Baker Consultants, in partnership with colleagues at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and Lancaster University, has been awarded the grant by the National Environment Research Council’s (NERC) ‘Constructing a Digital Environment’ programme.
BNG is the requirement for developers to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand. These schemes will run for 30 years and will require stringent monitoring over this lifespan to ensure they are meeting the gains set out in the management plan for the site.
The aim of the Bioacoustic Net Gain project is to gauge the potential for bioacoustics to be used to assess and monitor habitat condition over the long-term, as newly created and managed habitats develop and mature. It will assess the feasibility of creating a publicly accessible portal for the storage and analysis of ecoacoustics data, and will run a pilot study to calibrate acoustic data against metric scores for each habitat type. This knowledge will not only be relevant for development sites with BNG obligations, but also helpful for monitoring of habitat creation and restoration, rewilding projects, forestry and agri-environment schemes.
Dr Carlos Abrahams, Director of Bioacoustics at Baker Consultants said; “Bioacoustics is being increasingly recognised as a vital tool for long-term collection of ecological data. It provides a permanent data record that can allow trends in habitat condition to be easily tracked over many years. It could provide an excellent solution to the monitoring of Biodiversity Net Gain, so we are setting out how to integrate the acoustic data collected with the standard metrics of habitat condition used in BNG calculations”.
Baker Consultants is an award-winning ecological consultancy that advises clients on their BNG obligations and works to design ecology into development schemes. The company has unique experience in bioacoustics and developing innovative methods for monitoring biodiversity. It completed a horizon-scanning study for DEFRA in 2022 on the use of acoustics for the monitoring of agri-environment schemes, and recently contributed to the development of guidelines for the long-term use of ecoacoustic monitoring in the UK, with Manchester Metropolitan University and UK Acoustics Network.
The Baker Consultants team is highly experienced and we are passionate about what we do. If you need advice related to ecology, surveys or conservation, then please get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.