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A round up of the top countryside, conservation, wildlife and forestry stories as chosen by the CJS Team.


RSPB in North Pennines seek cause of moorland bird decline - RSPB

Image: Steve RoundImage: Steve Round

The RSPB has fitted whinchats at the nature conservation organisation’s Geltsdale reserve with special tracking devices in an attempt to discover why these migrant birds are in serious decline.

Whinchats are small colourful birds that travel across from Africa every summer to breed in the uplands of the UK. But since the mid 1990s their numbers have halved, making them a species of serious conservation concern.

Over the summer, RSPB Conservation Scientist Malcolm Burgess fitted 19 geolocators to whinchats breeding at RSPB Geltsdale. He was aided by three volunteers who located the birds. The devices will reveal where the birds spend the winter, what migratory route they take and where they stop off en route. By building up a picture of the whinchat’s migratory behaviour and movements, and for the first time wintering areas, it will hopefully help shed light on why the population is plummeting.


Butterfly reintroduction project reaches new milestone - RSPB

Image: RSPBImage: RSPB

A new colony of one of Europe’s rarest butterflies has been discovered on an RSPB reserve in Cumbria, marking a new milestone for a reintroduction project.

The initial discovery, made by volunteers at RSPB Campfield Marsh, revealed 12 marsh fritillary butterflies on an area of rough wet grassland and a later visit by Cumbria Marsh Fritillary Project volunteers confirmed the sightings. 

This is the first known natural re-colonisation of marsh fritillary butterflies on Campfield Marsh, and the only RSPB nature reserve in England where the species is currently present, arising from a successful re-introduction scheme in Cumbria led by Butterfly Conservation, Natural England and DEFRA in 2007.

Once widespread throughout the UK, the marsh fritillary has declined severely over the twentieth century and is now confined to the western side of Britain and Ireland. The number of colonies in Cumbria dropped from over 200 to just three in the year 2000 and by 2004 they faced extinction in the area.


Large increase in capercaillie numbers wins prestigious award for Forest Enterprise Scotland – Forestry Commission Scotland

Forestry CommissionForest management on the National Forest Estate in Strathspey has seen capercaillie numbers increase dramatically and has earned Forest Enterprise Scotland a top award. 

Image: Forestry Commission Scotland

The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management awarded their prestigious Corporate Achievement Award to Forest Enterprise Scotland in recognition of their 15-year effort to integrate timber production and recreation with capercaillie conservation.
At the start of their capercaillie programme, only six displaying males were known to be in the area but 15 years later this figure has now jumped to 43. This could mean that overall around 200 capercaillie could be thriving in the Strathspey on the National Forest Estate. 
Species Ecologist with Forest Enterprise Scotland, Kenny Kortland, said: “Throughout this period we have actively managed the timber resource and have provided recreational opportunities for over 300,000 visitors every year. We have also carried out on-going research and this has shown that our forest management creates ideal habitat for the capercaillie. These efforts appear to be working because the birds have shown a spectacular increase. In our view, this clearly indicates that caper can prosper in well managed, working forests.  The key seems to be that thinning the forest to extract timber creates ideal habitat for capercaillie chicks, because breeding success has been high by contemporary standards.” 


New landmark with 200 communities now approving Neighbourhood Plans - Department for Communities and Local Government 

Neighbourhood planners (Department for Communities and Local Government)Neighbourhood Plans break through the 200 mark following strong support.

Neighbourhood planners (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Neighbourhood Plans have broken through the 200 mark following strong support for local plans in 3 referendums in Herefordshire.

This is on top of more than 1,900 communities across England - covering nearly 10 million people - that have now also started to get their own plans in place.

The plans give local people a say in the development of their area, including where homes, schools and businesses should be built, how they should look and what infrastructure is needed to support them.


Scavenger crows provide public service, research shows - University of Exeter

Crows are performing a useful function and keeping our environment free from rotting carcasses, research carried out at the University of Exeter in Cornwall has discovered.The researchers observed and filmed 17 vertebrate species. Image courtesy of Dr Richard Inger.

The researchers observed and filmed 17 vertebrate species. Image courtesy of Dr Richard Inger.

Using motion activated cameras in and around Falmouth and the University’s Penryn Campus, Cornwall, ecologists observed what happened to experimental rat carcasses which they placed under view.

The researchers found that most of the carcass removal ecosystem service – which has been well studied in more natural and exotic habitats, such as vultures in Africa – is being carried out by crows, with a little help from foxes, magpies, badgers and herring gulls.

Dr Richard Inger, a researcher attached to the Environment and Sustainability Institute at Penryn Campus, said: “If you consider all the wildlife that lives in the habitats in our towns and countryside, it might seem odd that we rarely see dead animals, apart from roadkill. This is because other animals act as scavengers and eat them.


Invasive 'super ant' species taking hold in the UK - NERC

An invasion of Asian 'super ants' is taking hold faster than ever in the UK, new research has found.

Asian 'super ant' attacking an aphid on a leaf (NERC)Asian 'super ant' attacking an aphid on a leaf (NERC)

Three new infestations of an invasive garden ant - first discovered here in 2010 and known for building massive colonies of tens of thousands of insects - have been found in the UK this year alone. Researchers believe there are many more sites yet to be uncovered.

There are now a total of six known UK infestations of the Lasius neglectus which thrive in green houses and domestic gardens, and are likely to have arrived in the UK through the import of exotic plants.

The ants pose no threat to humans but alien species are capable of dramatically altering ecosystems and can drive native species to extinction. It is estimated that invasive species cost the UK £1·7billion every year through damage and management costs.

But Dr Elva Robinson at the University of York believes the true cost of the new species' impact on biodiversity could be much higher. Since 2014, Robinson has been working alongside PhD student Phillip Buckham-Bonnett to establish the extent of the invasion in the UK.

Her work has formed the basis of a Rapid Risk Assessment submitted to the government's Animal & Plant Health Agency in June. It shows an increase in the rate of new 'super ant' discoveries, offering recommendations for management on a national scale and could inform decision-making on UK biosecurity.


Bug brother is watching you - NERC

Gryllus campestris (NERC)Gryllus campestris (NERC)

Scientists have spent several years filming a field of crickets in Spain with more than 140 digital video cameras to find out more about what makes them tick.

Now they're looking for help from the public in dealing with all that footage. If you want to get involved with real science that will shed new light on how insects really behave on their home turf, here's your chance.

"Our aim is to understand what insects really get up to in the wild, and to use them to understand larger questions about biological variation, ageing and a host of other questions," says Professor Tom Tregenza of the University of Exeter, the Wild Crickets project's leader.

Tregenza hopes the results will be relevant to much bigger questions than those around cricket behaviour - everything from how ageing affects wild animals to exactly how males' musical talents help attract female partners.


New report provides authoritative scientific assessment of climate change risks to UK – Committee on Climate Change

image: Committee on Climate ChangeClimate change is happening now. Globally, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in the UK, and urgent action is required to address climate-related risks, the CCC’s Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) says today.

The ASC’s new independent report to Government, ‘UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report’ sets out the most urgent risks and opportunities arising for the UK from climate change.

The report is the result of more than three years of work involving hundreds of leading scientists and experts from the public and private sectors and civil society. The risk assessment has been peer reviewed by UK and international specialists.

Changes to the UK climate are likely to include periods of too much or too little water, increasing average and extreme temperatures, and sea level rise.

Read the report here


Our greenways guide is first in UK - Sustrans

The Greenway management handbook helps make paths corridors for wildlife too (Sustrans)We're excited to announce that we've published our Greenway management handbook - the UK’s first ever guide on how to manage traffic free cycle and walking routes or ‘greenways’ for both people and wildlife.

The Greenway management handbook helps make paths corridors for wildlife too (Sustrans)

The handbook is based on our 20 years of experience managing the National Cycle Network and provides an introduction to maintaining hard and soft infrastructure along greenways, with advice about to improve the management of routes to create wildlife corridors too.

The guide is for local authorities, professional land managers and volunteers. The guide is for anyone who manages linear land, including cycle paths, bridleways, towpaths, disused railway corridors and forest roads.


Golf course could push one of Scotland’s rarest species close to extinction - Buglife

Plans for a 236 hectare golf course near the Dornoch Firth in the Scottish Highlands could put one of Scotland’s rarest species at threat of extinction.

Dornoch Sands September 2013((c) Craig Macadam)Dornoch Sands September 2013((c) Craig Macadam)

Fonseca’s seed fly is restricted globally to a short stretch of coast in northern Scotland it is known from adjacent sites to the development site. The habitat within the proposed golf course is similar so the inference is that the fly should be there too.  Its population is perilously small and is thought to be closely associated with Ragwort, Sow-thistle and the sand dune systems found in this area. Stabilisation of the dunes and creation of fairways and greens for the proposed golf course will destroy the habitat for the species and further fragment the already fragile population.

Craig Macadam, Conservation Director at Buglife said ‘Fonseca’s seed fly is an endemic species extremely vulnerable to extinction.  Recent survey work by Scottish Natural Heritage found that populations have dropped significantly since the 70s and 80s; further loss of habitat to development will make it even harder for this rare species to survive.’ 


Good planning essential for improving health of Scotland’s seas – Scottish Environment Link

Charlie Phillips/WDCCharlie Phillips/WDC

Scotland’s planning system must be directed to improve the health of our marine environment, according to a new report published today by Scottish Environment LINK’s Marine Group. ‘Living with the seas’ outlines a far-sighted vision for delivering sustainable development of Scotland’s sea area and securing environmental recovery from decades of decline. The report makes a series of recommendations that include the need for marine planning to:

  1. Plan for recovery: our seas are at risk of poorly-coordinated development. Plans must seek opportunities to recover our damaged marine environment. If the planning system is directed to enhancing the health of our marine environment using the ‘ecosystem approach’, our seas will become more productive.
  2. Help empower communities: the process of developing and delivering regional marine plans must be transparent and accessible to coastal communities and all stakeholders to ensure local knowledge contributes to the decision-making process.
  3. Receive adequate funding at regional level: regional marine planning partnerships must be adequately resourced to deliver effective regional marine plans.


Tagging unlocks the secret lives of St Ives’ gulls - BTO

A newly-published paper in Ringing & Migration, the journal of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Ringing Scheme, explains how state-of-the art GPS tags have unlocked the secrets of four Herring Gulls nesting on the rooftops of St Ives, Cornwall, a seaside resort where gulls can be unpopular with residents and visitors alike during the summer months. Two male and two female birds were captured and fitted with GPS backpack tags while they incubated their eggs on a cinema, supermarket and local restaurants. This allowed their movements to be tracked throughout the summer of 2014. 

Herring Gull by John Harding/BTOHerring Gull by John Harding/BTO

As many urban-dwellers know, large gulls have increasingly been nesting and feeding in towns and cities in recent decades. This has brought them into conflict with many people, who dislike the noise and mess associated with gulls, not to mention the threat of having their ice creams and chips stolen. The results from the GPS tags revealed huge variation in the movements and feeding habits of the four individuals tracked, but showed that none of them spent much time in the streets of St Ives, suggesting they did not habitually feed on food waste or snatch ice creams. Instead, two birds were true “seagulls”, spending much of their time more than 30km out to sea, whereas the remaining two rarely went more than 1km from the shore. All birds visited farms close to St Ives, where their movements indicated that they apparently followed a plough or a harvester.

Peter Rock, lead author of the study said, “We have two populations of the large gulls in UK – the rural and the urban. We know a great deal about rural gulls, but because they have been under-studied, our knowledge of urban gulls is nowhere near as good as it should be. In view of the bad press surrounding urban gulls, it’s a situation that must change and this small study points the way.”

Access the paper: Rock, P., Camphuysen, C.J., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Ross-Smith, V.H. & Vaughan, I.P. (2016) Results from the first GPS tracking of roof-nesting Herring Gulls Larus argentatus in the UK. Ringing & Migration 31, 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/03078698.2016.1197698


Solar panels study reveals impact on the earth - Lancaster University 

Researchers have produced the first detailed study of the impact of solar parks on the environment, opening the door to smarter forms of farming and better land management.

Environmental Scientists at Lancaster University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology monitored a large solar park, near Swindon, for a year.

They found that solar parks altered the local climate, measuring cooling of as much as 5 degrees Centigrade under the panels during the summer but the effects varied depending on the time of year and the time of day.  As climate controls biological processes, such as plant growth rates, this is really important information and can help understand how best to manage  solar parks so they have environmental benefits in addition to supplying low carbon energy.

Dr Alona Armstrong, of Lancaster University, said the new study raises some key questions for the future. She said: “Solar parks are appearing in our landscapes but we are uncertain how they will affect the local environment. This is particularly important as solar parks take up more space per unit of power generated compared with traditional sources. This has implications for ecosystems and the provision of goods, for example crops, and services, such as soil carbon storage. But until this study we didn’t understand how solar parks impacted climate and ecosystems.”

The authors of the study say understanding the climate effects of solar parks will give farmers and land managers the knowledge they need to choose which crops to grow and how best to manage the land; there is potential to maximise biodiversity and improve yields.

Dr Armstrong added: “This understanding becomes even more compelling when applied to areas that are very sunny that may also suffer water shortages. The shade under the panels may allow crops to be grown that can’t survive in full sun.  Also, water losses may be reduced and water could be collected from the large surfaces of the solar panels and used for crop irrigation.” 

Access the paper: Alona Armstrong, Nicholas J Ostle and Jeanette Whitaker. Solar park microclimate and vegetation management effects on grassland carbon cycling. Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 7


New research provides evidence that wild flower campaign brings communities together across the UK - Forest Research

Grow Wild, the UK’s biggest ever wild flower campaign, has been bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life to create positive, lasting change in their community, according to research.

The research, conducted by Forest Research, shows the impact that the Grow Wild has made all over the UK, boosting community co-operation and inspiring people to do something positive for nature where they live. Grow Wild’s achievements have also earned it a place as a finalist for this year’s National Lottery Awards, where the public will vote for their favourite lottery-funded project.

To date, 3 million people have been involved from inner cities to the farthest reaches of the Scottish Highlands, sowing enough Grow Wild seeds to cover 3.7 million square metres. That’s enough to create a metre-wide path of wild flowers all the way from Land’s End to John o’ Groats… almost four times.

66,000 people took part in the Forest Research’s online survey after receiving a free packet of seeds from Grow Wild; 73% said they felt connected to something bigger, 61% spent time with their families, sowing seeds together, and 79% felt a greater sense of responsibility for native wildlife. As a result of receiving  the Grow Wild seed kits, 87% of people felt their group learned about wild flowers and 22% went on to do something more for their community, like setting up a project or an event.

You can find out more about Forest Research’s evaluation of Grow Wild here.

Find out more about Grow Wild here.


England’s largest outdoor learning project reveals children more motivated to learn when outside - Natural England

The Natural Connections Demonstration project has published new evidence on the benefits of outdoor learning to pupils, teachers and schools.

Children from 125 schools across the South West of England are happier, healthier and more motivated to learn thanks to a new project commissioned by Natural England that has turned the outdoors into a classroom and helped schools transform ways of teaching.

A class of children enjoy taking part in an outdoors learning session near their school © Natural ConnectionsA class of children enjoy taking part in an outdoors learning session near their school © Natural Connections

The findings have been released today by the Natural Connections Demonstration project, a 4-year initiative to help school children – particularly those from disadvantaged areas – experience the benefits of the natural environment by empowering teachers to use the outdoors to support everyday learning.

The project, which is funded by Natural England, Defra and Historic England and delivered by Plymouth University, is the largest project of its kind in England and has already helped more than 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils get out of their classrooms and into the outdoors – whether that’s a maths lesson in a local park or drama out on the school field.

For the first time, the Natural Connections project provides strong evidence that learning outdoors has multiple benefits for school children. 92 per cent of teachers surveyed said that pupils were more engaged with learning when outdoors and 85 per cent saw a positive impact on their behaviour.  The majority of children also thought they learned better and achieved more when learning outside. 92 per cent of pupils involved in the project said they enjoyed their lessons more when outdoors, with 90 per cent feeling happier and healthier as a result. The project has found taking lessons outside can help motivate teachers, with 79 per cent of teachers reporting positive impacts on their teaching practice. Almost 70 per cent of teachers said that outdoor learning has had a positive impact on their job satisfaction and 72 per cent reported improved health and wellbeing.

Access the report in full here.


Breaking news on Thursday afternoon: new Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (defra) announced as Andrea Leadsom and Greg Clarke is the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy Secretary, This is a newly named department, which has now acquired responsibility for energy. Previously there was the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Reactions from the main organisations will follow over the coming days. 


Reactions to new Secretary of State appointments.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Statement from Greg Clark following his appointment as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark, said: I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.


Friends of the Earth: Concern as May scraps Department of Climate Change - Friends of the Earth CEO Craig Bennett said: “This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face." And Reacting to Andrea Leadsom’s appointment as DEFRA secretary, he said: "Whatever the outcome of EU negotiations Andrea Leadsom must defend and extend existing nature protections - an early test will be ruling-out the return of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides that are currently banned by the EU."


BASC congratulates Andrea Leadsom on new role

BASC has said it is looking forward to working with new Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom to represent the interests of shooting. 


RSPB: An open letter to the new Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom MP from Martin Harper

Dear Secretary of State,

Welcome to the best job in Whitehall. 

People love the landscapes and wildlife of this country but nature is in trouble: one in ten UK species are at risk of extinction and the pressures are growing. 

You have the opportunity and responsibility to do something about it by fulfilling the Conservative Party manifesto commitment “to restore UK biodiversity within 25 years”. 

We appreciate you will arrive to a big “to do list”, so here are our suggestions for what you might want to achieve within your first week, your first month and by Christmas. 


Brexit Government urged to take control of food, farming and fisheries for public good - The Wildlife Trusts 

peacock butterfly image © Bob Coyle via Wildlife Trustspeacock butterfly image © Bob Coyle via Wildlife Trusts

Over 80 organisations have signed a letter to David Davies and Theresa May to stress the important implications of Brexit on food and farming. With many of the UK’s food and farming policies and subsidies being defined at EU level, the UK government now has an opportunity to reshape these to ensure that taxpayers money is spent for public good.  Organisations representing the health and long-term interests of millions of British citizens have called on government to adopt common-sense food, farming and fishing policies that are good for jobs, health and the environment, when they plan for the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Concerns are expressed in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, and David Davis MP the Minister currently overseeing a new Unit advising the Government and PM on the post EU Referendum strategy. The letter, co-signed by over 80 food, farming, fair trade, poverty, animal welfare, wildlife, health and environmental organisations, argues that good food, farming and fishing policies must be central to any post EU Referendum strategy for the UK.
The organisations point out that better food, farming and trade policies can help to cut greenhouse gas emissions from farming and food industries by 80% by 2050, and promote healthier diets to combat heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and obesity, saving the NHS, and ultimately taxpayers millions. Such policies can also support a vibrant and diverse economy, supporting good jobs and working conditions, in the UK and overseas. Further, the UK could prioritise ethical and sustainable production methods, improved animal welfare, more farmland and marine wildlife, a healthy future for bees and other pollinators, as well as enhancing the beauty of the countryside and protecting the environment, whilst also providing a safe and traceable food supply. 

The signatory organisations also ask David Davis MP to ensure that the advice the new unit provides to government is drawn up in consultation with people with science, health and sustainability expertise in relation to food, farming and fishing, alongside economic concerns. Further, the signatory organisations urge that food, farming and fishing make up one of the Options Papers being developed by the unit, to advise the PM and government. 

Read the letter in full (PDF)


Now on with the rest of Friday's news: 

Attenborough 'soggy summer risk to UK butterflies' - Butterfly Conservation

Sir David Attenborough launching the Big Butterfly Count (image: Butterfly Conservation)Sir David Attenborough launching the Big Butterfly Count (image: Butterfly Conservation)

Sir David Attenborough is warning that this year’s slow spring and soggy summer could pose a risk to the UK’s common butterflies.

Urging the public to take part in this year’s Big Butterfly Count, Sir David said that people’s sightings were vital in order to chart the effects of the poor weather conditions.

Cold, wet weather can have a disastrous effect on butterfly numbers as the conditions reduce their opportunity to feed and mate.

This year butterflies have endured a slow start to spring with cold conditions experienced during March and snow falling widely well into April, which was colder than average.  Despite a few warm weeks in May, June was a washout for many parts of the UK with sightings of butterflies down on previous years.

This year’s soggy weather follows on from last year’s colder than average summer, meaning a sustained spell of warm and dry weather is much needed to help our common butterfly species mount a recovery.

Butterfly Conservation President, Sir David Attenborough said: “Last year’s wet and cold summer made life difficult for many of our butterflies and coupled with this year’s late spring our Red Admirals, Small Coppers, Green-veined Whites and Speckled Woods really need a boost of warm summer weather to enable them to thrive.  During my lifetime I have seen at first-hand how the UK’s once plentiful butterflies have dwindled and diminished with some species even becoming extinct. This is a gloomy outlook but not one that is set in stone. We must make sure these losses are halted and reversed but in order to achieve this we first need to find out as much information about our butterflies as possible"


Love Parks Week: £30.7m National Lottery investment for 16 parks - Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund have awarded more than £30.7million to 16 UK parks, it was announced today, 15 July.

Coastal, country and city parks from Aberdeen to Dorset will be restored and transformed. Improvements for wildlife, opportunities for people and sustainable futures for parks are key themes of the projects.  The news comes at the start of Love Parks Week and ahead of HLF’s second report on the current state of UK public parks, due to be published in September 2016.

In June 2014, the first State of UK Public Parks report found that declining resources and rising maintenance costs were putting our parks at risk. At the same time, parks were becoming increasingly important to people and communities.  It found that communities are beginning to take on a greater role in parks and that innovative ways of funding need to be found – matters at the heart of many of the projects being funded today.  During the projects receiving funding today, more than 6,000 volunteers and trainees will be involved in everything from archaeological excavations and river clean ups to prevent flooding, to gaining a qualification in woodland management or becoming a horticultural apprentice.    Cafes, sports facilities and rental space for small businesses and community groups are some of the areas being explored for generating income. Many of these parks are also looking to dedicated friends groups, trained volunteers and apprentice schemes to play a key part in the future maintenance of sites.

HLF’s Chair Sir Peter Luff, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund, said: “It’s clear that our parks are important to us in countless ways – from physical and mental wellbeing to a connection with nature and our heritage. It’s also clear however that public parks must work in new ways to respond to the funding challenges they face and this investment, thanks to National Lottery players, will help them to do this.  We’re delighted to announce this funding today, especially in time for the tenth Love Parks Week, and look forward to a bright future for these parks.”


Biodiversity falls below ‘safe levels’ globally - University College London

Levels of global biodiversity loss may negatively impact on ecosystem function and the sustainability of human societies, according to UCL-led research.

Hotspot biodiversity safe limits (credit: Tim Newbold, UCL)Hotspot biodiversity safe limits (credit: Tim Newbold, UCL)

 “This is the first time we’ve quantified the effect of habitat loss on biodiversity globally in such detail and we’ve found that across most of the world biodiversity loss is no longer within the safe limit suggested by ecologists” explained lead researcher, Dr Tim Newbold from UCL and previously at UNEP-WCMC.  “We know biodiversity loss affects ecosystem function but how it does this is not entirely clear. What we do know is that in many parts of the world, we are approaching a situation where human intervention might be needed to sustain ecosystem function.”

The team found that grasslands, savannas and shrublands were most affected by biodiversity loss, followed closely by many of the world’s forests and woodlands. They say the ability of biodiversity in these areas to support key ecosystem functions such as growth of living organisms and nutrient cycling has become increasingly uncertain.

The study, published in Science, led by researchers from UCL, the Natural History Museum and UNEP-WCMC, found that levels of biodiversity loss are so high that if left unchecked, they could undermine efforts towards long-term sustainable development.

Access the paper: Tim Newbold et al, Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science  15 Jul 2016: Vol. 353, Issue 6296, pp. 288-291 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2201  


Nature needs to be put at the heart of natural capital - Cambridge Conservation Initiative

Nature needs to be put at the heart of natural capital – that’s the conclusion from a new report published by a partnership of leading conservation and research organisations. 

The paper, put together by members of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), sets out how biodiversity is central to the natural capital framework and yet its values are often overlooked by businesses looking to understand and mitigate their environmental impact.

Biodiversity, the variety of plant and animal life in the world, is a fundamental component of natural capital, and influences almost all the products we use, from food to footwear.

One of the report’s lead authors, Thomas Maddox from Fauna & Flora International, said: “Biodiversity is essential to everyday life, it boosts ecosystem productivity and underpins most of the services that we all use and value on a daily basis. It is frequently listed as one of many concerns in natural capital assessments, alongside greenhouse gas emissions or water consumption; however its importance is often missed by businesses, which means that their impacts on biodiversity and their dependency upon it is overlooked.”

The paper explains the reasons why nature is often missed or hidden in natural capital assessments, as well as setting four positive steps that can be taken to better reflect these values in decision-making

Access the report here 




Scientific publications

Dorado-Correa, A. M., Rodríguez-Rocha, M. & Brumm, H. (2016) Anthropogenic noise, but not artificial light levels predicts song behaviour in an equatorial bird. Open Science. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160231


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