Tracking the Impact - Results so far

Tracking the Impact – Results so far

Tracking the Impact is a four year landscape-scale wildlife surveying programme across the Central Chilterns area, which has been further expanded in 2023 to include the Chess catchment area.

We have seen some incredible results so far – in the first two years of the project our team of volunteers has helped reach 60% coverage of our project area. Of the 50 available 1km survey squares available in the 2020-2022 seasons, 45 have been covered for Breeding Bird Survey, 31 for Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey and 17 for the National Plant Monitoring Scheme.

In 2022, our 78 volunteers submitted over 3,250 records between them, recording 335 species – with each record helping us to better understand the wildlife of the Chilterns.

All of the records for the survey squares have been entered onto our new online interactive map so you can see for yourself what birds, butterfly and plants have been recorded and where. You can choose to:

  • Have a map or satellite image base to help locate where you are looking
  • Zoom in and out to get more or less detail on the map
  • View bird, butterfly or plant records (note you can only have one option selected at any time)

Any squares that are shaded have been surveyed so simply click on a square, and you will be presented with a pop up list of all the species recorded in that square.

Identifying long term trends

One of the long term objectives of the project is to build a dataset that helps us look at the impact of the great work farmers and other landowners are doing to support wildlife, by tracking the distribution and abundance of our bird, butterfly and plant populations. By doing so we hope to be able get a better idea of what’s happening across the landscape.

We plan on doing this by using Tracking the Impact records for a number of bird, butterfly and plant species that we feel are typical indicators of the key grassland, woodland, river and farmed habitats.

It will take a number of years of surveying to get a reliable dataset, but in the short term we have pulled together maps of the key species, where they have been recorded and how many have been recorded to help build a baseline. Data will be added each year to this analysis and in time we hope to spot patterns and identify trends.

The maps for the first two years (2020-22) for the key species are available to download below – watch this space in the next few years as our data sets grow!

Map report - Butterflies
Map report - Farmland birds
Map report - Plants by habitat
Map report - Wetland birds

Read more or sign up for 2023

We are thrilled to now be recruiting citizen scientists to start surveying from April 2023, with even more ‘squares’ available this year due to our partnership with the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment project.

If your interest is in birds, butterflies and/or plants we are offering exciting opportunities to:

  • take on new survey squares and get involved in national recording schemes
  • receive training in species ID and survey techniques
  • offer training and support to new volunteer surveyors
Read more about Tracking the Impact and how to get involved
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Project area

Tracking the Impact is part of the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership Scheme which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund & and HS2 Community & Engagement Fund, and managed by the Chilterns Conservation Board. New for 2023, we have teamed up with the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment project, led in partnership by the Chilterns Chalks Streams Project and Chiltern Society, to extend Tracking the Impact surveys into the Chess catchment.

Read more on our blog

Tracking the Impact: In Celebration of Volunteers

Tracking the Impact - an online celebration of the role of the volunteers involved in this Citizen Science and conservation project.

Volunteer survey results in fantastic news for birds and farmers in the Central Chilterns

Ready for some good news? Nick has recapped all of the amazing work done by our volunteers as part of...

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