Data and information

The following list provides links to data and information that can help inform projects seeking to apply the ecosystem approach.

Ecosystem service information

  • Information about what nature does for people in particular areas needs to be drawn from many different data sources (as shown elsewhere on this web page). In their 159 Natural Character Area profiles, Natural England have made available key information about the ecosystem services particular to areas of land throughout England. National Character Areas divide England into 159 distinct areas. Each is defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geodiversity and cultural and economic activity. The profiles include a description of the local ecosystem services provided in each character area and how these benefit people, wildlife and the economy. The profiles include summaries of the way different types of service are provided as well as assessments of ecosystem service trends and how they relate to opportunities for improving the natural environment.
  • A number of ecosystem service mapping projects are operating at the local level throughout the UK. Individual initiatives may be able to share ecosystem service information with others.

Assessments of environmental quality

  • Scotland’s Environment Web brings together a range of environmental data and reports that can be looked at in combination. It includes descriptions of the state of Scotland's environment and key messages that highlight the progress in protecting it.
  • Scotland’s soils is a website with datasets that are available free of charge for non-commerical users. It also presents key facts on Scotland's soils, their functions and the pressures they face, and printable maps and images. It is the result of a two-year project funded by the Scottish Government in partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland.
  • The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology's Information Gateway provides access to a wide range of environmental data. For ecological data, Local Environmental Record Centres are a good starting point. 

Areas with formal designations related to nature

  • MAGIC is an interactive map to bring together information on key environmental schemes and designated areas in one place. It covers England, Scotland, Wales and marine areas and includes, for example, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, green belt land and offshore wind farms. The resource is managed by Natural England on behalf of Defra. 

Landscape character

Information about landscape character is available throughout the UK:

Access and engagement

Data resources in other countries

  • The New South Wales Natural Resource Atlas is a gateway to maps and data for environmental management, planning, research and education. It can be used to browse and create tailor-made maps for any local area.