Gibase1.0: a database of green infrastructure plant species in England and Scotland.
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. 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 policymakers were able to draw upon a data resource that recorded the specifications used in development projects and facilitated easy access to them. In the United Kingdom, 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. In this paper, we present GIbase 1.0, a new dataset that incorporates plant specifications from development projects across England and Scotland along with trait data associated with each species. To demonstrate the utility of the dataset, in a separate exercise we tested whether these data could be used to inform policymakers and researchers about current procurement and planting practices. To this end, 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. The findings from this work are published separately (Karlsdottir et al., 2021).