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NBIS undertakes a wide range of project work both alone and with partners. See below for a summary of current and recent projects undertaken. We are always interested in getting involved in new projects. If you have a project or a project idea you would like us to consider please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breaking New Ground - Wildlife Recorders of Tomorrow
The Breaking New Ground (BNG) Landscape Partnership Scheme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver a range of exciting heritage and landscape projects in the heart of the Brecks.
The Brecks is an important area for wildlife both in a UK and international context. However, many of the species records come from a few well recorded designated sites, with recording often done on an ad hoc basis. This means that it is often difficult to detect changes in the biodiversity of the area. There is, therefore, a need for wider recording of the Brecks area and a structured programme of species surveillance and monitoring.
Led by NBIS, this project will establish a network of volunteers recording wildlife throughout the BNG area. It will operate at three levels:
Beginner: provide training and encouragement to those new to recording wildlife.
Species surveillance: help people take the next step into more serious recording of sites. This will allow a number of important sites in the Brecks to be monitored and will also help to ensure sustainable long-term monitoring of sites where work is taking place as part of other BNG projects. Data collected will feed into the Norfolk Species Surveillance Network.
River corridor survey: A survey of the Little Ouse river, from its headwaters at Redgrave and Lopham Fens to Brandon. This is the only major river in Norfolk which has not yet been fully surveyed for non-native species and this type of survey is well suited to volunteers.
Identification and recording workshops held so far have covered dragonflies, lichens, birds, general invertebrate groups, lunar yellow underwing moth and bees. A bioblitz at Brandon Country Park in october saw 260 species recorded by volunteers on the day.
All data collected will be entered online to an existing recoring system developed by NBIS for the Norfolk Species Surveillance Network, and will be made available for use via local environmental records centres and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway.
A Red Data Book for Norfolk
Working in partnership with the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society and Norfolk Wildlife Trust, this project aims to create an online Red Data Book for Norfolk that is readily accessible and easy to update.
The first species to be added will be the 'Notable Ninety' species picked by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust as being particularly special to Norfolk. The County Recorders will then be given access to create and update pages for their speciality species.
While many of the species are likely to be designated nationally for their rarity, the Norfolk Red Data Book aims to highlight species that are particularly important in Norfolk, so this will not always be the case.
The Red Data Book is being created through a digital tool called Scratchpads, and the work so far has been done by an NBIS volunteer. Created by the Natural History Museum, Scratchpads are designed to broadcast biodiversity data online. Once more complete, the Norfolk Red Data Book will be published and be made accessible via the NBIS and Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society websites.
The current draft Norfolk Red Data Book can be accessed at http://reddatabook.myspecies.info/
Recently Completed Projects
Earth Observation Data Integration project (EODIP5) was a short project, led by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), to appraise the potential for volunteers and communities to become habitat validators and to look at open source technology to support this. This project neatly followed on from the results of MEOW Phase 2 (Making Earth Observation Work: http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-6279), an initiative to develop new land cover maps, or "Living Maps", with a special focus on priority semi-natural habitats which have been identified as most threatended and requiring conservation action.
The first such "Living Map" was developed for Norfolk, and because it has involved complex analyses of large datasets it is necessary to identify where errors and uncertainties are most likely to arise, and to consider methods for validating the map.
Possible methods for validation could include a desk-based approach where volunteers are able to check the Living Map against other data sources, such as earth observation imagery or photographs, or a field-based approach, where observers visit certain points, grid squares or habitat patches to validate the habitat in the field.
Stakeholder interviews were undertaken by NBIS to determine how a volunteer community of habitat validators might best be set up and promoted to. NBIS also acted in an advisory role to the steering group of this project. Survey methods and techniques, communications and a technological appraisal for a possible smartphone app and/or website platforms are being undertaken by BTO. A report will be available soon.
B-Lines was a project run by the charity Buglife which aimed to map key insect pollinator dispersal pathways (B-Lines) at a county or regional level, then link these with B-Lines mapped in adjacent counties or regions. The mapping used basic connectivity modelling to identify the pathways. It was designed to be both simple and pragmatic, using existing Green Infrastructure and biodiversity mapping alongside local stakeholder and partnership knowledge to refine and confirm priorities.
NBIS were contracted by Buglife to draft the B-Lines for Norfolk and Suffolk, to prepare the final maps, present them to the stakeholders and to map the revised corridors following a workshop. For more information on this project please click here.
NBIS acquired funding from the Government's Release of Data Fund via the National
Biodiversity Network in order to digitise the paper habitat maps drawn as part of the surveys of County Wildlife Sites in Norfolk from 1985 - present, as well as digitising the species records from those initial surveys. In total, approximately 5210 habitat polygons have been mapped on GIS and 79908 species records digitised (including 2560 notable species).
In a second part of the project, extra funding was secured to digitise the paper Phase 1 habitat map for Norfolk from 1983-85. Once complete, this can be compared with our recent remote sensing habitat map. Over 8245 habitat polygon have been mapped.