Banner Image Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris): Joe Woodman @joe_woodman_wildlife


Today marks the launch of The Wildlife Trusts £30 million appeal to kickstart nature’s recovery across 30% of land and sea in the UK by 2030.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his support of the 30 by 30 campaign, declaring that the UK will designate a further 4000km2 of newly protected land in England.  The PM is set to sign the Leaders Pledge for Nature at a virtual United Nations event later today, committing to put nature and biodiversity on a road to recovery by 2030.      

Nature has suffered serious declines for decades with 26% of UK mammals in danger of disappearing altogether and hedgehogs, red squirrels, bats, turtle doves, cuckoo, water voles and basking sharks all at risk. It is not only individual species that are threatened; the collapse in the abundance of nature also means many of our ecosystems are not functioning as they should.

Basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Lack of wild places and fragmentation of those that remain has had a disastrous effect. Only 10% of land is protected in the UK and much of this is in poor condition. That’s why The Wildlife Trusts recently called on Government to introduce a new landscape designation for England called ‘Wildbelt.’ This would be for the purpose of putting land into nature’s recovery, such as through the creation of wildlife corridors, natural regeneration of woodland, restoration of wetlands, and rewilding.

 

The Leader’s Pledge for Nature commits signatories to ten actions:

·        Action 1 Prioritise a green recovery from coronavirus;

·       Action 2: Deliver ambitious biodiversity targets and synergies between UN biodiversity and climate conventions;

·       Action 3: Implement strong accountability mechanisms;

·       Action 4: Commit to sustainable production, consumption & food systems;

·       Action 5: Pledge ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement;

·       Action 6: End environmental crimes including the Illegal Wildlife Trade;

·       Action 7: Mainstream biodiversity into key sectors and into international processes/agreements;

·       Action 8: Adopt a One Health approach to address health and environmental sustainability in an integrated manner;

·       Action 9: Increase financing for nature;

·       Action 10: Ensure policy implementation is science-based while incorporating indigenous knowledge and engaging the whole of society.

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts said:

“The headline commitment from the Prime Minister to protect 30 per cent of the UK’s land for biodiversity by 2030 is very welcome – it’s a good start. But the Government seems to think there is more land currently protected for nature than is actually the case. Our National Parks and AONBs are landscape not wildlife designations, and many of these places are severely depleted of wildlife because of overgrazing, poor management or intensive agricultural practices. Our Sites of Special Scientific Interest are supposed to be protected for nature but even around half of these are in a poor state and suffering wildlife declines.

“We now need to see a much greater level of urgent action on the ground to deliver on the ambition set out by the Prime Minister, and to put nature into recovery. This means rescuing the wildlife sites currently in decline, while also making more space for nature through a new wildlife designation called Wild Belt, specifically aimed at putting nature in recovery – protecting and connecting nature right across the country.”

Higher Moors Nature Trail, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.  As a result of management by the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust Ranger team, this site has seen the return of numerous rare plant species, including Bog pimpernel, which had been absent for 68 years!  Photo: BareFoot Photographer.

Liz Bonnin, science and natural history broadcaster and ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts says:

“We know that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and we’re facing the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Put plainly, our wildlife is disappearing and at an alarming rate. Some of our most-loved species are threatened. We’re talking about hedgehogs, barn owls and red squirrels – not the exotic wildlife we think of when we talk about extinction. But there is hope. The Wildlife Trusts have an audacious plan to raise £30 million to heal at least 30% of our land and sea for nature so it can recover by 2030. We can all help them make it happen.”

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust manages over 60% of land across the archipelago for the benefit of both people and nature.

That's 678 hectares actively managed for nature and people...

  • Rare plant species continue to increase as a result of our practical management:
    • Bog pimpernel (locally rare) has returned to Higher Moors SSSI after 68 years of absence
    • Bog Stitchwort (locally rare) has returned to Higher Moors SSSI after 18 years of absence
    • Tubular water dropwort (vulnerable & rapidly declining in the UK) has increased by over 2000% this year
  • Over 40,000 metres of paths cut to allow access across the Islands (2019)
  • Ecological monitoring is taking place across the Islands to ensure we are measuring our impact effectively
  • 45 "stargazing" Manx shearwater chicks on St Agnes & Gugh (2019)
  • 100 metres of recycled plastic boardwalk installed to improve access at Higher Moors (2019)
  • 44 nationally important Scheduled Ancient Monuments protected
  • Over 5 hectares of heathland and wetland cleared of non-native plant species to allow wild flowers to thrive
  • We have helped 13 homeowners with ecological appraisals of their developments; protecting bats within the planning system
  • 5 new bat roosts have been confirmed on the islands along with a new species for Scilly (Leisler's bat)
  • A second year of hydrological monitoring has been completed at Lower Moors SSSI which has identified issues which were negatively affecting the SSSI; the data collected will help to inform future management ensuring that biodiversity is protected and enhanced and sustainable water quality targets are achieved.

Please help us continue this valuable work by becoming a Friend of Scilly Wildlife.  Find out more at:

http://ios-wildlifetrust.org.uk/friends