and assessments to identify current features, such as hedgerows, streams and woodland. 

    From there, assessments can be made to compare how different land management decisions would impact biodiversity, and enable farmers and land managers to measure any improvements their actions have.

    Developed by the University of Oxford and set to become a required tool in England through the Environment Bill, the tool requires knowledge of the types and size of habitat parcels, as well an understanding of their current condition.

  3. LAND360

    LAND360 is a tiered service that offers different approaches to measuring and monitoring natural capital.

    Created by Fera Science, the tool uses satellite imagery, remote sensing tools and onsite visits to accurately measure hedgerows, trees and other biodiversity to establish maps of existing habitats.

    From those baseline maps, Fera scientists can add detail by analysing the quality of a landscape’s natural capital, giving farmers and landowners a clear picture of the assets they have.

    With three tiers of service available, LAND360 uses proven scientific methods to build a strong picture of a farm’s natural capital and set a benchmark for exploring ways to improve biodiversity and natural capital.

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