The DECIDE Project - recording nature where it matters

The tool indicates high priority areas for recording

Guest article written by Dr Michael Pocock, Ecologist at UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

DECIDE is an exciting new two-year project being led by UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) alongside an interdisciplinary team of partner organisations. The project team are using a novel approach to identify recording gaps, with the ultimate aim of improving access to fine-scale biodiversity data in Great Britain and help people to make good decisions for management.  


Species Distribution Models are increasingly used in conservation to predict where species are likely to occur and how their distributions might change under different environmental scenarios and management. These predictions come with uncertainty, but this uncertainty can be reduced with more records from the right places.  


It would be impossible to get enough fine-scale records of species to cover all of Great Britain, so the DECIDE project uses models to predict species distributions for each hectare (100m square). The project team have been developing an online tool which highlights the areas on a map where new records would be most valuable in improving these models, not just those where there are few previous records. Additional information about suggested areas is provided, to help recorders select places they would like to visit.   


Importantly, the DECIDE Tool is being developed with input from the recording community: it is developed with recorders and for recorders. Feedback on early versions of the tool has informed functionality of the current version. We are keen to engage with a wide range of recorders to find out how it can work for them.  


You can explore the DECIDE Tool here. Take a look and see what you think. There are more details of the project on the website, including details of how you can take part in the tool’s co-design. Please get involved if you can.  

Posted: December 2, 2021