The BSBI Atlas of the British and Irish Flora is a major publication project that has previously appeared at 40-year intervals. It is one of the most important sources of information on the distribution of British plants, and is widely used by researchers and conservationists.
With computer technology it is possible to keep the maps updated on an 'ad hoc' basis, and so the decision has been made to age-band records every 10 years, starting in 2000 (just after the work for Atlas 2000 completed). This means that we are now four years into the second age band since the published Atlas.
There has been no comprehensive systematic recording project in Hampshire since 1999, so recent coverage has been getting quite patchy. Also many of the commoner species have not been fully computerised. We would like to take this opportunity to get the record more up to date. There is a big concerted national "push" on this in the years 2013-2019.
The BSBI Distribution Database also offers an opportunity to map the distribution of the British flora at a tetrad (2km x 2km) resolution, giving a much better impression of how frequent our more localised and declining species really are. Inevitably coverage will be patchy for many years to come, but the pieces of the jigsaw will gradually drop into place.
If you would like to see examples of the national maps, click here.
You can help bring the record up to date by recording plants, including the most common ones, in any areas of Hampshire you visit. You can submit thousands of records if you like, but even one will be useful!
The main tasks for the 2017 season will be getting the remaining high priority tetrads recorded, and getting a minimum of 20% of the tetrads in each hectad down to low priority, which means that 80% of all the taxa recorded in that tetrad have post-2000 records. We shall also tackle individual species that seem to have surprisingly low representation post-2000.
Visit the Priority Tetrads page to see in more detail where effort is needed, and where visits are being planned.
Quite a lot of common and easily recognised species are lacking up to date records (or have never been computerised at all) in a few 10km squares (hectads). If you can give us an up-to-date record in your area for any of these, it will help to fill in gaps in the national record shown on the BSBI's national Web site.
Please record everything to at least 1 kilometre precision (eg 'SU5205'). For species that are uncommon in the area where you are recording, you may want to provide a more precise grid reference. The new online recording form is an ideal way to do this if you don't have recording software of your own. Or, if you are recording many species at a locality, and you are comfortable with scientific names, you may like to use the downloadable field recording sheet also used for the Rare Plant Register project.
Please submit your records electronically if you can. Sorry, we don't have resources to deal with paper records at present for more than a few dozen records at a time. If you are a Mapmate user then sending a Mapmate 'sync file' to the vice-county recorder is the ideal method.
For details of our general strategy and approach to recording in Hampshire for Atlas 2020, download the AUP Handbook (8.5Mb download).
If you want to get more seriously involved, we have compiled a list of "Hectad guardians" who will take responsibility for collating the records from one 10km x 10km square in the county. (This doesn't mean they have to do all the recording work themselves!) At present we have guardians for about two-thirds of the county. If you would like to join them, email the vice-county recorders for further details - or see the Spring 2011 Flora News for more details.
Good hunting, and thank you for your help!