A round up of the top stories as chosen by the CJS Team.
Tuesday 4 January
Good progress made for Sites of Special Scientific Interest
by Hannah Jordan, Horticulture Week
More than 95% of England's finest wildlife and geological sites, covering
more than one million hectares of countryside, are now in "favourable or
recovering condition", environment secretary Caroline Spelman announced
In comparison, in 2003 only 57% of Sites of Special Scientific Interest
(SSSI) were reported by Natural England to be in the same condition.
Under SSSI legislation special habitats must be healthy and conserved by
appropriate management to be considered in a "favourable condition." A
"recovering condition" describes a site where measures have been put in
place to address conditions why a site has been categorised as in an
The latest improvements follow seven years of
work by Defra, in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency,
the Forestry Commission and partners from the public, private and voluntary
Spelman said: "This fantastic achievement is testimony to the
hard work of everyone involved. People really do care about and value our
natural environment and together we can safeguard our remaining natural
heritage for future generations."
Helen Phillips, chief executive of
Natural England said: "The turnaround in the fortunes of England’s SSSIs is
one of the great conservation success stories of recent decades and owes
much to the tireless efforts of an army of conservationists, landowners and
"Thanks to their efforts, a host of rare species from sand
lizards to golden plovers now have a greater prospect of flourishing; while
much loved landscapes, such as the New Forest and the Yorkshire Dales, face
a more secure future."
Wednesday 5 January
Kittiwakes’ trans-Atlantic winter odyssey linked to breeding success
of Britain's best known seabirds winters on opposite sides of the Atlantic
depending on whether its breeding attempt has been successful according to
new research published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society
B. The findings highlight previously unsuspected links between summer
breeding performance and wintering distributions of kittiwakes.
Kittwake on nest, Isle of May
Thursday 6 January
After 40 years helping Rangers in the Pembrokeshire Coast National
Park, Voluntary Warden Rick Spicer has decided to hang up his boots.
Rick, from Letterston, has been volunteering in the North West
of the National Park since he was enlisted by Park wardens in 1971,
when he was working as the warden at Pwll Deri Youth Hostel.
One of Rick’s last jobs has been among the more
unusual tasks he’s been given. He has been helping the
Artist-in-Residence at the Park Authority’s Oriel y Parc Gallery and
Visitor Centre to create artwork using jigsaw puzzles. Mimi Joung,
who has just come to the end of her three month residency, took on
Rick - a puzzle fanatic - to help her complete lots of jigsaws which
she then split into sections and combined to create one large
announces wildlife friendly farming award partnership
by Ben Hall
The Telegraph and the RSPB have joined forces to recognise the efforts of
the country’s most dedicated wildlife friendly farmers.
The newspaper has announced sponsorship of the annual Nature of Farming
Award, which is given to the UK farmer who does the most to protect
threatened wildlife on their land. The award is the largest of its kind and
is run by the RSPB with support from Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife
The new RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Awards are to be unveiled at a
reception at the Oxford Farming Conference attended by European agriculture
commissioner Dacian Ciolos.
For the first time the competition will include a Commendation award.
This will be given to those farmers who have shown a true dedication to the
wildlife on their farm. As well as recognising their hard work the
Commendation will help farmers promote their business to the industry and
the wider public.
Mark Avery, RSPB director of conservation, said: “We are really pleased
to be working with the Telegraph on this award. With excellent coverage of
rural affairs and the environment they are ideally placed to raise the
profile of our winners whose hard work is helping bring the life back to our
Sustainable fish customers 'duped' by Marine Stewardship Council
reports the Guardian.
Certification granted to controversial fisheries has prompted severe
criticism of the sustainable fisheries organisation
The body which certifies that fish have been caught sustainably has been
accused of "duping" consumers by giving its eco-label to fisheries where
stocks are tumbling.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) manages the labelling system that
tells consumers which species of fish they can buy safe in the knowledge
they aren't destroying stocks.
It recently celebrated the 100th award of its eco-label – to the Barents
Sea cod fishery – but a series of decisions allowing controversial fisheries
to be granted the prized MSC label has prompted severe criticism of the
Friday 7 January
gasp for the rare Rapunzel flower - Plantlife
Survey reveals fewer sites and fewer flowers than expected
Spiked rampion. © Elliot Bignell
A new survey in 2010 found even fewer sites than expected for the
rare wild flower spiked rampion.
Plantlife launched a project earlier in the year which aims to save
spiked rampion, one of the UK’s rarest plants, from extinction. The project,
funded by SITA Trust, began with a survey during the flowering season to
find out how many plants still survive and how healthy populations are – but
results reveal that there are only eight sites remaining, with less than ten
plants at five of these sites.
National Parks are Beacons for Biodiversity
National Park Authorities published a new report in December 2010 that
demonstrates how National Parks are central to efforts to halt biodiversity
loss. The report published as 2010, the International Year of
Biodiversity, drew to a close, follows the setting of a European target to
halt biodiversity loss by 2020 and agreements at the international
Convention on Biological Diversity Conference held in October 2010.
An independent review of England’s wildlife sites published in September
2010 recognised the richness of wildlife in National Parks and the potential
for National Parks to become exemplars in managing and connecting habitats
for ecological and wider benefits. The Government will respond to the
recommendations of this review in the Natural Environment White Paper in