Back to monitoring outcomes

Proportions endemic, exotic, threatened species

  • Biodiversity

  • Compostion


The loss of species of conservation interest or endemics should be assigned higher value than the loss of common species (Buckland et al. 2005). Metrics such as species richness, evenness and diversity can be insensitive to the loss of rare species; for example, at smaller scales conversion from one habitat to another could cause loss of endemic species, but overall richness and evenness could still increase (Buckland et al. 2005).

The rarity of species of conservation concern can provide additional challenges in effective monitoring, and monitoring objectives should be tailored to suit the attributes of the target species (Robinson et al. 2018, Lindenmayer et al. 2020). Accurate detection of population changes will require more intensive monitoring than conventional species surveys (Robinson et al. 2018, Martin et al. 2007). Nature-based Solutions projects are unlikely to support the entire population of a species, and monitoring will usually only capture presence, or with more intensive monitoring, population trends for a species within the project area.

Monitoring of exotic species can be important where they are invasive and have a disproportionate negative effect on ecosystem functioning or native species populations (Bradshaw et al. 2016, Ehrenfield 2010). Additionally, invasive species can increase species richness and functional/phylogenetic diversity, while having negative effects on native species (Santini et al. 2017).

Methodology summary

In projects with a specific species of interest (of conservation concern or exotic), approaches to species monitoring discussed elsewhere can be used (see Invertebrate biomass, Mammal biomass, Vegetation biomass, Species diversity for methodologies). However, additional consideration at the design stage will be needed to account for issues such as low detectability of rare species. Considerations will be species-specific but should broadly cover:

  • The variability or dynamics of the species/system
  • Location of monitoring sites to capture species with low and variable occupancy
  • Quantity of data required to estimate change for low abundance species
  • Type of data required to estimate population change

Species-level data from other surveys can be classified using data on rarity/conservation status for UK species, however this approach may underrepresent trends in species of conservation concern (Robinson et al. 2018).

Data sources available that can be used to classify the conservation status and rarity of species in the UK:
Priority species for England
Priority species for Scotland
Priority species for Wales
Priority species for Northern Ireland
• The JNCC lists further species-level conservation classifications for UK taxa such as Nationally Scarce/Rare species, Birds of Conservation Concern (Red/Amber list), National Red lists (based on IUCN criteria).

Metric threshold or direction of change

Generally increasing populations of endemic/threatened species are desirable and so are declining populations of exotic species with negative effects on an ecosystem.

Technological innovations

  • Threatened species monitoring can become expensive and logistically unfeasible. Advances I drones, eDNA and data-processing of camera trap imagery are promising innovations for enhancing the process (Robinson et al. 2018).
  • eDNA, remote sensing, chemical ecology and internet-based citizen science could facilitate early detection and monitoring of invasive species (Larson et al. 2020).

  • Agricultural
  • Forest
  • Grassland
  • Heathland
  • Other
  • Peatland
  • Saltmarsh
  • Wetland


  • Community
  • Landscape
  • Population


  • High


  • Future

Technical expertise

  • High

Standardised methodology

  • No