Golf clubs asked to share biodiversity data

Jenny Yuin Conservation & Ecology

A major UK biodiversity partnership is calling on greenkeepers and golfers to share crucial biological data with it to help educate the world. Mandy Henshall from the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) explains more:

Did you know that the UK has over 70,000 species of plants, animals and fungi? The wealth of our island's biodiversity is quite staggering.

Many of these species may be found on the greens of golf courses right across the UK. We know that many course managers are actively working to contribute to the rich biodiversity of the British Isles.

The mix of habitat and environment may form an ideal base to ensure many species flourish.

Every day thousands of species sightings are recorded and shared in the UK. This work is carried out by dedicated people who work tirelessly to help us understand our natural world and how it is changing.

In fact, biological data is recorded by many organisations and people.

It is collected using a range of systems and then verified by experts. It is curated by a wide range of organisations and then shared regionally, primarily by local environmental record centres, and nationally via the NBN Atlas.

The NBN Atlas

The NBN Atlas is a free online tool that provides a platform to engage, educate and inform people about the natural world. It helps improve biodiversity knowledge, opens up research possibilities and changes the way environmental management is carried out in the UK.

The NBN Atlas is innovative because the combination of the multiple sources of information about UK species and habitats, and the ability to interrogate, combine and analyse these data - in a single location - has not been done before on this scale.

The NBN Atlas currently holds more than 217 million species records, approximately 30 per cent of all the worlds' biological data recordings.

A global system

The system is based on the open source Atlas of Living Australia infrastructure. The National Biodiversity Network has taken this platform and redesigned and remastered it to create a bespoke system that is exceptionally useful for UK users.

It also remains compatible to allow data to be shared globally.

Future development

We will be soon be developing the facility to allow users to submit sightings directly and share images. Club members could, for example, record their sightings and submit their data monthly or annually allowing you to see and analyse trends.

Get involved

You can use the NBN Atlas to find out more about biodiversity in your area to see how your site is contributing to the eco-systems locally or use information to help plan habitat management on your courses.

In the meantime however, you can use iRecord to upload what you have seen. If you need help with identification, then iSpot is a great place to start. If you don't want to record anything, but would like to see which species are in your area, then the NBN Atlas is a fantastic resource waiting to be explored. It also has a wildlife image library and general information about each species on the database. It is free to use and available to all.


The National Biodiversity Network (NBN), a registered charity, has been championing the sharing of biological data in the UK since 2000, with the aim of improving the availability of high resolution and high quality data to provide a base for all environmental decision-making in the UK.

Resources: NBN -

NBN Atlas -

iRecord -

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