Skip to main content
Contact Us

Growing threats to biodiversity from pressure of land use, climate change, and invasive pests and diseases highlight the importance of obtaining accurate baseline measurements of current forest biodiversity, as well as improved monitoring to detect early signals of change. Developments in molecular techniques have advanced to the stage that there are now practical methods available that help reduce the costs and overcome the practical difficulties that restrict the breadth, speed and repeatability of species identification. This Research Note provides an overview of two molecular techniques, DNA barcoding and DNA metabarcoding, and the scope to use them in forest biodiversity surveys in support of a broad range of management and conservation objectives. DNA barcoding is widely used for the unambiguous identification of single species based on DNA extracted either directly from the organism itself, or from environmental DNA via hair, droppings and other cellular debris left in the environment it inhabits. DNA metabarcoding enables the identification of multiple species present in a single sample in a timely and cost-efficient manner. This creates opportunities to explore species interactions, to identify species within a community that may pose a biosecurity risk, and to investigate multiple species responses to environmental change arising naturally or through management interventions.


PDF, 0.92 MB

Publication type
Research Note
Publication owner
Forestry Commission