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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


The iRecord app logo

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.

Find out more

Bird Track

Bird Track app logo

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

Find out more

Rare Arable Flowers

Rare Arable Flowers App logo

Developed by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, this apps helps you to identify rare arable plant species and upload records to be verified

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FIT Count

FIT Count logo

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.

Find out more

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.

Identification Apps

Some recording apps provide built in identification guides but the following apps may be useful to help to identify species that you are recording.

Seek by iNaturalist

Seek by iNaturalist

Uses image recognition software to suggest identification matches from a photograph.

Find out more

iNaturalist UK

iNaturalist UK app logo

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

Find out more


PlantNet app logo

Uses image recognition software and validation from membership community to help identify wild plants from photographs

Find out more

Flora incognita

Flora incognita app logo

Image recognition software to help identify wild plants from photographs

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Collins Bird Guide

The Collins Bird Guide App logo

App version of one of the most popular printed bird guides.  NOTE this is a paid app

Find out more

Collins Bird Guide

The iBird UK & Ireland Pro app logo

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

Find out more

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