Using Technology to Record Biodiversity
Biological recording by members of the public through ‘citizen science’ projects contributes a huge amount to our knowledge of biodiversity in Scotland. However, much of our farmland is infrequently visited by people who take part in these projects, meaning that the biodiversity your farm supports may be overlooked.
With future farming support likely to be increasingly linked to measures of natural capital such as biodiversity it makes sense to start keeping a record of what your farm supports. There are several smartphone apps that allow you to keep records and share them with national and local monitoring schemes. Sharing your data in this way is important as otherwise it risks being lost over time.
Biological Recording Apps
Developed by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, this is one of the most widely used recording apps and works for all UK species. Records are shared with national and local recording schemes
While the main version of iRecord assumes that you can identify the species that you are recording, there are specialised versions of the app for butterflies and grasshoppers which include identification support.
Developed by the British Trust for Ornithology, this is the main app used in the UK for bird recording, sharing records with national and local recording schemes.
Can be used for regular recording of all bird species at particular sites or to report casual observations
Developed by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, this app allows you to carry out and upload results from a FIT (Flower-Insect Timed) Count to contribute to the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme. It includes an identification guide for pollinating insects.
Other Biological Recording Resources
In addition to these online apps, there are other citizen science recording projects that rely on more traditional methods of data collection. Records from your farm can be submitted directly to local biological records centres, which form part of the National Biodiversity Network. Local records centres can be found on the Biological Recording in Scotland website which also provides details of species-specific recording projects.
For wading birds, which are a particular conservation priority on farmland, the British Trust for Ornithology has developed a simple recording methodology for the Working for Waders project, called the wader calendar.
Some recording apps provide built in identification guides but the following apps may be useful to help to identify species that you are recording.
Developed in association with the National Biodiversity Network Trust, the Marine Biological Association and the Biological Records Centre. Crowdsource identifications from other members or use the related Seek app to identify using image recognition technology
Collins Bird Guide
Identify birds by colour, location, shape, habitat or other variables and verify from illustrations and photographs in the app. NOTE this is a paid app, although a limited free version is available to test
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