Sheffield Biological Records Centre

The Sheffield Biological Records Centre (SBRC) is held and managed by ourselves and is currently based at Meersbrook Park Offices in Sheffield. It holds records on which species are found where in the Metropolitan District, including over 500 sites, including the Peak District National Park, Local Nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites, and when they were recorded. 

This enables us to see things like trends in biodiversity over time and informs us how we manage our 'catchment area' for the benefit of wildlife. SBRC is one of the oldest record centres in the UK and celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014. Some of its records date back from as far back as the 17th century. 

Since 1964 we have hosted SBRC. The database consists of physical site records including reports, schedules, maps, original hand-written historical documents and photographs built up over 50 years and, since 1990 a computerised database, which uses Recorder 6 software and comprises of over 511,000 species records.

Data sets

The Recorder 6 data set includes 133,000 records from Barnsley Records Centre, after SBRC's expertise and team flexibility meant it was selected to hold records from Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council in a 3 and a half year project running from late 2012. Using Recorder 6, a database widely used across the UK, allows the team access to excellent spatial search tools and basic mapping facilities and to export data to our in-house GIS (Geological Information System) team to deliver specialised products to external and internal customers.

SBRC's function is to provide a secure archive for the wildlife and biodiversity records in Sheffield. SBRC delivers a public records service for education, research and conservation and offers a fee-paying bespoke service to commercial customers such as environmental consultancies.

Biological records are an extremely valuable resource. Accurate information about the distribution of species and habitats, including those which are legally protected, rare or threatened are required by organisations in the public and private sector whose actions affect the environment.  

Those involved in planning applications, land management, biodiversity conservation, invasive species control and climate change mitigation make use of the data held by SBRC, accessed by our staff.

Management of the SBRC

We manage the SBRC, which holds information on the distribution and abundance of species across Sheffield. This provides accurate up to date information on biodiversity and species populations so conservation and management can be effective as possible.  

An example of tracking population changes can be seen in Speckled Wood Butterflies. Using the data in SBRC and through undertaking annual habitat and species surveys on local nature reserves and local wildlife sites to evaluate the efficacy of conservation efforts, we can suggest improvements to make Sheffield's ecology network better.

Most of the SBRC information is in the public domain and, as members of the Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network, our datasets contribute to the regional big picture on the NBN Gateway.

Make a contribution

You can contribute to recording Sheffield's wildlife and your local records centre. Without current contributions our archive would become historical and would not catalogue recent changes, which help to inform current conservation. We rely on new records.

To add your record to the database please include the following:

  • which species was seen - from bats to fungi, badgers to butterflies and plants (please give us the species name or you can send a photograph for identification)
  • where it was seen (a grid reference or a postcode)
  • when it was seen (day/month/year)
  • who saw it (who saw the species and their contact details)
  • comments (optional, any notable behaviour observed, or surveying methods used for example)

Our customers

  • students
  • schools
  • naturalists
  • land owners
  • reserve managers
  • wildlife conservation organisations
  • natural history societies
  • ecological consultants

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