Swift is built into this website. Perfect for all recorders and recording groups (assuming there is Internet access). Records can be downloaded for offline analysis.
PROS: Free, intuitive, has lots of reporting flexibility and works on all devices.
CONS: Requires an active Internet connection (there is no offline mode)
Perfect for casual recorders or where your records include unusual fields e.g. soil pH, weather conditions.
PROS: Easy for those familiar with spreadsheet packages
CONS: As spreadsheets are semi-structured we have to manually reformat and validate records before we can import them into Swift for others to access
GMLRC is a part of the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU). One of GMEU's roles is the identification, selection and ongoing review of local Sites of Biological Importance (SBI) and your records support this process. These sites contribute greatly to the maintenance of biodiversity across the county. The SBI system is designed to establish and highlight to planners, landowners and site managers, where areas of high biodiversity interest occur so that appropriate decisions on planning applications, land use and land management can be made. Here are our SBI selection guidelines.
Ecological consultants are employed by developers to assess the impacts of proposed developments. These impact assessments are then submitted with the planning application to the Local Authorities who have a statutory duty to protect biodiversity. Prior to carrying out their own surveys the consultants come to us for a desktop search which uses the records you've submitted to highlight known biodiversity interest in the area. We rely upon volunteer recorders submitting their observations to keep our database up to date.
Despite concerted conservation efforts the numbers of many species are still falling, which is why we need to know where they once thrived and where they can still be found. In addition, over the coming years, changes in land use and climate change will present new threats and opportunities for Greater Manchester's wildlife. The records you submit are used to support the development, delivery and evaluation of management plans and conservation projects (locally and nationally), delivered by both GMLRC and partner organisations such as the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust, the RSPB and Natural England. Regular recording shows the impact of change e.g. industrialisation or climate change, but also the recovery of species diversity.
With the exception of the most popular Local Nature Reserves (LNR), there are many areas of our county which are still under recorded. Even records of widespread species including Dunnock, House sparrow and Starling are of great value and could be even more important in years to come. For instance your records could inform a decline intervention or re-introduction scheme some 50 or 130 years from now.