Biodiversity Opportunity Mapping

‘Biodiversity Opportunity Areas’ are areas where conservation action, such as habitat creation, restoration or expansion, is likely to have the greatest benefit for biodiversity. They are centred on existing areas of biodiversity interest, but have a key role as areas which offer strategic opportunities for biodiversity enhancement and are expected to contribute towards the UKBAP priority habitat targets identified in regional and local Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.

Here are extracts from the explanation for the need for Biodiversity Opportunity Areas in Berkshire:

“Traditionally, nature conservation has focused on protecting important sites. This approach has achieved a lot however it, alone, cannot sustain biodiversity in the long-term. ....... we need to reconnect biodiversity with ecosystems, and change the scale of work towards a landscape focus.

Landscape-scale conservation reconciles protection of priority habitats and species with ecosystem function. It allows us to adopt a more sustainable approach to custody of the countryside; ensuring biodiversity can adapt and thrive in the face of climate change. To achieve this, opportunities must be sought to expand, link and buffer sites. We need to increase the quality of the entire countryside for wildlife. This will begin to reverse the current fragmented picture of ecosystems, and enable us to reclaim a healthy and functional environment. This change is also vital to safeguard our own quality of life, as we are dependent on natural services such as climate regulation and food production.”

Examples and Useful References

English regions have now developed biodiversity opportunity mapping, an example is available in the Yorkshire and Humberside Biodiversity Opportunity Map. 

Many county-level Biodiversity Opportunity Areas have been developed, typically including a statement as to how they can be used, such as that for Kent. Kent Biodiversity Opportunity Areas 

Where they have been identified Biodiversity Opportunity Areas will have been mapped and plans will be available, such as those for Sussex. Sussex Biodiversity Opportunity Areas

Usually the plans for an area are accompanied by a statement or description, such as those in Hampshire.

If you want to understand the bridge between the science and practice of biodiversity opportunity mapping you will find this English Nature Research Report No 687 useful reading at