Newsletter 21

Newsletter Number 21

June 1997

Contents

Minutes of the 1996 NFBR AGM

Minutes of the Tenth Annual General Meeting held at the John Clare Theatre, Peterborough Library on 12th November 1996 at 1:30pm.

Forty five NFBR members were present.

1. Apologies for absence P. Collins, Bill Ely and Bill Butcher.

2. Minutes of the 9th Annual General Meeting of 3rd November 1996 Accepted without alteration as a true and accurate record.

3. Matters arising from those minutes None

4. Proposed amendments to the Constitution: The following amendment was proposed: Rule 3d Alteration : "All annual subscriptions shall be deemed to run from the first day of January in each year. " Proposed : C.Copp. Seconded : S. Hawkswell. Accepted nem.con.

5. Chairman's Report for 1995 - 1996 The report was presented to the AGM.

6. Treasurer's Report for 1996 The report was presented to the AGM.

Membership Report for 1996 Paul Hardng took over role of Membership Secretary unofficially in the spring of 1996 with a list of 210 members. As it was unclear who had paid up Paul wrote to everyone asking for 1996 subscriptions (and 1995 where applicable) , and whether they were personal or organisational members. As a result 160 members had paid up by November 1996 (60 personal & 100 organisations) and 30 also paid for 1995. Total income from membership came to £1180.

Paul stressed the need for a targeted membership drive in early 1997 aimed at all wildlife trusts and RCS, and local authorities where there is some management of biological data. He also stressed the importance of members paying their subscription promptly in 1997.

7. Election of Honorary Officers and Council The position of Treasurer has become vacant and the following nomination received: M. Moreau Proposed P.Hardng, seconded T. James The position of Membership Secretary has become vacant and the following nomination received: P. Harding Proposed M. Sanford, seconded A. Spalding

P.Collins has completed 5 years on Council and must stand down, However he is willing to be co-opted onto Council to continue as Editor. This leaves one vacancy on Council for which there is one nomination: S.McWilliam Proposed T James, seconded N Court

T James, N Court, W Ely, P Harding, C Copp, Dr S Ball, A Spalding, C French, G Walley, B Butcher, A M Smout, D McFerran and J Stafford were all willing to stand for reelection to Council. S Hawkswell to remain co-opted on Council. Since the number of those willing to stand for re-election does not exceed the number of vacancies the above were elected en-bloc.

8. Election of Honorary Auditor T James proposed Mrs Shirley Bell as Honorary Auditor. Accepted nem.con.

9. Any other Business a) Bill Butcher mentioned the recent draft Hedgerow Regulations which refer to the importance of data held by local record centres. he would welcome comments in order for NFBR to put together a response to DOE.

b) David Mellor proposed that the NFBR Council start discussions with the Millennium consortium and CCBR to ensure the creation of a new body to represent LRCs, as set out in the Bid. He referred back to the "Need and Network" document which recommended the establishment of a co-ordinating body to be a supervisory body for the LRCs - with a short life. CCBR has had a long life and has not created this "body". He noted that CCBR are keeping a watching brief depending on the outcome of the Millennium Bid, but whether the Bid is successfull or not, we still need a network of LRCs and therefore a supervisory body.

T James thanked him for his proposal but stressed that NFBR Council cannot itself be the supervisory body as it is presently set up as it has no resources and its members are in full time jobs. The Millennium Bid has a mechanism for this organisation to be developed, and that the precise nature of this organisation is being discussed. NFBR with the BCG are supporting such an organisation in agreement with the Bid proposals. NFBR are to produce a statement on this, and if the Bid fails we will still push this forward.

C Copp commented that NFBR need to look at this fairly soon - whenlif the Millennium money starts flowing we will need a validating body fairly quickly and we will need to get it right first time. No individual group currently has a remit to do this. NFBR could but would need to change its constitution.

S Hawkswell replied that the new supervisory body will need paid staff and that not all individuals/organisations with a biological role are represented on NFBR. We will need a new organisation and we will need to decide its main functions, how it will be funded etc. These are issues which will be addressed early in the new year.

G Walley expressed concern over the wider Bid - cannot see the links between what was being proposed nationally and what was happening on the ground, locally. JNCC, NERC and NHN are not democracies but powerful M e s with their own remits. Local people/LRCs need to be in control of what they do and it is possible they will end up serving bodies like JNCC!

P Harding responded that there is no large amounts of new money coming from these organisations - they are having to redirect existing money and are dependant on match funding - some from the local level. Local organisations will therefore have control over their own work programmes.

D Mellor ended the discussion by stating that he nature of the proposed supervisory body should be debated by everyone and not just the Bid consortium

There being no further business the meeting closed at 2.05pm.

NFBR 1997 AGM

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE 1997 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING WILL BE HELD AT THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, LIVERPOOOL ON SATURDAY 15th NOVEMBR 1997. Nominations are invited for Council and should be sent to Trevor James with the names of the nominee, the proposer and the seconder by October 3rd 1997.

Herts Environmental Records Centre, Bury Mead Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1RT

Developments on the Biological Recording Front

NFBR Council has continued its involvement with developments at the national level. The demise of the Millennium Bid for the National Biodiversity Network proposals is probably a fact well known to most readers of this newsletter. What might not be so apparent, however, is the continued impetus for core areas of the Bid among the consortium members, and the NFBR's continued involvement.

A comment purported to have come from Sir Robert May was to the effect that "if a national biodiversity network or something like it did not exist, then someone would have to invent it". ARer many years of effort, it now seems that those in authority have truly realised that hard biodiversity facts are essential if we are going to do anything practical about ecological "sustainability". For this reason, the NBN was a logical development, and the need to focus resources into getting the programme up and running became an evident priority, regardless of the Millennium Bid. For this reason, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, as well as the Wildlife Trusts and the Natural History Museum, all remain very committed to the concept. This was confirmed at a meeting in March between the partners. It was also considered that the basis of the NBN needed to be broadened to include other major players, such as the RSPB. It is likely that the NFBR will be brought in to the core group as part of this broadening in scope.

One urgent priority in all this is the need to do something about RECORDER. It has been a valiant warhorse in the business of marshalling information for more than 8 years, but its AREV base is becoming increasingly antique, and the need for modern data management to be brought to bear is increasingly obvious. The JNCC's commitment to re-designing RECORDER as an open-architecture database, able to handle far more diverse data-sets than heretofore, is therefore very welcome. That it is planned for the test version of this to be ready by the end of the year is doubly welcome, and shows a recognition of the urgency of this if biological recording across the country is not to fall victim to another round of "do-it-yourself' databases. NFBR has been involved quite closely in discussions over the systems analysis behind this project, which was carried out by our past Treasurer and co-author of the CCBR Report, Charlie Copp.

An important part of all this activity, though, remains the need for the interests and energies of existing biological records centres and their volunteer networks to be represented in the discussions. The NFBR remains the only national forum for these very disparate bodies to be brought together, and for their concerns to be aired, although one or two other bodies, such as BRISC and BCG do represent their own constituencies independently too. For this reason, the chance for NFBR to take its place in discussions over the development of the Network must be taken up wholeheartedly, even if we, as an organisation, do not have financial resources to match. Our input will be the experience and expertise of our members, and their contacts, especially with local authority and voluntary sector interests.

Meanwhile the Biodiversity Action Plan rumbles on, nationally and locally. NFBR has been involved in the initial development of the UK Biodiversity Information Group - which reports to the BAP Steering Group itself. So far this has involved an analysis of data needs at the national level, and an examination of key areas where hrther work is needed. While the core need of supporting the BAP target species lists is fundamental, it has become very apparent that there is a need also to have an overview of what is known as "cross-cutting" research - research aimed at broader monitoring etc. of species, habitats and processes, so that not only is everyone aware of what is going on, but that future problems are focused on in an efficient and timely way. So many organisations, each with its own set of priorities, are involved in these areas, that trying to get to grips with the question is proving difficult.

While the panoply of the NBN and the BAP is being constructed, there remain some nagging doubts about "what next?" After 10 years or so, we seem to be getting to the point where much of what the NFBR was set up to achieve has come, or is coming to fruition. However, the next problems might well stem from our inability to sustain the demand for all this information! We have relied on armies of valiant volunteers, coupled with a longsuffering cohort of "professionals" in such under-resourced places as museum natural history units. For some time now, we have been ringing alarm bells about the dwindling number of people in a position to be trained particularly in the skills of identification, especially in specialist areas. On the one side, taxonomy is becoming ever more complex, while on the other, the number of people able to interpret the science to the amateur level is dwindling. New recruits to the field sciences are surprisingly limited, partly because of lack of hnds to train new staff "on the job in museums, for example. Graduates come out of college with precious little real taxonomic expertise, and not having realised what is actually required. This might be the next area for NFBR and its colleagues to pursue with vigour, because without these specialists, amateur or professional, then we will not have much good data to put in to the NBN!

Trevor James
NFBR Chairman

National Biodiversity Network

The consortium of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), the Natural History Museum (NHM) and Wildlife Trusts who had prepared the Millennium bid met in March to discuss how the project should be taken forward and reaffirmed its enthusiasm and support for the project. A new Executive Group is proposed to take forward the NBN project, chaired by Andy Brown (Chief Executive, JNCC). This will have a wider membership than the original consortium but will be confined to those prepared to come to the table with resources and real commitment. This new group met in mid May.

There is recognition that the NBN will need to be more narrowly focused than the proposals that went to the Millennium Commission. The new Executive Group will need to confirm the scope of the "new look" NBN. The new project is likely to focus on the following revised aims:

  • To a give a range of groups, sectors and organisations access to the information they need in order to make wide choices about the environment
  • To encourage participation in using biodiversity information to enjoy, understand and take action to conserve the biodiversity that has shaped our culture
  • To help individuals and organisations involved in collecting biodiversity data to see how their contributions can fit into a clear and scientifically based picture of the status of UK wildlife, habitat and landscape
  • To help individuals and organisations collecting and using biodiversity data to maximise the value of their individual contributions by co-ordination and developing standards for biodiversity information management


The NBN will concentrate on the following projects:

  • Giving local access to information across the UK
  • Making national information available on the network
  • Communicating wildlife information to a wide public audience and providing a means for on-line access to hrther levels of more detailed data
  • Creating standards

The resources available will affect the degree to which these various elements can be progressed. Different organisations involved in the new Executive Group will be committing resources to a range of projects. StaE in these organisations are currently working on a programme if project that will be running in the next two years.

I am pleased to say that this list of projects will be able to include substantial progress on developing the framework for Local Record Centres. The Wildlife Trust have secured a large grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Environment Large Grant Fund which will enable several key areas of work for the National Biodiversity Network to be taken forward:

  • Developing operation standards for LRCs
  • Establishing the development plan process for LRCs
  • Developing the accreditation system
  • Providing support for developing LRCs
  • Establishing a small number of pilot LRCs

The next stage in taking this forward is to prepare a plan to deliver work in this area. The NBN Executive Group will agree this programme, advised by the LRC consultation group, on which NFBR is represented. The outline work programme was lifted directly from the background work done for the Millennium Bid.

Early this summer there will be more public information on the scope and plans for the NBN and at the same time we will need to involve a wide range of people in work on developing the framework for LRCS. More news to follow!

Sara Hawkswell
Conservation Officer
The Wildlife Trusts

NFBR Confernece 1997: Botanical Recording and Conservation

This year's annual conference will be held at the National Maritime Museum, Liverpool on Saturday 15th November 1997. This time, we have endeavoured to bring together people interested in the question of plant recording and conservation. The Botanical Society of the British Isles has kindly agreed to supply several speakers, particularly Trevor Dines, involved with the BSBIYs Atlas 2000 project, and Cameron Crook, who has recently been appointed to co-ordinate botanical data and make it more readily available to the national agencies etc. Further speakers will include practitioners in botanical recording and conservation, as well as those involved in trying to implement plant conservation at the policy level, nationally and locally. The aim of the conference is to focus on the practical difficulties of transforming raw data on a particular group into sensible action on the ground.

The conference, as usual, will coincide with the NFBR's Annual General Meeting. As this Conference will be publicised quite widely, please book early to avoid disappointment.

Planning and Legislation News

The Countryside Council for Wales Corporate Plan 1997-2000

The plan focuses on six key areas. There will be a major drive to preserve and enhance biodiversity with particular focus on those species and habitats which are declining and threatened with extinction. Biodiversity Action Plans, initially for 12 key habitats and 53 species are ready to be implemented. Another key objective is to establish a series of sites of European Importance to be known as Special Areas of Conservation (SACS) and Special Protection Areas (SPAS). This programme will continue the Hedgerow Renovation Scheme and will introduce a new scheme to conserve and manage traditional orchards and parkland trees in July 1997.

The pilot farm stewardship scheme is to be continued beyond its initial 5 years into 1997/98.

Another priority will be to promote public access to the countryside to reach the Government's target of opening a network of Public Rights of Way by the year 2000.

Another area featured is landscape protection. The Countryside Strategies already being prepared by local authorities are paving the way for this focus. Resources will be made available to implement these strategies.

CCW will support the Environmental Education Council for Wales over the plan period and in its fbture development.

The Council is also committed to the long term monitoring of the environmental impacts of the Sea Empress disaster as part of the Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee and has already let more than 50 research and survey projects.

Contact: CCW 01248 385500

Scottish Countryside Stewardship Scheme

The European Commission has approved the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. For the first time an integrated scheme will be available offering a comprehensive range of options for farmers and crofters outside of designated ESAs.

Contact: The Scottish Office 0131 244 111

Water Vole & Schedule 5 Wildlife & Countryside Act

On 29' January the JNNC advised the Secretary of State in accordance with section 24 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 198 1 that the Water Vole Arvicola terrestris should be added to Schedule 5. The rational behind this proposal is that the rapid and widespread loss of water vole populations needs to be arrested. This will be facilitated through protective legislations which will safeguard existing water vole populations and the sites where they occur.

Systematic News

National Strategy for Systematic Biology Research

The UK Systematics Forum secured additional funding to December 1998 in 1996 with the principal aim of developing a national strategy for systematic biological research. The strategy will aim to identifjr priorities for the UK's expertise and resources in systematics by assessing scientific and user needs. The strategy should help to promote the best possible use of available resources by enhancing co-operation and collaboration between institutions and to strengthen the case for funding. Commitment to the strategy was expressed by the Directors of leading UK collections holding institutions in April 1996. The next phase will involve a survey of collections-holdings institutions to gather information on their policies for systematics collections and research, followed by wider consultation amongst users The Forum will also be developing a database if UK systematics expertise and supporting meetings of specialist groups. Information from the database is available in the Forum's Home Page at:

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/uksf

Contact: The Secretary, UK Systematics Forum, c10 Natural History Museum 0171 938 9522

Survey of Research Systematics Collections

The Association of Systematics Collections has initiated a survey of research systematics collections and information. The results will be available on the Webb. The database will be the second of two that have been sponsored by the Biological Resources Division of USGS in co-operation with a group of 6 US Federal Agencies and the Srnithsonian-NMNH. The first database, the Taxonomic Resources Expertise Database (TRED) has already been distributed and will be available on the Webb at:

http://it.is.usda.gov/itis

The RSPB Sites and Species Database

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

The RSPB takes action for wild birds and the environment. This conservation mission is based on the belief that birds and nature enrich people's lives, and that nature conservation is fundamental to a healthy environment on which the survival of the human race depends.

All of our work is based on carefbl research. In 1995/96, we spent over £1.5 million on research and monitoring. This generates large volumes of data which need to be held in a suitable database and organised in such a way that it can be used to fbrther conservation.

The Sites and Species Database (SSDB)

Within the Conservation Division we currently run a computer system called the Sites and Species Database (SSDB). The idea behind this is very simple: we can pull out all bird information for a particular site or we can find all of the sites where a particular bird species has been recorded. Needless to say, there are some refinements to these basic queries which enable us to use the system for a variety of purposes, including annual reviews of bird numbers and productivity, survey planning and design, site safeguard and casework, and the provision of data to external organisations.

The SSDB is a distributed system, with a stand-alone version in each of our 12 country and regional offices. We have a central United Kingdom database on which we can query all data, while each regional machine holds data relevant to that region only. We can enter data at any location, and we exchange data via floppy disks - not the most advanced method of data transfer, but one that is adequate for this system.

The SSDB runs on a tailor-made Advanced Revelation database, developed in-house over a period of several years. It also has an integrated sketch mapping facility, called DMAP (copyright, Alan Morton). Within the SSDB, we can plot distribution maps of birds or sites against simple outline boundaries.

Sites are defined within the SSDB by a central grid reference and a list of one kilometre squares that fall wholly or partially within the site. Other information held includes administrative details (county, district, RSPB region, OS map numbers etc), area, status (Important Bird Area, Site of Special Scientific Interest, etc), and general text fields for site description, points of interest, management and such. There are about 12,000 sites on the system, including RSPB reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar sites, survey areas etc.

Bird records are held as either site summaries, such as a count of wintering ducks on a reservoir, or as grid referenced records. The latter are more usually breeding records, and can be entered at three levels of accuracy - l OOm (e.g. NH234789), 1 kilometre (NH2378) or 10 kilometre (NH27). Some records have both a grid reference and a site reference. We can also enter basic productivity information, including sumrnq details (number of eggs, young etc), nest outcomes for individual nests, and visit details for individual nests. We currently hold over 400,000 bird records on the SSDB.

The SSDB has a Reserves module for data collected on RSPB reserves (roughly 150 across the UK, covering more than 93,000 hectares). We collect these data in a standard way, allowing site to site comparisons.

There are a wide range of standard queries that enable us to extract data, and an ad hoc query language called EasyWriter.


Project Griffin

In 1994 and 1995, we undertook a review of all of our Conservation information needs. We had long known that the SSDB has a limited shelf-life because of Advanced Revelation index limits and the large DOS files being created. Our review identified the need to provide information to a wide range of Conservation staff in a much more userfriendly way, while integrating certain elements that had previously been missing. We set up Project Griffin to develop a replacement for the SSDB.

We first wrote a User Requirements Document. The main needs identified within it can be broadly summarised as follows:

  • we have to increase the capacity of the system to cope with future demands and to allow us to include datasets that are currently not imported into the system (up to 10 million records over 5 years);
  • we want the new system to be easier to use, especially in helping us determine the relationships between sites, survey areas, habitats and birds;
  • we want to separate summary bird information (such as average wildfowl counts for whole estuaries) and 'raw' data (such as locations of Dartford warbler territories) to facilitate different levels of access and use of the data;
  • we need better presentation of data in a format that allows easy interpretation;
  • we need more comprehensive habitat data on the system;
  • we must be able to overlay various types of data and do basic calculations on degree of overlap;
  • we need to enhance security for confidential records;
  • we need to have a much more flexible import and export facility to enable better sharing of data.

We have come to the conclusion that we need a simple GIS component within the system, which most of our conservation users will use for data extraction and presentation rather than for detailed analysis.

We are currently embarking on a pilot project (as at November 1996) to firm up our User Requirements and to investigate further some of the technical aspects of databases and GIS.

External Access to Data

We hope that data held in the SSDB will be used widely for conservation purposes. We have a Data Provision Policy, and are happy to provide data for specific uses, with the caveat that not all of the data held on the SSDB belong to the RSPB and these elements cannot be passed on to a third party.

For further information, please contact the Research Data Manager at the RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 3JP.

Software

Recorder

Recorder Update

JNCC is working on an update to the current version of RECORDER which it is intended will be release in 1997. The update will fix a number of bugs and add export and import fbnctions. There will also be an update to the species dictionary. The update will be quite substantial and will include an additional section for the manual documenting Irnport/Export. There will be a nominal charge for the update.

Redevelopment of Recorder

As part of the programme being developed for the National Biodiversity Network, JNCC has committed resources to the re-development if RECORDER as a central part of the NBN. A contract for the first stage of the redevelopment was let to Charles Copp at the beginning of November. This was to carry out a detailed systems analysis for the replacement system.

Following detailed discussions among interested parties including NFBR the next steps will be to decide on the format of the new system. It is planned that this will be developed by the end of 1998.

DMAP on the WEB

Up-to-date information about the DMAP for Windows software package for distribution and coincidence mapping can now be found on the World Wide Web at: http://www.compulink.co.uk/~dmap/

Information about the package can also still be obtained by contacting: Alan Morton, Blackthorn Cottage, Chawridge Lane, Winkfield, Windsor, SL4 4QR. Or e-mail: ajmorton@dmap.compulink.co.uk

BIOTA

Biota is a software tool for recording and analysing locality or sample based survey data. It provides a system for recording specimen data and images. The software is available for Macs or for the 4th Dimension System. Available via NHBS Mail Order Bookstore, £75.97 (Mac) ref #62154EA

CD ROM, The Trees of Britain Version 1

1995 MAIN MULTIMEDIA £29.95

The CD provides Identification, Catalogue, Glossary and Planting information. Identification is based on leaves and twigs, involving the a series of choices from picture and text. Individual pages of an alphabetically catalogue by systematic or common name can be called up. On one side of a page you can select pictures of the whole tree, leaves, twig, flowers, h i t , seed and bark with a supporting description. On the other you can chose differing text descriptions giving basic description, UK distribution map, folklore etc. There is also a glossary. The software works well but is let down by relatively poor quality photographs.

Web Sites

A new feature detailing Web sites of potential interest.

Government Agencies

English Nature http://www.english-nature.org.uk

Environment Agency http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk

Countryside Commission http://www.countryside.gov.uk

ITE http://www.nmw.ac.uk/ite

EEC - Europa http://www.europa.eu.int

Systematics

UK Systematics Form http://www.nhm.ac.ukluksf

Survey of Research Systematics Collections http://www.ascoll.orn/SURVEY/

Taxonomic Resources and Expertise Database (TRED) http://www.it is.usda.gov/it is

Societies and professional bodies

British Ecological Society http://www.demon.co.uk/bes

Institute of Biology htto://w.r,rimex.co.uk/iob Institute of Environmental Assessment http://www.greenchannel.com/iea

Species and recording

Roadkill Quarterly http:// www.collideascope.com/raka/ Botany http://ifs/plants.ox.ac.uk

Planning

Structure plans for the whole of the UK and details of local, minerals, waste and National Park Plans are now available on-line via the Development Plans Directory at: http://www.apr.co.uk

General

The Envirolink Network http://www.envirolink.org

Local Centre News

News from Scotland

As many of you will know, BRISC stands for Biological Recording Campaign in Scotland, and BRISC is the organisation that represents and supports the Recording Community on Scotland. We count among our members professional biologists, amateurs with a varying degree of expertise, museum curators as well as Local Records Centre staff.

It all started at the 1975 BIOREC 75 conference in Dundee with a group of enthusiasts (notably SWT and natural history museum curators). BRISC is now a very active organisation with 129 members. Among our top priorities are to encourage new Local Records Centres to become established where none existed and to achieve 111 coverage of all Scotland, including islands by a network of LRCs. Currently there are 23 centres, some of which are based in Countryside Parks and run by Rangers. The coverage is uneven. With the majority of LRCs stated in the central belt, where most people live and where institutional support is greater, leaving substantial gaps in less populated areas such as parts of Strathclyde.

In the early 1990s we inaugurated an accreditation scheme, designed to encourage high standards for LRCS and at the same time provide sufficient levels (five) so that everyone, including Countryside Parks, could achieve some level of accreditation. 13 centres have so far achieved accreditation.

In line with NFBR, BRISC is run by a committee, whose members are elected at the AGM. Scottish Natural Heritage is a co-opted member and BRISC has greatly benefited by this close relationship. We have an open invitation for a representative from CoSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) to attend, but we haven't had much success here, though CoSLA has become more involved since the Millennium Bid. The BRISC committee meets every two months to discuss business, report on local matters and check on progress. Members give their time and commitment on an entirely voluntary basis. Up till three years ago, the secretarial duties were also carried out by a volunteer, with the Scottish Wildlife Trust providing desk space, computer facilities, photocopying and postage at the Trusts HQ in Edinburgh. However, following the production of a three year Development Plan BRISC managed to impress the Scottish Office sufficiently to get funding for a part-time secretary/development officer for three years till April 1997.

About a year ago BRISC assumed charitable status. This step was recommended by the Scottish Office, because we were advised that this status made it easier to apply for grants. This has certainly proved correct in the end because BRISC has managed to obtain a grant of 235,000 over three years provided we can raise a matching sum. This should pay for a full time development officer and lots of activity.

The development plan identified principal areas of activity and put forward targets and time scales for their achievement. With most responsibilities resting on committee members, much depended on personal free time and commitment. A lot has been achieved and it has certainly helped us to better focus the work of the organisation. Each committee member is encouraged to take responsibility for one section of the development plan and this is how I came to volunteer for promoting training, good practice and common standards. At present a new three year development plan is being drawn up, the elements of which build on what has already been achieved.

Through BRISC we have formed a Scottish Recorder User Group (SRUG) and regularly put on training courses in Recorder for beginners to advanced levels. We have also been deeply involved in the LRC part of the Millennium Bid hosting various consultative meetings and keeping everyone informed.

BRISC publishes a newsletter "BRISC Recorder" about three times a year. Other publications include Guide to Biologcal recording in Scotland' now in its third editions, while BRISC's Guide to Standards and good practice in biologrcal recording is about to be released. BRISC has also produced a series of special surveys to encourage participation by the general public in biological recording. In future these will be channelled through existing LRCs. We may be late starters up here in Scotland but we are running hard to catch up.

Anne-Marie Smout, Recorder for Fife Nature and Committee member of NFBR.

CISFBR - Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Federation of Biological Recorders

CISFBR was launched in April. The new federation is an independent group of biologists that aims to build upon the work carried out by the old CBRU, working closely with existing groups and organisations in the area. The aim of the group is to collect, authenticate, update and make available biological data and to assist in its analysis and interpretation.

A newsletter will be produced twice yearly.

Contact: Adrian Spalding, CISFBR, Tremayne Farm Cottage, Praeze-an-Beeble, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 9PH

Surveys

The Coastal Directories Project The Coastal Directories Project was established by JNCC to collate and collect summary information that provides an overview of coastal and marine resources and human activities at national and regional levels. It provides an index of more detailed references and other sources of information. The project is being published as 17 Regional Directories. Each directory provides data on geology and physical environment; terrestrial coastal habitats;. Marine and estuarine environments; important species; archaeology and human history; protected coastal sites; land use, infrastructure and coastal defences; human activities and coastal management. The series is also available on disc on Adobe Acrobat format.

Prices are per volume: Diskette and hbk, £107.14 Diskette, £78.00 Hbk, £78.00 Volumes to date Region 3 North East Scotland Region 5 North East England Region 6 Eastern England Region 9 Southern England Region 10 South West England Region 1 1 The Western Approaches Region 12 Wales Region 13 Northern Irish Sea

Publications

NFBR NEWSLETTERS

Back numbers of a limited range of NFBR Newsletters are available from the editor at a small charge plus postage and packing. Please ring for details.

The 1993 NFBR Conference Proceedings have been published and were distributed as a separate document with a previous newsletter.

Proceedings of the 1991 NFBR Conference, Invertebrates in the landscape : invertebrate recording in site evaluation and countryside monitoring have now been published by the British Entomological and Natural History Society as a supplement to the British Journal of Entomology and Natural History as Vol. 7, Supp. 1, Harding, P. (ed.), Feb 1994, ISSN 0952 7583. Copies are available from R.D. Hawkins, Sales Secretary, 30d Meadowcroft Close, Horley, Surrey RH6 9EL. All other published conference proceedings, 1985-87 & 1989, are available from Paul Harding, ITE Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Carnbs PE1 7 2LS.

NFBR MEMBERSHIP LEAFLETS

New membership leaflets will be available shortly

Environmental Assessment

Auditing Environmental Impact Statements Using Information Held in Public Registers of Environmental Information. Bird, A. Oxford Brookes School of Planning Working Papers 165. £6.50 1996 Oxford Brookes Planning School, 1996

Digest of Environmental Statements 1996, IEA, 1996 £130.00

Environmental Assessment: Scoping Handbook for Projects. Environment Agency, 1996, £15.00

Environmental Impact Assessment. A Comparative Review. Wood, C. Addison Wesley Longman, 1996, £16.99

The Environmental Impact of Leisure Activities Fourth Report Volume 1. HMSO, 1995, £20.00

Detecting Ecological Impacts. Concepts and Applications in Coastal Habitat. Schitt, R.J. & Osenberg, C. W. (eds), Academic, 1996 £44.00 Ecological Assessment, Treweek, J, Blackwell Science, £22.50

Ecological Census Techniques. A Handbook. Sutherland, W. (ed.) CUP, 1996 £17.95 (pbk) Evaluation of Environmental Information for Planning Projects. A Good Practice Guide, HMSO, 1994, £8.00

Biodiversity

Biodiversity Assessment. A Guide to Good Practice.

Biodiversity and Conservation, Jeffries, M., Routledge, 1997, £40.00, ISBN 0 41 5 14904 5

Volume 1 UK Resources as a Contribution to Global Diversity Assessment, DOE, 1996 £29.95

Volumes 2 & 3 Collecting Biodiversity Data, DOE, 1 996, £21.00

Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity: Standard Methods for Amphibian, Heyer, R. W. (ed.) et. al., Biodiversity Handbook Series 1 ., Smithsonian P , 1994 £13.95

Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity: Standard Methods for Mammals, Wilson, E.D et. al. (eds), Biodiversity Handbook Series 2., Smithsonian P , 1994 £13.95

Habitat conservation

Conserving bogs: the management handbook, SNH, due 1997, £50.00

Guidelines for Selection of Biological SSSIs. Intertidal Marine Habitats and Saline Lagoons, JNCC, 1996, £6.00 pbk

Nature Conservation in Europe. Policy & Practice, Brornley, P. Spon, 1997, £37.50 The Management of Lowland Wet Grassland for Wildlife, Treweek, J. et. al., RSPB, 1997, £14.95

Wildlife and Freshwater; an agenda for sustainable management, EN, 1997 ISBN 1 85716 260 9

River Channel Restoration, Brookes, A. & Shields, F.D., Wiley, 1996, £24.95

Planting mixes based in national vegetation classification system. Frances, J. & Dixie, G, HV Horticulture Ltd, 1996, 245,OO ISBN 0 952 9989 04

Deer Management on National Nature Reserves, Problems and Practices, EN Report 174, EN, 1996

Planning

Countryside Planning, Gig, A., Routledge, 1996, £50.00, ISBN 0 415 05489 3

Planning Policy Guidance Notes

Detailed Government guidance on the interpretation of planning law. HMSO 1992- 96

PPG 1 General Policy & Principles, 22.75

PPG2 Green Belts, £2.75

PPG7 Countryside & Rural Economy, £5.20

PPG9 Nature Conservation, £8.50

PPG12 Development Plans & Regional Guidance, £8.00

PPGl5 Planning & the Historic Environment, £8.40

PPG 16 Archaeology & Planning, £5.00

PPG 20 Coastal Planning, £4.70

PPG21 Tourism, £5.00

Environmental Law

Countryside Law, Garner, J. F., & Jones, B. L., Shaw & Sons, due Feb 1997, £20.00 Environmental Law, An Introduction for Environmental Scientists and Lawyers, McEldowney, J. F. & McEldowney, S., Addison Wesley Longman, 1996, £22.99

Wildlife Law & the Environment, Cook, K., Cameron May 1996, £25 .OO

Recent Legislation

The Habitat (Species Rich Grassland) (Wales) Regulations 1996, £1.55

The Habitat (Coastal Belt) (Wales) Regulations, 1 996, E 1 .5 5

The Habitat (Broadleaved Woodland) (Wales) Regulations, 1996, £1.55

The Habitat (Coastal Belt) (Wales) Regulations, 1996, £ 1.5 5

The Environmentally Sensitive Areas (Wales) Designation (Amendment) Regulations 1996, £1.55

The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (Variation of Schedule 9) Order 1997, £0.65

The Environmentally Sensitive Areas (N. Ireland) Designation (Amendment) Regulations 1996, £ 1.95

Mapping & GIS

A Directory of Digital Data Sources in the UK O'Carroll, P., et. al. Oxford Brookes Planning School. 1994, £17.00

GIS & Spatial Modelling, Longley, P. & Batty, M., GeoInformation International, £45.00 Geographic Information Systems in Ecology, Johnston, C. Blackwell, due April 1997, £25.00

Invertebrates

The Moths & Butterflies of Greta Britain and Ireland Volume 3 Yponomeutidae - Elachistidae, Heath, J.H. & Maitland-Emmet, A., 1997, Harley, £3 7.50 pbk

Flora

Aquatic Plants in Britain & Ireland, Preston, C.D., and Croft, J., Harley, 1996, $25.00 hbk The 1996 ICUN Red List of Threatened Plants, ICUN, 1997, f 32.50

Flora Europaea,Volume 5 Alismataceae to Orchidaeceae, Tutin, T.G. et. al. (eds), CUP, 1996

The New Flora of the British Isles, 2nd edition, Stace, C., CUP, 1997, 229.95

Red Data Books of Britain & Ireland: Lichens Volume 1: Britain, Church, J.M. et. al., JNCC, 1997, JNCC

Events

12/6/97 Introduction to botanical identification. Nr. Abingdon Oxford. IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Hambridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ Tel 01635 37715.

13/6/97 Identification of grasses Nr. Abingdon Oxford. IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Hambridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ Tel01635 37715.

18/6/97 Introduction to bat ecology and survey. Reading. IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Cow, Hambridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ Tel01635 37715.

2/7/97 Restoring and creating wildflower-rich grassland on farmland, Shalbourne, East Wilts. IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Hambridge Road, Newbury RG14 5 SJ TelO 1635 377 1 5.

3/7/97 The scientific basis for managing rivers for conservation. The Royal Society London. Details: Miss K Ross, FBA, The Ferry House, Ambleside, Cumbria LA 22 OLP Fax 0 15394 469 14

11/7/97 Creating wildflower landscapes in urban areas, Knowlsey, Merseyside, IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Hambridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ Tel01635 377 15.

14- 14/7/97 Moorland restoration and management. Peak District National Park, IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Harnbridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ Tel01635 377 15.

3/9/97 Identifllng pondweeds. Cambridgeshire. IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Hambridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ Tel01635 37715.

10- 12/9/1997 Entomology '97 Newcastle. Details: The Registrar, RES 4 1 Queen's Gate, London SW1 5HR, Tel0171 584 8361

23-25/9/1997 Grassland management in ESAs. University of Lancaster. Details: British Grassland Society, 1 Earley Gate, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AT TelO 1734 3 18 189

16/10/97 Advances in ecological mitigation for badgers. Reading. IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Hambridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ TelO 163 5 3 77 15.

19/12/97 Planning for nature conservation. Nottingham. IEEM., 36 Kingfisher Court, Harnbridge Road, Newbury RG14 5SJ Tel01635 3771 5.