Why do we need to monitor the natural environment?

Because this enables us to assess the current status of the environment and to understand the causes of change.

UK-SCAPE Work Package 1: Aims

Long-term national monitoring is important for assessing the status of the environment and for helping to understand the causes of change. We will provide national scale monitoring of:

  • Land cover, as a critical component of land-surface models and as a basis for future projections of land-use change and climate impacts.
  • Soil quality, to fill a critical gap in understanding of the status of soil health, relevant to food security, public health and understanding the climate system.
  • Biodiversity, through citizen science and field surveys, to assess the status of thousands of wildlife species. This will be supported by a UK virtual Environmental Specimen Bank to facilitate rapid discovery of archived biological specimens.
  • Water resource assessment of the status and dynamics of hydrological conditions and fluxes across the UK to underpin seasonal hydrology forecasting.
  • Air quality sensors measuring pollutants and greenhouse gases to help predict impacts on humans and ecosystems. 

We will produce quality assured raw data and data products to provide researchers with unrivalled potential to detect and explain change in the natural environment.


Key innovation

Our national monitoring builds upon established approaches while incorporating advances in sensor technology and data analytics. We will continue to integrate new developments in statistics and informatics to maximise use of our monitoring programme to support research.