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Public awareness

Indicator Specification Created 26 Feb 2007 Published 21 May 2010 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
Topics: ,
Indicator codes: SEBI 026

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)


Justification for indicator selection


  • It is policy relevant, and it is currently tested in all EU Member States.
  • It is cost-effective and complementary to other indicators.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

This indicator is based on a quantitative questionnaire-based survey (Eurobarometer survey on biodiversity) to provide results that can be presented as, for instance (fictional example): '35 % of the European voting population visit a nature reserve at least once a year'. It can include qualitative information, often involving focus groups, for instance (fictional example): 'Discussion in the United Kingdom focus groups has shown that people are highly concerned about the impact of climate change on wildlife'.


% of survey respondents

Policy context and targets

Context description

Public opinion is a vital factor in influencing politicians and decision makers. It provides a barometer for public support and interest and is a motivation for individuals at all levels to lead and to take more action. The purpose of this indicator for public opinion is therefore to gauge attitudes of the general public in relation to issues such as: value for money and effectiveness in delivering biodiversity gains through public funding; knowledge of and value (financial and otherwise) assigned to wildlife; awareness of and opportunities to see wildlife and visit wildlife sites; etc.

Relation of the indicator to the focal area

Public opinion is an indication of: 1) attitude towards biodiversity per se; and 2) the attitude of the action taken by politicians and public bodies toward the protection and management (financial and fiscal, public statements, etc.) for biodiversity.


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

  • EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy
    in the Communication: Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011) 244) the European Commission has adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. There are six main targets, and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal. The six targets cover: - Full implementation of EU nature legislation to protect biodiversity - Better protection for ecosystems, and more use of green infrastructure - More sustainable agriculture and forestry - Better management of fish stocks - Tighter controls on invasive alien species - A bigger EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss

Key policy question

What is the level of public awareness about biodiversity in Europe? Are people willing to take action?


Methodology for indicator calculation

The standard Eurobarometer was established in 1973. Each survey consists of approximately 1 000 face-to-face interviews per member state (with variations in a small number of countries). They are conducted between two and five times a year, with reports published twice yearly. Against this background 'Special Eurobarometer' reports (of which biodiversity is one) are based on in-depth thematic studies carried out for various services of the European Commission and other EU institutions and integrated in Standard Eurobarometer's polling waves.

Methodology for gap filling

No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty


  • It is entirely dependant on the questions asked in the survey. Additionally, the answers are directly linked to factors that will vary between countries, for instance:

Economic prosperity (the ability of travel, etc.);

Cultural and socio economic factors (e.g. nature reserve is a playground to visit for some, and some countries, and a place to live and work for others).

  • Differing levels of interpretation/response by the public based on socio-economic/cultural factors.
  • Only one data point is certain before 2010.


Several indicators have been considered. The analysis was built on existing initiatives in European countries and the input of various experts.

Some examples can be found of social indicators for public awareness and participation that are being used at a national level in order to evaluate national or local regional biodiversity policy and strategies:

1. Number of Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) that exist in different habitats as well as the number of local BAPs (LBAPs).

2. Assessment of public enjoyment of woodland.

3. Assessment of ease of access to local green space and countryside.

4. Proportion of households undertaking wildlife gardening.

5. Numbers of visits to nature reserves.

6. The number of adequately trained staff in local environmental administrations.

7. Number of campaigns and rate of citizen participation in national environmental education and awareness raising programmes e.g. garden bird monitoring programmes.

8. The number of national biodiversity projects implemented with stakeholder participation.

9. Level of personal involvement in community groups.

10. Informal or formal volunteering in conservation groups.

11. Awareness of sustainability and Local Agenda 21.

There are other initiatives developed by Defra, United Kingdom (2006) such as measuring volunteer time spent in conservation and number of people volunteering for conservation activity.

Two headline indicators used in Belgium (2006) are:

1. Frequency of visits to nature and forest areas (annual).
2. Membership of non-governmental organizations for nature conservation (1997-2003).

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

Work description

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT 'Number of visits to nature reserves' is proposed as a future indicator to support the Eurobarometer. The main reason for suggesting this as a second indicator is that number of visits can be easily measured with minimum cost and it can give an indication of participation with regards to biodiversity, particularly if linked to volunteering.

Resource needs

No resource needs have been specified


Not started


2099/01/01 00:00:00 GMT+1

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Katarzyna Biala


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
SEBI 026
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Biodiversity Biodiversity


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Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 3 years


DPSIR: Response
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)

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