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GIbase 1.0 Green Infrastructure plant species in England and Scotland

Cite this dataset

Watkins, Harry (2022). GIbase 1.0 Green Infrastructure plant species in England and Scotland [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. The contributions of constructed Green Infrastructure (GI) to biodiversity are often used to justify urban development projects, yet in many cases these contributions have been difficult to quantify. 

2. As a result, a wide range of GI features are designed and implemented, often without knowledge of whether these features contribute meaningfully to biodiversity or if there are biosecurity risks presented by their design or procurement. Our understanding of design practices could be significantly improved if researchers and policy makers were able to draw upon a data resource that recorded the specifications used in development projects and facilitated easy access to them. 

3. In the UK, Planning Portals act as substantial and untapped repositories of grey literature, containing highly detailed data with a diverse spatial coverage, recording the diversity and extent of existing habitats and specifications for proposed species assemblages. However, they are difficult to navigate or query, making it challenging to use these resources to gain macro-level insights from the data held within the portals. 

4. In this paper, we present Plant GI 1.0, a new dataset that incorporates plant specifications from development projects across England and Scotland along with trait data associated with each species.

5. To test whether these data could be used to inform policy makers and researchers about current procurement and planting practices, we assessed the proposed GI features that are submitted by developers to Local Planning Authorities as part of the planning process, and then carried out fieldwork to record the extent to which these specifications were delivered. 


Green infrastructure design specifications for urban development projects in England and Scotland were accessed through UK planning portals, and data were transcribed. Leaf functional traits were then derived for each species from TRY database, and CSR ordinations for each species were calculated using the StrateFy tool developed by Pierce et al., 2017.


Scottish Government through the Rural & Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division, Award: Grant agreement No PHC2019_05