Natural England’s Defining Favourable Conservation Status project is defining the level at which we can be confident that habitats and species in England are thriving.
‘Favourable Conservation Status’ (FCS) describes the minimum threshold at which a habitat or species is thriving throughout its natural range and is expected to continue to thrive in the future. By using evidence and the expertise of specialists we can define what FCS looks like for habitats and species in England. This information can be used to improve the work we do to recover nature, by informing:
- legal tests, for example Habitats Regulations Assessments and species licensing;
- strategies for a place such as Local Nature Recovery Strategies or development plans; and
- site-based conservation management.
The approach we have developed to define FCS in England is described in an Evidence Information Note. This is a reference document for those using our definitions or wanting to develop definitions for other species and habitats. It provides guidance on the principles, considerations and methods to use.
We have also prepared a Technical Information Note which provides background information about FCS, FCS definitions and how they can be used.
Our FCS definitions are based on ecological evidence and the expertise of specialists. FCS definitions are not targets but instead set out an England scale ambition for species and habitats, which provides context for decision making and actions to achieve and sustain thriving wildlife.
We are publishing FCS definitions so that you, our partners and decision-makers can do your bit for nature, better. As we publish more of our work, the format of our definitions may evolve, however the content will remain largely the same.
These definitions have been prepared using current data and evidence. They represents Natural England’s view of FCS based on the best available information at the time of production.