The Biodiversity Action Reporting System (BARS) is a web based information system to support the conservation community. It will help you find out where practical action is in place to benefit important habitats and species as well as generate summaries of the data. It also offers an efficient way for you to contribute information about your own biodiversity actions.
BARS helps establish the level of activity in place at any given time, where this is taking place, and what it is trying to achieve. BARS can be used to map action locations and generate a range of statistical summaries. This shared intelligence helps national and local communities plan and better coordinate their conservation activities. It also helps the four countries and UK government report collectively on what is being done to halt overall biodiversity loss in line with international, UK and country commitments.
Current System : BARS 2
This is a newly released information system and work is now underway to recruit key data sources. Initially most of these will represent nationally commissioned activity such as the agricultural environmental stewardship programmes. We encourage you to contribute any locally generated actions you would like to be represented. It may take several years before the system becomes truly representative of current activity.
The new system structure awards it both flexibility in use and robustness in the data it holds. This will be key in supporting new approaches to and administration of nature conservation within the UK. The action information offered through BARS 2 is a key piece of the broader evidence needed to help us understand the status of and changes in our biodiversity.
Anyone can contribute information to BARS. We anticipate many registered users will enter data directly via the add an action page. For particularly large data sets a bulk import process has been established. Further information about data provision can be found in the help section of the website.
For guides on using BARS please visit the help section.
The BARS Partnership
BARS development is supported by a UK partnership between DEFRA, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Environment Agency, the Wales Biodiversity Partnership and the National Biodiversity Network Trust. This partnership continues to maintain and enhance BARS to ensure that it meets the needs of its users.
The ability to collate and report information on practical action taken to achieve benefits for biodiversity has always been important within the conservation community. However, the need to do this effectively at a national and UK scale was driven by the strategic commitments made under the first UK Biodiversity Action Plan published in 1994.
The UK BAP involved over 1500 organisations working on 436 priority species and habitat action plans at UK level, four country biodiversity strategies and programmes, and about 150 local partnerships. While this represented a big success in engaging partners in action for biodiversity it was very difficult to assess both what was actually being done collectively and where individually.
In 2001, work began on building a national system that met the individual reporting needs of organisations and the collective reporting needs of the broader partnerships. A prototype database was defined through an analysis of 10 existing or evolving reporting systems and tested by the community.
In 2002, Netsquared Ltd was contracted to develop a web-enabled version of the system. Initially, this led to the development of a desktop application, which could exchange data with a central server. This was rapidly superseded by the development of a fully web-based version of the application first released in September 2004.
Between 2002 and 2008 the various incarnations of BARS supported UK BAP reporting. These culminated in three formal reporting rounds in 2002, 2005 and 2008. In 2007 responsibility for delivery of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan was devolved to the four countries. In response the BARS partnership recognised the need to redefine the requirement for and role of a UK Biodiversity Action Reporting System. A programme of work to complete this was established in 2009.
Between 2010 and 2012 an entirely new Biodiversity Action Reporting System has been designed and built. BARS 2 introduces a more strict model for recording actions but also a more flexible structure to establish partnership style affiliations between organisations and actions. For the first time BARS includes interactive mapping which helps users explore the location and extent of activity. Building on the new data model it is now possible to generate a range of powerful aggregated action summaries. BARS 2 was released in April 2012.
Data entry and editing in the old system have been frozen, however the data can still be accessed to minimise impact of the switchover. In time this old site will be archived, and details of this process will available in due course.
- 1994 – First UK Biodiversity Action Plan
- 2001 – Identified need for UK wide system
- 2002 – Developed a prototype web-enabled desktop application
- 2003 – Launched desktop application
- 2004 – Launched first fully web-based version
- 2005 – Became the central focus for UK BAP reporting
- 2007 – Decision to devolve UK BAP delivery to the four countries
- 2009 – Agreed the need for BARS adapt to the evolving biodiversity strategies
- 2011 – First release of spatial capability with action maps
- 2012 – First release of re-developed system