Nature in the United Kingdom is in decline. Populations of priority species have decreased by more than 60% since the 1970s, and there is no evidence of a reversal in this trend. UK landscapes are under more pressure than ever to deliver housing, infrastructure and food. Several species, including once common animals such as the European hedgehog, are in danger of disappearing forever. We need to ensure that policy and conservation methods protect the best of the biodiversity that we have left within the UK.
Defra are looking to release an upgraded biodiversity impact calculator - the Defra Biodiversity Metric - to assist with the quantitative assessment of net gain and no net loss. Yet its failure to assess biodiversity means Ecosulis remains one step ahead. Sara King, Our Biodiversity Assessment Specialist, provides a summary in this article.
A Burkina Faso farmer shows off her onion harvest
The UK government recently stated its ambition to "leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it", and to "not just protect and conserve, but enhance and restore habitats and landscapes". Adopting the slogan "Protect the best, recover the rest", unifies these ambitions. We not only need to protect the best regulations, policies and natural areas developed to date, but also forge ahead and engage new audiences in new conservation narratives suited to an era of accelerating change.
Today, the largest terrestrial carnivore in the United Kingdom is a badger. Aside from the fact that I love badgers, wouldn't it be great to have a little more diversity in our landscapes?
The damaging effect humans have had on natural resources has been more pronounced in the last half-a-century with 60% of the world's biodiversity being decimated. Severe climate change has been one of the fall-outs of this destruction of nature by man and one that we need to reverse. The UK hasn't been spared the effects of such changes as revealed by the State of Nature report recently published. Since the 1970s the UK has witnessed one of the highest losses of biodiversity on the planet.
Scotland is one of the wildest places in the UK, with mountains, lochs and woodland extending out for miles. It is where the first beaver reintroduction trial sites were established in the UK; where pine martens roam and osprey soar through the skies. Experiencing these areas allows you to believe that Lynx, elk and wolves could be reintroduced to these areas more successfully than in southern England, for example.
To provide an update on the current and emerging trends in biodiversity the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) has assessed 24 different indicators. This aims to provide a clear way to identify and address problems facing biodiversity in the UK. These indicators have been based on a total of fifty measures and the full report can be found here.
Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List of Birds
Alan is a world leader in the measurement of biodiversity, creator of a computer program which can estimate biodiversity quality in a range of taxa, researcher in a number of fields and CIEEM Chartered Ecologist. Alan works with Ecosulis as a scientific advisor and non-executive director, as well as a Senior Research Fellow of the Faculty of Engineering at Bristol University. Previously he was the course Director of the Bristol University MSc. Water and Environmental Management.