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


Two men fined for killing wild birds – Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (via National Wildlife Crime Unit)

Two men, aged 31 and 26 years-old, have been fined for killing an Oystercatcher and a Gull in two separate wildlife crime incidents last year.
Alan Rennie and Barry Shaw, both from Edinburgh, were fined £1000 and £500 respectively after pleading guilty to two charges under Section 1(1)(a) under to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 25 January.
The court heard that on the evening of 26th April 2016 at an address around Edinburgh Park, Barry Shaw was seen getting out of a black Volkswagen Golf belonging to Alan Rennie and chase a gull, repeatedly  firing a slingshot at it, causing it injury and leaving it unable to fly. Shaw was seen to stand on the head of the seagull before picking it up and placing it in the car before driving off. On 15th June 2016, a slingshot was fired from the passenger window of the same black car. Alan Rennie then left the car from the driver’s side and headed in the direction of where the sling shot had been fired. Rennie came back to the car holding the Oystercatcher round the neck and began to swing the bird round by the neck.
Following searches carried out at the accuseds’ home addresses, Police Scotland recovered ball bearings, slingshots and a frozen Oystercatcher. 


44 Invading species loose in the North Atlantic – Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Accidental introductions of non-native species has been of increasing concern since the 1980s when human-mediated transportation, mainly related to ships' ballast water, was recognized as a major route by which species are transported and spread.

A review just published by PML Applications Ltd (the wholly-owned subsidiary of Plymouth Marine Laboratory, PML) and the University of Plymouth, brings together and updates evidence on invasive species for the NE and SW Atlantic Ocean, in order to assess the risk represented by the shipping trade between these two regions.
The study found that the pathways most frequently recorded as transporting invasive species are ballast water and biofouling for both regions, while aquaculture has also been a very significant route of introduction and spread of invasive species in the NE Atlantic. It also established that the number of non-native species that have become invasive with high ecological impacts are 44 in the NE Atlantic and 15 in the less well studied south-western Atlantic.
Cecilia de Castro, lead author of the review, commented: “This study comes at a pertinent time, providing further evidence to highlight the importance of the IMO Ballast Water Convention, which has recently reached 53 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage and will enter into force on 8/09/2017. Though countries such as the UK have yet to sign up, the convention remains a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can damage biodiversity and local ecosystems, as well as potential economic problems.”
Non-native species are a crucial issue that needs to be addressed to raise general awareness and publicity, alongside scientific surveys and monitoring, improved data availability, regulations, management tools, risk assessment, stakeholders' commitment, enforcement, best practices and constant surveillance.

Access the paper: Maria Cecilia T. de Castro, Timothy W. Fileman, Jason M Hall-Spencer, Invasive species in the Northeastern and Southwestern Atlantic Ocean: A review, Marine Pollution Bulletin DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.12.048. 


Gull decline on Scottish island linked to decline in fishing discards – BTO

Latest research, just published, shows a population of large gulls in Scotland failed to thrive as the fish catch landed by the local fishing fleet fell.

Between 1985 and 2000 an annual average of 13,726 tonnes of fish was landed in Mallaig. However, between 2007 and 2014 this had fallen to 4,456 tonnes. This has apparently had a profound effect on the Canna gull population. The number of breeding pairs of Herring Gulls peaked at 1,525 in 1988, Great Black-backed Gulls reached 90 pairs around the same time and the highest number of Lesser Black-backed Lesser Black-backed Gull (Tom Bickerton)Gulls was recorded at 63 pairs. 

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Tom Bickerton)
At the latest count around 130 pairs of gulls bred on Canna in total, comprising of up to 95 pairs of Herring Gulls, 18 pairs of Great Black-backed Gulls and 13 pairs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This population decline has also been associated with low breeding success, with only a small number of chicks successfully fledging in more recent years.
Simon Foster, lead author on the paper, said: “The Canna seabird study is one of the longest running annual studies in the world.  It is an enormous privilege to be part of the team of highly skilled, dedicated volunteers who have been collecting the data for over 48 years.  This has allowed us to track the changing fortunes of seabirds. The gull data are interesting – if you look over a short time period you can see large changes, however over a longer period and using anecdotal information from the 1930s it becomes apparent that Canna gulls may be returning to more normal, albeit lower levels.” 


Christmas trees protect all coastal homes – Lancashire Wildlife Trust

Inhabitants of the Fylde Coast will be getting their annual late Chirstmas present – which protects their homes.

Recycled Christmas trees will be buried along the sands dunes at Lytham and St Anne’s, to create new dunes and a barrier against the forces of nature.

Working on the Christmas tree project (Alan Wright) Volunteers have been involved in this event for the past four years and the results of previous years’ planting are there for visitors.

Working on the Christmas tree project (Alan Wright)

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Fylde Sand Dunes Project Officer Amy Pennington said: “The annual Christmas tree planting event occurs every year, and is a three-day event. This year it is taking place on Tuesday February 7, Wednesday the 8th and Thursday the 9th. All ages and capabilities are welcome - there's something for everyone. Last year we had over 1,000 Christmas trees kindly donated by local residents and businesses, this year we hope to collect many more.”

The project is carried out by staff from Fylde Council and the Wildlife Trust and local volunteers. This year’s event comes after the good news that the Environment Agency have supplying five more years of funding for the Dunes Project.


Lost in translation: traffic noise disrupts communication between species – University of Bristol

Research by scientists at the University of Bristol has found that man-made noise can hinder the response of animals to the warning signals given by other species, putting them at greater risk of death from predators.

Many animals are known to eavesdrop on the alarm calls of other species, effectively translating a foreign language to gather valuable information about the presence of predators. Using field-based experiments in South Africa, the researchers from the University's School of Mongooses group foraging (Hayley Muir)Biological Sciences, demonstrated that traffic noise reduces the likelihood of dwarf mongooses fleeing to the warning signals uttered by tree squirrels.

Mongooses group foraging (Hayley Muir)

Lead author Amy Morris-Drake said: "The lack of an appropriate escape response could result from noise-induced distraction or stress. Alternatively, noisy conditions could partially mask the tree squirrel vocalisations, making it harder for the dwarf mongooses to extract the relevant information."

Co-lead author Anna Bracken added: "While lots of work has focussed on whether animals can adjust their vocalisations to avoid the effects of masking, it is often difficult to determine what that might mean for survival. By looking at responses to alarm calls, there is a direct link to survival; a lack of response could result in death."

Access the paper: ‘Anthropogenic noise alters dwarf mongoose responses to heterospecific alarm calls’ by Amy Morris-Drake, Anna Bracken, Julie M. Kern and Andrew N. Radford in Environmental Pollution. 


Role of terrestrial biosphere in counteracting climate change may have been underestimated – University of Birmingham

New research suggests that the capacity of the terrestrial biosphere to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) may have been underestimated in past calculations due to certain land-use changes not being fully taken into account.

It is widely known that the terrestrial biosphere (the collective term for all the world’s land vegetation, soil, etc.) is an important factor in mitigating climate change, as it absorbs around 20% of all fossil fuel CO2 emissions. However, its role as a net carbon sink is affected by land-use changes such as deforestation and expanded agricultural practice.

A new study, conducted by an international collaboration of scientists and published in the journal Nature Geoscience, has analysed the extent to which these changing land-use practices affect carbon emissions – allowing the levels of CO2 uptake by the terrestrial biosphere to be more accurately predicted.

The results not only show that CO2 emissions from changing land-use practices are likely to be significantly higher than previously thought, but also imply that these emissions are compensated for by a higher rate of carbon uptake among terrestrial ecosystems.

Co-author of the study, Dr Tom Pugh from the University of Birmingham, says: ‘Our work shows that the terrestrial biosphere might have greater potential than previously thought to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon emissions from fossil fuels. However, to fully realise this potential we will have to ensure that the significant emissions resulting from land-use changes are reduced as much as possible.’

Access the paper: Arneth et al. (2017) 'Historical carbon dioxide emissions caused by land-use changes are possibly larger than assumed' Nature Geoscience DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2882


Extra protection for Wales’ sea birds and harbour porpoise approved – Welsh Government

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has taken steps to strengthen the protection for sea birds and harbour porpoise in Wales.

Following a consultation last year for new Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) for harbour porpoise, the Cabinet Secretary has approved three areas. These have now been submitted to the European Commission for consideration.
The three areas are North Anglesey Marine, West Wales Marine and the Bristol Channel Approaches. The areas have been identified based on 18 years of data on harbour porpoise distribution and have been identified as important, having persistently higher densities of harbour porpoise compared to other areas. The SACs will complement existing conservation measures in place throughout UK waters to help maintain the favourable status of the species.
The Cabinet Secretary has also approved three additional marine areas as Special Protection Areas.  These include Northern Cardigan Bay which is home to the wintering red throated diver and an extension to two important seabird breeding areas, Ynys Feurig, Cemlyn Bay and Skokholm and Skomer, to include areas which are vitally important to preening and other behaviours during the birds’ breeding season.  


New UK marine protected sites for harbour porpoise submitted to Europe – JNCC

As part of the UKs commitment to implementation of the EU Habitats Directive and development of the Natura 2000 network, five harbour porpoise Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), proposed and consulted on in 2016 (see map), have been approved by relevant UK Governments. These sites were submitted to the European Commission (EC) on Monday 30 January 2017 and are now considered to be candidate SACs (cSAC), pending EC approval. 

The submitted cSACs have been identified based on analysis of 18 years of comprehensive data on harbour porpoise distribution. These areas were identified as important, having persistently higher densities of harbour porpoise compared to other areas, and will complement existing conservation measures in place throughout UK waters for whales and dolphins. 

Reaction: New UK marine protected sites for harbour porpoises submitted to Europe! – Whale & Dolphin Conservation 


Natural England backs hedges and boundaries for wildlife and people – Natural England

We are inviting applications for the Countryside Stewardship hedgerows and boundaries grant which opens on 1 February 2017.

Limestone dry stone wall, Orton Fells, Cumbria © Simon Warner/Natural EnglandLimestone dry stone wall, Orton Fells, Cumbria © Simon Warner/Natural England

The hedgerows and boundaries grant, individually worth up to £5,000, is designed to help farmers and other land managers improve important farmland boundaries. The application window for the £5 million scheme closes on 28 April. Farmers can apply for a one-off grant towards the restoration of a range of traditional boundaries including hedgerows, dry stone walls, stone-faced banks and earth banks. Nearly 800 applicants were successful last year.

Guy Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of Natural England, said: "Hedgerows, dry stone walls and earth banks are a quintessential part of the English countryside. Not only do they perform a vital agricultural role in protecting crops and livestock from the elements, they help support a variety of wildlife. Increasingly farmland boundaries also play a major role in preventing soil loss as well as reducing pollution and flooding. I’m pleased that this grant will help to support these traditional boundaries and the wider benefits that they bring."

Access the defra guidance: Countryside Stewardship: hedgerows and boundaries grant manual 2017

For more grants and details of available funding (not just government or landscape) click here.


Environmental charities receive over £1.5 million from businesses which broke environmental laws – Environment Agency

Charities will receive more than £1.5 million for projects benefitting wildlife and the environment as a result of enforcement action by the Environment Agency, it was announced.

Companies which broke environmental laws - either by polluting rivers, breaching permit conditions designed to protect communities or avoiding recycling – have agreed to make payments to a range of charities and have pledged to make improvements to avoid future offences.

30 charities and projects will benefit from the bumper pay-out of £1,564,761.09. The money will be spent by local groups on projects that will make a direct positive impact on the environment. Stretches of rivers will be cleaned up, native species will be restocked into rivers and communities groups will invest in parkland for everyone to enjoy.  There are 26 Enforcement Undertakings on the new list with payments ranging from £1,500 - £375,000, including 6 companies that have agreed to make 6 figure payment

As well as making a suitable payment to an appropriate environmental charity, each company has accepted liability, demonstrated restoration of harm and invested to reduce the risk of similar breaches occurring in future.

The list of enforcement undertakings is published here. 


Welsh Beaver Project – North Wales Wildlife Trust

After an absence of over 500 years, a reintroduction of beavers to the wild in Wales finally looks set to become a reality this summer.

Since 2005 the Welsh Beaver Project, led by the Wildlife Trusts in Wales and managed from North Wales Wildlife Trust, has been investigating the feasibility of reintroducing beavers back to Wales for the many benefits they bring to wildlife, the environment and the economy.

With funding from People’s Postcode Lottery we have been able to employ a full-time project officer, Alicia Leow-Dyke, based at Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, to progress the project. Working with a partner organisation, a licence application has been submitted to Natural Resources Wales for a release of beavers into a small catchment in South Wales during summer 2017. We are also investigating releasing beavers at sites in North Wales where they would be enclosed and used as a management tool to assist with habitat restoration and maintenance. 

Find out more about the project here.


Whiskers help dormice navigate shrinking habitats, research shows – Manchester Metropolitan University

Gaps in habitats need to be filled to help the endangered species

The existence of the UK's endangered Hazel dormouse is under threat as gaps in tree canopies are leaving the creatures unable to use their hypersensitive whiskers to naturally cross between habitats, a new study reveals.

Dormouse (image: MMU)Dormouse (image: MMU)

Dr Robyn Grant, Lecturer in Environmental Physiology and Behaviour, monitored and recorded high-speed videos of dormice and their whisker movements using a camera that captures 500 frames per second.  The videos captured dormice walking on a flat surface, a sloped surface, exploring a gap, crossing a gap, jumping and exploring freely in flat and climbing arenas in near darkness using infrared light illumination.  Gaps in the tree canopy proved to be a major problem for the dormice meaning that gaps in their habitats need to be connected in order to help preserve numbers. Building hedgerows, habitat corridors and dormouse bridges is critical to this species’ survival. 

The footage revealed that dormice actively and purposefully move their whiskers to gather relevant information from their canopy at night.  Carried out at the Wildwood Trust in Kent, the research into the endangered species published in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A, shows that dormice use active whisker sensing.  Like other rodents, dormice move their whiskers back and forth continuously in a motion called ‘whisking’ to navigate small gaps and to explore their environment.

Click through to view video Footage of the dormice captured during the research

Access the paper: Whisker touch guides canopy exploration in a nocturnal, arboreal rodent, the Hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius). Authors: Kendra Arkley, Guuske P. Tiktak, Vicki Breakell, Tony J. Prescott, Robyn A. Grant. J Comp Physiol A (2017). doi:10.1007/s00359-017-1146-z

Will it be more than 'nul points' in Tree Eurovision? – The Woodland Trust

The UK desperately needs to find a leafy Lulu or a woody Bucks Fizz after scoring little more than ‘nil points’ in the tree equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The four UK nominees for European Tree of the Year (Photo: WTML)The four UK nominees for European Tree of the Year (Photo: WTML)

The Woodland Trust is calling on tree lovers throughout the UK to improve our appalling record in the European Tree of the Year contest, as this year’s four entries take their place alongside 12 other trees from across the continent as voting gets underway on 1 February.

The four UK entries as voted for by the public, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, are the Sycamore Gap tree for England, Brimmon Oak in Wales, Ding Dong tree in Scotland and Holm Oak in Northern Ireland.

In the last two years UK trees have performed more like Electro Velvet than Brotherhood of Man, finishing sixth at best and usually with far fewer votes than their continental counterparts.

Run by the Environmental Partnership Association, the voting mechanism is straightforward – the tree with the most public votes at the end of February will win.


Bird lovers help scientists discover secrets of beak evolution – University of Sheffield

  • Scans were logged online by members of the public across the world
  • Data shows new information about the evolution of bird beaks

Citizen scientists and bird lovers across the world have helped researchers to uncover new secrets about the evolution of birds' beaks over time in a ground-breaking study.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield asked the public to help measure beak shapes from more than 2,000 bird species which have been 3D scanned from specimens at the Natural History Museum and the Manchester Museum.Using the crowdsourced data, the team were able show that the diversity of bird beaks expanded early in their evolutionary history. The most unusual beak shapes often involved periods of exceptionally fast evolutionary change.

However, once extremes are reached, the changes to bird beaks over time became much smaller as birds filled ever-narrower evolutionary niches.

There are some examples - such as birds who have evolved in comparative isolation on remote islands such as the Galapagos and the Hawaiian archipelago - who have continued to evolve rapidly.

Gavin Thomas, the project lead from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, said: “The shape of a bird’s beak is an important indicator of the food it eats and the way it forages - its ecological niche. This project has given us key insight into how evolutionary processes play out over millions of years - with major bursts of evolution as new groups emerge, and more fine scale changes thereafter. With the efforts of our volunteers from across the world, the study has given us a unique new data set for the study of bird ecology and evolution.”

Access the paper. Christopher R. Cooney, et al Mega-evolutionary dynamics of the adaptive radiation of birds. Nature (2017) doi:10.1038/nature21074 


Reconomics Plus launched to champion outdoor recreation – Sports and Recreation Alliance

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has launched Reconomics Plus, an online resource designed to help our members and the wider sector champion the value of outdoor recreation to the economy, our health and to creating strong, vibrant local communities. 

Reconomics Plus has been produced as a toolkit to help enable members and the wider sector to demonstrate the substantial impact of outdoor recreation. It is hoped that the resource will give members the ammunition to inform conversations with key decisions makers at a national and local level.  

The new resource brings together the latest research and statistics to highlight the contribution of outdoor recreation in England. Produced in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, Reconomics Plus also reviews evidence on how outdoor recreation can play a role in improving the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.  

Reconomics Plus follows on from Reconomics which was launched in 2014 and was the first report of its kind to set out the economic value of outdoor recreation. It is hoped that Reconomics Plus will build on the huge success of Reconomics, which has been used to inform responses to Government consultations and featured in Westminster Hall Debates. 

Reconomics Plus demonstrates how the sport and recreation sector can provide meaningful and cost effective solutions to some of the nation’s biggest challenges. It is now the role of the Alliance, our members and the wider sport and recreation sector to make sure that outdoor recreation is embedded in cross-departmental Government strategies.  

Download the report (PDF)


Shooting helps champion outdoor recreation in new report - BASC

The Sport and Recreation Alliance highlighted BASC’s introduction of almost 6,000 scouts and girl guides to clay pigeon shooting at the week-long Essex International Jamboree last summer.

The report – Reconomics Plus – says ‘the scouts and girl guides came to understand how shooting has broader positive social outcomes, in that joining a shooting club can give them the opportunity to get out, meet new people and build friendships’.  It adds: “They also learnt that shooting has huge personal and physical wellbeing benefits via spending time in the outdoors and providing enjoyment and relaxation.”


Government must get tough on raptor killers, says RSPB

Government must get tough on raptor killers, says RSPB

Birds of prey continue to be illegally targeted as another rare bird is found to have been shot

Female hen harrier in flight (image: Steve Round, RSPB)Female hen harrier in flight (image: Steve Round, RSPB)

New RSPB report shows illegal killing of birds of prey is still unacceptably common with 196 reports of shooting and destruction of birds of prey and 50 reports of wildlife poisoning and pesticide related offences across the UK in 2015

The charity believes tougher legislation and enforcement is essential if birds of prey are to thrive in their natural environment again 

The body of a hen harrier, which fledged in 2016, has been recently found in Northumberland. Whilst it appears to have died with a disease, it had survived being illegally shot on an earlier date. Illegal persecution of birds of prey is still happening all too regularly in the UK countryside according to the RSPB’s Birdcrime 2015 report, published today in a new online interactive format, and the charity is asking governments across the UK to take urgent action now to stop this slaughter.

The report reveals in 2015 there were 196 reports of shooting and destruction of birds of prey including the confirmed shooting of 16 buzzards, 11 peregrines, three red kites, one red-footed falcon and one hen harrier. Of the total 92 confirmed persecution incidents, 61% occurred in England, 29% in Scotland, 9% in Northern Ireland and 1% in Wales.

The report can be viewed online here.  


New houses flood risk to existing homes – Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

People’s homes will be at greater risk from flooding by 2020 because new homes will overwhelm existing drains, according to the biggest ever survey of relevant building and flooding professionals.

(image: WWT)(image: WWT)

The Government is planning to build a million more new homes by the end of the decade. But the survey suggests current planning laws in England will make it too easy to automatically connect new homes to already over-capacity mains drainage, rather than look at sustainable options like soakaways which can be cheaper and simpler and avoid adding to flood risk.

Overwhelmed drains are the most common type of flooding in towns, costing the economy £260m per year. Greater London is an example where urban development connecting to drains has added to the flood risk for homes generally. In the 2007 floods nearly all the 1,400 properties flooded were due to surface water flooding.

The survey of 539 industry professionals including engineering consultants, flood advisors and planners shows:

  • 70% think current planning policies don’t sufficiently encourage sustainable options instead;
  • 65% think the Government’s non-statutory standards for sustainable options aren’t effective anyway;
  • 75% think local authorities don’t have the in-house expertise to check and advise on sustainable options or challenge proposals that might increase flood risk.

The survey was conducted by organisations including the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). They are now urging the Government to strengthen planning law in England 

Download the report: A Place for SuDS from CIWEM (PDF)


Marine Protected Areas helping to limit climate change – Scottish Natural Heritage

Maerl beds hold significant stores of blue carbon (image: SNH)Maerl beds hold significant stores of blue carbon (image: SNH)

Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas (MPA) network is helping our efforts to combat climate change, according to a report published today (Friday 3/2) by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The amount of carbon stored within Scotland’s inshore MPA network is equivalent to four years of Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions, scientists estimate in the report.

The world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems play a vital role in trapping and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that would otherwise contribute to climate change. So-called ‘blue’ carbon is captured and stored across a range of marine habitats and seabed types. Some blue carbon is stored in living habitats, such as seagrass beds, kelp forests, cold-water coral reefs, and mussel beds. The majority is stored in seabed sediment, accumulated over many years, much the same as our onshore peatlands. As with peatlands on land, healthy marine habitats can provide us with multiple benefits, including by storing carbon. However, when they are damaged or destroyed, the greenhouse gas is released back into the atmosphere.

Scientists estimate that about 90% of the blue carbon within Scotland’s MPA network is stored in seabed sediments and relatively stable. The living habitats, however, such as maerl and flame shell beds, are more sensitive to physical disturbance and many of these are protected features in the MPA network.

The report published today highlights that, although primarily designed for biodiversity, our MPA network brings many benefits, including by helping to reduce climate change.

Access the report: Commissioned Report 957: Assessment of blue carbon resources in Scotland’s inshore Marine Protected Area Network


Membership price rise will help fund record conservation spend and deliver better experiences for visitors – National Trust 

  • Average rise of 15p a month to help fund record conservation investment
  • Charity responds to feedback with improved facilities, longer opening times and more visitor programmes
  • Over one million members pay discounted rate
  • Members benefit from unlimited access to 500 places and free parking

Annual membership of the National Trust will increase from March 1, 2017, by an average of £1.80 a year to help the charity fund record levels of investment in vital conservation work, and improve visitor facilities and experiences.

Money raised from memberships is vital not only to help the Trust care for 300 historic properties, 775 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of countryside across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but also provide access to them for ever for everyone.

The Trust, which is largely funded through donations, memberships and legacies, spent a record £107m on conservation last year in maintaining, repairing and improving its houses, countryside and tenanted properties.

It also plans to spend an extra £300 million on addressing a backlog of conservation work by 2024.

The Trust said the extra funding would help it respond to what its members wanted including keeping its doors open for longer and at times which suit visitors. More properties than ever are now open for 363 days a year. 


Scientific Publications

Threlfall, C. G., Mata, L., Mackie, J. A., Hahs, A. K., Stork, N. E., Williams, N. S.G. and Livesley, S. J. (2017), Increasing biodiversity in urban green spaces through simple vegetation interventions. J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12876


Olsson, C., Gunnarsson, G. & Elmberg, Field preference of Greylag geese Anser anser during the breeding season.  J. Eur J Wildl Res (2017) 63: 28. doi:10.1007/s10344-017-1086-5


Völler, E., Bossdorf, O., Prati, D. & Auge, H. (2017) Evolutionary responses to land use in eight common grassland plants. Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12746


Davy, C. M., Ford, A. T. and Fraser, K. C. (2017), Aeroconservation for the Fragmented Skies Conservation Letters doi:10.1111/conl.12347


Rodríguez, A. et al (2017) A global review of seabird mortality caused by land-based artificial lights. Conservation Biology doi:10.1111/cobi.12900


Martin, L.E.R., Byrne, A.W., O’Keeffe, J. et al. Weather influences trapping success for tuberculosis management in European badgers (Meles meles) Eur J Wildl Res (2017) 63: 30. doi:10.1007/s10344-017-1089-2


logo: World Wetlands DayThursday 2 February was World Wetlands Day, this year focusing on Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction specifically on how healthy wetlands help us cope with extreme weather events.  Visit the RAMSAR, World Wetlands Day website for case studies from around the world.  


CJS In-DepthFor one closer to home read about Steart Marshes where the sea was allowed onto the land through a deliberate breach in the old sea wall in this CJS In-Depth feature by Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.  

Rising sea levels caused by climate change were putting pressure on the aging sea walls and the risk of flooding was increasing for homes, businesses and farmland on the peninsula. The Environment Agency (EA) came up with an innovative solution: manage the situation by deliberately letting the sea back onto the land in a controlled way. This meant first landscaping the whole area by digging creeks and channels that would guide the sea water as the tides ebb and flow. The spoil from the channels could be used to create new sea walls, up to a kilometre inland. The saltmarsh that would form in the new intertidal area between the old and the new sea walls would naturally sap the power from the tides before they reach the new sea walls, making them longer lasting and cheaper to maintain. Continue reading.


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