A new National Plant Monitoring Scheme for the United Kingdom has been launched. Here, the authors explain why it is necessary, and what it can achieve.
Our knowledge of how British wildlife is changing is based, to a very large extent, on a minority of species for which we have good annual monitoring data, including birds, mammals (incorporating bats) and butterflies (Greenwood 2003; Brereton et al. 2006; Barlow et al. 2015). These sample-based schemes are carried out by volunteers, typically coordinated by staff of non-governmental organisations, and they provide high-quality information from which annual changes in the abundance of species or species groups are produced.