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Data Interpretation Guidelines


This document aims to help the user to understand the value as well as the limitations of species data, and to maximise the benefits that can be drawn from them. It will be supplied with all data released by ARC, and we recommend that it be used alongside data in any interpretative exercise carried out upon data that we supply. This approach is supported by Natural England, with whom we have developed these guidelines. Whilst we hope that the data we provide will be valuable for the purpose for which users request them, we wish to point out that certain caveats need to be borne in mind.


ARC holds, in a variety of formats, rare species monitoring data stretching back up to 30 years. ARC database is focussed on the rare species, but holds some widespread species data. Data entry is ongoing, and currently there is a large backlog of data still to be entered, therefore it is an incomplete resource and should be treated as such. ARC holds natterjack toad data from 1970 onwards. Smooth snake and sand lizard data go back about 10 years in detail, and up to about 30 years in lesser detail. We collect species data annually as part of our monitoring activities, but we are developing the methodologies and procedures over time. We aim to expand our surveillance operations to meet requirements for defining and monitoring ‘favourable conservation status’ sensu the EC Habitats Directive, statutory ‘common standards’ monitoring of protected sites, supplying alert mapping and sensitivity mapping for development planning, decision-making, evaluating and guiding conservation activities, developing a National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS), carrying out scientific projects, and increasing public education and awareness.

ARC rare species database currently comprises the following datasets:

Our data entry is ongoing and a lot of rare species data we hold is not yet digitised. We do not currently collect widespread species data systematically, and for this we advise that you still contact Local Record Centres and local Amphibian and Reptile Groups as appropriate.

Caveats to the use of data:

Constraints on the use of data:

These guidelines should not be viewed as exhaustive. A precautionary approach should be taken if you are unsure that the data fit the purpose for which you are using them. We encourage you to approach ARC for further advice.  
NARRS is led by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) in partnership with ARG UK and many other partners. Through volunteer-based surveys, we aim to monitor the conservation status of all UK amphibian and reptile species. Click on the buttons or links to each side for more information.
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