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


Speed limit study to reveal if twenty is plenty - Sustrans 

Speed limit study to reveal if twenty is plenty is to be evaluated in a major study in two British cities - Edinburgh and Belfast, and conducted by the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy. 

Casualties and traffic accident rates will be measured to determine whether 20mph limits improve road safety, say researchers.  Rates of cycling and walking will be measured to assess the impact on transport use.  Experts say the project – the largest of its type in the UK – will also look at wider effects on residents and the local area and will inform other cities planning to introduce lower speed limits.

Speed limits have been dropped from 30mph to 20mph in parts of Edinburgh and Belfast with the aim of improving safety, but the move remains controversial. The new study – which will run until 2020 – will shed light on its widespread effects, say scientists.  The impact on road safety will be measured by establishing rates of traffic collisions and fatalities before – and after – the speed limit was lowered.  The study team will also assess how the change has affected the number of people walking and cycling.  Local residents’ attitudes towards the lower limit – and how it has impacted on their quality of life – will be measured. 

Andy Cope, our Director of Insight, Research and Monitoring said: “This study will provide vital intelligence on the impact of 20mph speed limits on safety and levels of physical activity. We await its findings with keen interest.”


Tomatoes grow underground and pasta comes from animals, according to UK school children and teens - British Nutrition Foundation

The research, conducted as part of the BNF’s annual Healthy Eating Week, surveyed over 5,000 school children aged 5 - 16 years old, and found that more than one in ten (13 percent) 8 - 11 year olds answered that pasta comes from an animal, and almost one fifth (18 percent) of 5 - 7 year olds say that fish fingers are made of chicken. The survey also shows that one in ten 11 - 14 year olds do not know that carrots and potatoes grow underground.

The Healthy Eating Week survey, one of the largest of its kind in the UK, reveals that 6 percent of 14 - 16 year olds say that dairy cows produce eggs and one sixth (14 percent) of 5 - 7 year olds say that bacon is the produce of cows, sheep or chickens.

The survey also questioned Eatwell Guide food group knowledge of all age groups, with almost a quarter (23 percent) of 5 - 7 year olds say that bananas, roast chicken, broccoli and wholegrain bread belong in the dairy and alternatives food group. One sixth (16 percent) of the same age group reported that bread, yoghurt, chocolate and salmon belong in the fruit and vegetables food group. 

Badger (image: Cheshire Wildlife Trust) 

Trust dismayed to learn badger cull to take place in Cheshire - Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Cheshire Wildlife Trust are saddened to hear that the Government’s plan to cull badgers in Cheshire has been announced. Farmers in Cheshire have received training for cage trap killing of badgers and have also done sett trapping. The cull is expected to start in late August.

Badger (image: Cheshire Wildlife Trust)

The cull, which is proposed in an area, spanning from Knutsford through to Congleton will have a major impact on this nocturnal and elusive species.

“We are dismayed by this news”, said Martin Varley, Director of Conservation at Cheshire Wildlife Trust. “Whilst we are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB causes in the farming community we remain firmly opposed to the Government’s continued strategy of putting badger culling at the heart of efforts to tackle the disease. We do not believe that a cull is the answer.”


Concern over possible disturbance to peregrine site - Gloucestershire Police

Police have issued an image of a person they would like to speak to in relation to the possible disturbance of a peregrine falcon nesting site in the Forest of Dean.
This follows an incident on 24 May when a male, wearing a distinctive jacket, was seen to climb over the edge of a high cliff in a private area which has a known peregrine nest. 
Officers are working with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group to identify the male and establish his intentions.
PC Cath McDay, Rural Environmental Crime Liaison Officer for the Forest of Dean, said: "The intentions of this male are as yet unknown but it is clear that there would have been disturbance to the peregrine nest at this critical time.  We are currently in the breeding season. Peregrines are breeding in the Gloucestershire region and there are a very small number of nest sites, monitored closely by a group of volunteers from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Anyone who has information regarding the identity of the male is asked to contact Gloucestershire Police on 101 quoting incident 192 of 24 May." 


Wave and tidal energy study finds no long-term disturbance to wildlife - Scottish Natural Heritage

Marine mammals and seabirds will continue to use the waters around operational wave and tidal renewable energy devices, finds a report published today (Tuesday 13/6) by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

A major study of wildlife observations collected over ten years around wave and tidal energy test sites in Orkney has found little evidence of any long-term effects on the use of surrounding seas by the birds and marine mammals living in the area.

The coasts and seas around Orkney are renowned for their wildlife, attracting thousands of visitors to the islands each year. Since 2005, a wide range of wave and tidal energy converters have been tested at two test facilities run by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. Throughout this time, detailed observation records have been kept of the birds and marine mammals present offshore - and living in and around the test areas. 

EMEC wildlife observations (Credit Mike Brookes-Roper, courtesy of EMEC) EMEC wildlife observations (Credit Mike Brookes-Roper, courtesy of EMEC)

In 2014, to further improve our understanding of how these new technologies influence marine wildlife, SNH, Marine Scotland and EMEC started a detailed analysis of the vast number of observations collected since 2005.  The study investigated how species distribution and density varied across the test sites, relative to different levels of site-testing activity, over the ten-year period. Comparisons were made among the number of animals present before any turbines, or their support structures, were in place; when support structures only were in place; when turbines were in place; and when turbines were in place and operational.  Statistical analysis of around 10,000 hours of observations at the Fall of Warness tidal test site off Eday indicated a change in density and redistribution of some bird species when construction work started, The birds affected included the great northern diver, black and common guillemot, cormorants, shags, ducks and geese,. However, in nearly all cases, numbers returned to around previous levels once the tidal turbines were installed and operational. Observations of seals, whales and dolphins revealed similar findings.

Download the full report – Commissioned Report 947: Analysis of the possible displacement of bird and marine mammal species related to the installation and operation of marine energy conversion systems.


£7.05M for sustainable timber transport projects to benefit communities - Forestry Commission Scotland

Fifty timber transport projects that benefit communities and the environment across Scotland are set to share £7.05 million of funding, Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing announced today.

The Strategic Timber Transport Fund, which has this year benefited from  an additional Scottish Government investment of £5m, is supporting improvement works on 48 minor rural roads across Scotland.

The fund is also supporting several project officer posts, as well as private forestry sector led projects to construct a landing/loading point to enable movement of timber to market by sea and to replace a weak bridge.  Both of these projects will greatly reduce the impact of timber haulage on local communities.

A further £800k has been set aside for Timberlink, which specifically transports timber by sea.


Rare birds released on the Fens in ‘conservation first’ for the UK - Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

25 rare black-tailed godwits were released into their new home in the Cambridgeshire Fens on Monday 12/6 by conservationists from RSPB and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) as part of ‘Project Godwit’.

Godwit post release at WWT Welney (image: © Bob Ellis WWT)Godwit post release at WWT Welney (image: © Bob Ellis WWT)

After the eggs were removed from nests and hatched in incubators, staff at WWT Welney Wetland Centre hand-reared the young birds until they were old enough to look after themselves.

It’s the first time the conservation technique, known as ‘headstarting’, has been used in the UK.  Headstarting will dramatically increase the number of young black-tailed godwits that fledge in the UK this summer. The surrogate human ‘parents’ have been able to safely raise far more chicks than the godwits themselves, away from the dangers of predators and flooding.  And, crucially, by removing the eggs from their nests early, they have prompted each pair of godwits to lay a second clutch, giving the parent birds a chance to raise a brood of their own.

Now the hand-reared birds have been released, they are expected to meet up with other black-tailed godwits hatched in the area this summer, and spend several weeks feeding on the rich wetlands before starting their migration to Spain, Portugal and West Africa.  Their human carers will keep a close eye on them via telescopes and radio tags in order to monitor their progress.


Global hotspots of established alien plants and animals revealed - University of Durham

Islands and mainland coastal regions are the world’s hotspots for alien plant and animal species, according to new research.

An international team of researchers, led by Dr Wayne Dawson in Durham University’s Department of Biosciences, has provided the first global analysis of established alien species.

The researchers say their findings show that more effective measures need to be put in place to prevent further introductions of invasive alien plants and animals into vulnerable ecosystems.

The scientists studied existing data looking at eight groups including amphibians, ants, birds, freshwater fish, mammals, reptiles, spiders and vascular plants across 186 island and 423 mainland regions.  Hotspots of established alien species were found mainly in island and coastal mainland regions, the research concluded.

Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri manillensis), originally from Asia and now found in London. (image: Tim Blackburn, via University of Durham)Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri manillensis), originally from Asia and now found in London. (image: Tim Blackburn, via University of Durham)

A region’s wealth, density of human population and, to a lesser extent, climate affected the number of established alien species, though these factors varied between species and from region to region, the study reported.

Dr Wayne Dawson, in Durham University’s Department of Biosciences, said: “Our research shows that, islands and mainland coastal regions contain higher numbers of established alien plants and animals, and this may be because these areas have major points of entry like ports. In general, regions that are wealthier, and where human populations are denser also have more alien species, but these effects are stronger for islands. More work is needed to understand whether these effects arise because more species are introduced to hotspot regions, or because human disturbance in these regions makes it easier for the newcomers to find vacant spaces and opportunities to thrive.”

Access the paper: Wayne Dawson et al. Global hotspots and correlates of alien species richness across taxonomic groups. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0186 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0186


Late-nesting birds and bees face habitat threat - University of Exeter

Bird and bumblebee species that nest late in the year are suffering more from the destruction of habitats, new research suggests.

With habitats such as hedgerows and hay meadows in decline in many countries, fewer nest sites are available – leading to more competition.

The University of Exeter study found that species which nest late – in April or May rather than February or March – are declining more than other species, with the larger birds and bumblebees worst affected. 

The model shows that late-nesting species such as tree sparrows are suffering more from the destruction of habitats. (Image: University of Exeter)The model shows that late-nesting species such as tree sparrows are suffering more from the destruction of habitats. (Image: University of Exeter)

The research goes some way to unravelling the mystery of why numbers of some closely related species – like the thriving chaffinch and the struggling goldfinch – are moving in different directions.

“The effects of habitat destruction are complicated, but we must understand them if we are going to save threatened species,” said Dr Andrew Higginson of the University of Exeter. “The loss of nest sites due to damage to the environment is an important cause of species extinctions. Ecologists understand why some groups of species are declining more, such as why farmland species are declining more than woodland species. But an enduring mystery is the big variation in the declines of closely related species. Fighting over nest sites may be part of reason – when nest sites are hard to come by, the species that will suffer most are those that nest later in the year.”

Access the paper: Higginson, A.D. Conflict over non-partitioned resources may explain between-species differences in declines: the anthropogenic competition hypothesis Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2017) 71: 99. doi:10.1007/s00265-017-2327-z


Engaging environments: public engagement funding announcement - NERC

NERC is inviting proposals for public engagement consortium and capacity-building projects that aim to build a long-term, effective and innovative public engagement community, and support the formation of collaborative teams.

These teams will then go on, in a second stage, to bid to lead one ambitious large-scale project that will achieve national impact and recognition in engaging the UK public with contemporary issues of environmental science. Projects can cost between £50,000 and £100,000 (at 80% full economic cost).

Public engagement has the power to make research more relevant to the society in which it sits. This is particularly topical in a time when environmental science research is so relevant to many debates around issues facing our society. Environmental science affects all of our lives, and solutions to many of the challenges we face now and in the future will rely heavily on whether science engages and works with people.

The closing date for proposals is 16:00 on 25 July 2017. The projects will begin in October 2017 and will run for one year. Further details and an Announcement of Opportunity can be found on the NERC public engagement webpages.


Sandeels and seabirds: Protecting our seas in post-Brexit waters - RSPB 

New research led by the RSPB shows that UK seabird populations could be affected by the amount of a critical fish species caught in the North Sea by an industrial fishery, highlighting the importance of continuing to work with other countries on fisheries management after leaving the European Union.

Pair of kittiwakes on rock (Image: Andy Hay, RSPB)In 2015, kittiwake was uplisted from ‘amber’ to red’ in the UK’s Birds of Conservation Concern 4  (Image: Andy Hay, RSPB)

The study suggests a link between the amount of sandeels caught by fishermen and the breeding success of kittiwakes , with higher intensity fishing leading to lower numbers of chicks being produced.

In the North Sea, sandeels provide a vital food source for breeding seabirds but are also the target of an industrial fishery conducted mainly by Denmark. Tracking data of individual breeding kittiwakes by RSPB scientists indicates that the most productive sandeel fishing grounds, an area known as the Dogger Bank, overlap with foraging areas of kittiwakes from eastern English colonies, raising the prospect that the fishery could adversely affect the birds' populations.  The Dogger Bank is the largest sandbank in the North Sea, straddling the waters of the UK (about 100 miles off the Yorkshire coast), Netherlands and Germany, and supporting a high density of sandeels.

Using data collected between 1986 and 2014, the RSPB found that higher kittiwake breeding success at colonies was correlated with lower sandeel fishing intensity. This suggests that, at times over the last 30 years, particularly in the early 2000s, when catches were much larger, the fishing levels may have been high enough to reduce kittiwake breeding success. Rising sea temperatures due to climate change also threaten sandeels, so kittiwake food supplies could be affected by both local and large-scale processes.

Read the paper: Carroll MJ, Bolton M, Owen E, et al. Kittiwake breeding success in the southern North Sea correlates with prior sandeel fishing mortality. Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst. 2017;0:1-12.doi:10.1002/aqc.2780 


30 Days Wild nature challenge attracts nearly 50,000 people - Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts' nature challenge - 30 Days Wild - is half way through and going strong: nearly 50,000 people across the UK are doing a random act of wildness every day for the month of June...

Nearly 50,000 people across the UK have signed up to take part in 30 Days Wild and do something wild every day throughout June.

Take a look at 30 Days Wild  #30DaysWild @30DaysWild and see how daily connections with nature are inspiring people to enjoy the wild world around them wherever they live.

The impact of taking part in 30 Days Wild has been tracked by academics at the University of Derby. Their study found that people who did something ‘wild’ each day for a month, felt happier, healthier and more connected to nature, with added benefits for the natural world too.

Dr Miles Richardson, University of Derby’s Director of Psychology, who led the study said: “The impact of 30 Days Wild adds to the compelling argument for bringing nature into our everyday lives. Two months after taking part in 30 Days Wild, there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of people who reported their health as excellent. Last year’s results also show people’s happiness continued to improve after 30 Days Wild ended, which illustrates its sustained impact. This is important as it is happiness and connecting with nature that influence improvements in health. Our study also shows that those who benefitted most were younger adults and those who weren’t ‘nature lovers’.” 


New poll finds 4 out of 5 Scots back wild land protection - John Muir Trust

bog (image: John Muir Trust)YouGov poll finds 80 per cent want to keep Wild Land Areas free of major development - while just five per cent disagree.

(Image: John Muir Trust)

 By a colossal 16 to 1 majority the Scottish public has given its backing to continued protection of Wild Land Areas, according to a new YouGov poll commissioned by the John Muir Trust.  The poll found that an absolute majority – 52 per cent – ‘strongly agree’ that “Wild Land Areas should continue to be protected from large-scale infrastructure such as industrial-scale wind farms, major electricity transmission and super-quarries”, while a further 28 per cent ‘tend to agree’. Just five per cent ‘tend to disagree’ with wild land protection, while the number who ‘strongly disagree ‘is negligible, registering zero per cent in the YouGov poll.  Of the remainder, 12 per cent ‘neither agree nor disagree’ with the proposals, with three per cent undecided.

The poll found that support for wild land protection is overwhelming among all age groups and geographical regions. The Highlands and Islands,  where most of Scotland’s wild land is located, has the highest proportion of people (60 per cent) who strongly agree with the protection of Wild Land Areas.

Keep it Wild logoAs the poll was published, the Trust launched a new ‘Keep it Wild’ campaign to persuade the Scottish Government to end confusion over the status of Wild Land Areas by bringing them in line with National Scenic Areas and National Parks, which have absolute protection from large-scale wind farms.

Read the results of the YouGov wild land survey. Find out more about the Keep it Wild campaign


Growing an endowment for Scotland's Parks - greenspace scotland

greenspace scotland is delighted to announce that we have received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to kick-start the development of an Endowment Fund for Scotland’s parks.

This project will develop a £1million endowment fund for Scotland’s parks.  It is the first step towards our ambition for a multi-million endowment fund which will help to keep Scotland’s parks in good heart for future generations to enjoy. Over the next 3 years, the HLF grant of £500,000 will be matched with donations from individuals, businesses and trusts to raise that first magic million. The funds will be invested to provide an endowment to support Scotland’s parks in perpetuity.

Julie Procter, Chief Executive of greenspace scotland said: “Scotland’s parks are well-used and much loved. We want to ensure they continue to be cherished and nurtured so that we hand them on in good heart for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. The Scottish Parks Endowment Fund is an easy and simple way for everyone who uses and loves Scotland’s parks to make a donation, large or small, to support our treasured parks. And it’s a great way to grow the value of your donation: the HLF matching grant means that every £10 donated with gift-aid, becomes a £25 investment in the Park Endowment fund; every £100 becomes £250 and so on.”

greenspace scotland is working in partnership with MyParkScotland, park friends, community groups and park lovers across Scotland (and beyond). MyParkScotland already helps people to discover, enjoy and support our wonderful parks and provides Scotland’s only crowdfunding platform specifically for parks and greenspaces.

Ian Goodman, MyParkScotland Project Manager said: “Scotland’s park users have already shown their love for parks and demonstrated their generosity by making donations to crowdfunds to support a range of park and greenspace projects, from mini-orchards to play areas and community gardens.  Most of these donations have been gift-aided and that extra funding has already been invested in the Parks Endowment.  This grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will really help us to grow the endowment fund for Scotland’s parks.”


DNA left by ocean animals provides rare glimpse of marine ecosystems, Stanford researchers say - Stanford University

As ocean animals swim past, they leave behind DNA in shed cells, tissues, scales and feces. Now, scientists have shown these genetic clues can be used as forensic markers to accurately and easily survey marine life in complex deep-water environments.

Pacific white-sided dolphins accompany the NOAA ship Reuben Lasker off the coast of California in June 2016 during a cruise collecting water samples for environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis. (Image credit: Collin Closek)The ocean might as well be Mars. Like astronomers grasping at ways to identify life on a distant planet, marine scientists have no easy method for detecting sea creatures’ presence in the vast watery realm.

Pacific white-sided dolphins accompany the NOAA ship Reuben Lasker off the coast of California in June 2016 during a cruise collecting water samples for environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis. (Image credit: Collin Closek)

An emerging technique – analyzing DNA in skin, scales and feces animals leave behind – has shown promise for revealing hidden ecosystems on land and in fresh water. But deep ocean environments have largely proven too complex for the approach. Now, Stanford scientists show progress in using this analysis to overcome complicated water movements and other obstacles to detect ocean animals in locations where the water can be more than 7,200 feet deep.

“We want to know what’s out there,” said study lead author Elizabeth A. Andruszkiewicz, a graduate student in Stanford’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Eventually, this technology may answer bigger questions, such as how communities of organisms have adapted to environmental changes over time.”

Of the few previous environmental DNA, or eDNA, studies of ocean animals, all were done in relatively shallow nearshore environments. Most were done in controlled systems such as saltwater tanks, and few looked in real environments at questions of spatial distribution of eDNA.

Read the paper:  Elizabeth A. Andruszkiewicz, Hilary A. Starks, Francisco P. Chavez, Lauren M. Sassoubre, Barbara A. Block & Alexandria B. Boehm Biomonitoring of marine vertebrates in Monterey Bay using eDNA metabarcoding PlosOne doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176343


And they're off! - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

The largest ever reintroduction of endangered water voles in the UK is underway

The Kielder Water Vole Partnership is releasing 700 water voles in Kielder Forest - a vast area of 650 square kilometres - after a 30-year absence. It is the largest water vole reintroduction to one place ever undertaken in the UK.

The first release of 325 water voles is taking place this week with a further 350 water voles due to be released in August. The aim is to restore populations of this endangered mammal to the Kielder catchment of the North Tyne with a view to their eventual spread throughout western reaches of Northumberland. 

Why bring back the water vole?  Mike Pratt (NWT), Kelly Hollings (NWT) and Coral Edgcumbe (Derek Gow Consultancy) releasing the first water vole, photo Jon Millard PhotographyThis project will reintroduce a much-loved British species - known as ‘Ratty’ in Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic Wind in the Willows - to a key area which used to have thriving water vole populations up until the 1980s.

Mike Pratt (NWT), Kelly Hollings (NWT) and Coral Edgcumbe (Derek Gow Consultancy) releasing the first water vole, photo Jon Millard Photography

The water vole was once a common and familiar mammal along our ditches, rivers and streams. Unfortunately, habitat declines, pollution of waterways, industrialisation of agriculture, housing development and predation by American mink which escaped from fur farms, have all led to severe water vole declines since the 1960s. It’s thought that 94% of water voles have disappeared from places in the UK where they were once prevalent.

The Forestry Commission has done much to improve the water vole habitat across Kielder Forest, leaving open areas next to water courses after felling, thus allowing banksides to have more light and a greater range of plants to grow, which is perfect for water voles. Water voles need help to recolonise an area once they have disappeared.


Funding available to help local communities become fitter and active - Groundwork

Community groups in Salford, Huntingdon and North Cambridgeshire are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to £10,000 for projects that promote physical activity and community integration.

The 'Community Activity Grants Programme' is available from community charity, Groundwork, which has joined forces with Sport England and Clarion Housing Group. 

Groups are encouraged to apply for projects that promote regular activity that support a sustained lifestyle change; including activities considered ‘non -traditional’ sports such as Zumba and outdoor gym sessions and regular wellbeing walks that the whole community can enjoy.

Applications will be considered from all not-for-profit, public sector and community groups and clubs with projects aimed to encourage those who are least active in local areas, such as the elderly, disabled and those living with long-term health conditions, to apply the most.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s national CEO said: "We are thrilled to be a part of a programme that will allow communities to both improve their health and wellbeing and help to bring local people together to create something new and exciting that the whole community can benefit from.

"We look forward to seeing the diverse range of applications and helping residents benefit from the scheme over the next year." 

Rona Chester, Sport England’s Chief Operating Officer said: "This is a really exciting partnership for Sport England as it enables us to try a different approach to getting funding to local community organisations that are ideally placed to get more people more active. 

"Not everyone wants to take up traditional sports or be physically active through a traditional sports club. This programme will help find a wide range of groups in the heart of their community who can offer opportunities for local people to become active in a way that meets their needs".


Groundwork launches drive to develop 'Young Green Leaders' - Groundwork 

Groundwork has launched a recruitment drive to encourage young people to sign up to a national initiative to develop the nation’s next generation of environmental leaders.  

The 'Groundwork Youth' initiative is a package of support for 16 – 24-year-olds to develop their leadership potential and connect them with like-minded people to lead debate and delivery aimed at making their place – and the planet – better now and more sustainable in the long term. 

By 5 July it aims to have recruited 12 young people to the Groundwork Youth Advisory Board to help shape the initiative’s future direction and 100 Young Green Ambassadors to act as champions for the positive contribution young people make in their communities and lead campaigns highlighting issues that matter to them. 

Groundwork points to studies showing that young people spend more time in green spaces than other age groups yet have less say over what happens there.  Children growing up in more disadvantaged areas have access to significantly less high-quality green space than their more affluent counterparts. 

For more information about Groundwork Youth, click here to visit the website 


Plea for help to stop vandalism on Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve - Dorset Wildlife Trust

A dry-stone wall seat on Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT’s) Lorton Meadows nature reserve in Weymouth has been vandalised, and the wildlife charity is appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward.  

The seat, which was vandalised twice in 2016, is located on the trail off Louviers Road at the top of Lorton Meadows in the town.  It is placed there so visitors can enjoy the views across Lorton Valley Nature Park, the town, bay and across to Portland.  It is also at the start of the 20km legacy trail created after the 2012 Olympics, to Portland Bill. 

Following the vandalism in June and August in 2016, DWT paid to repair damage from the stones in the seat being dislodged by force, such as kicking or smashing them with other rocks.  Dorset Police were informed and launched an appeal for further information.

DWT’s Lorton Meadows Community Conservation Officer, Sam Dallimore said, “We are so disappointed and shocked that this lovely stone seat has been mindlessly damaged again.  The time and money it takes to repair the seat time and time again compromises the valuable work Dorset Wildlife Trust do to protect wildlife.”


Six figure boost for New Forest inclusive cycling scheme - New Forest National Park

Hundreds of young people will be able to enjoy the New Forest using specialist bikes thanks to £300,000 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

The PEDALL – Happy, Healthy, Active project, supported by the New Forest National Park Authority, will provide opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy the health benefits of cycling in the National Park.

Inclusive cycling on beaulieu heath (image: new Forest National Park)Inclusive cycling on Beaulieu Heath (image: new Forest National Park)

The project will help tackle the lack of exercise and associated health problems among young people with disabilities. This can include poor physical fitness, poor mental wellbeing and social isolation, which all contribute to a reduced quality of life.

This grant allows the PEDALL project to expand its work helping young people transform their lives through outdoor exercise. Since the scheme was set up in 2011 by the National Park Authority, more than 100 families have attended sessions across the Forest.

Over the next three years, the grant will allow the team to run an expanded range of sessions for young people with disabilities and families using a fleet of specially adapted bicycles.

This includes six-week cycling courses for students at mainstream and special needs schools, and free regular drop in sessions at weekends open to families and adults with disabilities.


Committee approves to transfer Council Ranger service - Highland Council

Members of The Highland Council’s Places Committee have today (Thursday 15 June) agreed proposals to transfer the Highland Council Ranger service to High Life Highland.

The Council’s Ranger Service is one of the largest local authority ranger services in Scotland with staff running many events and guided to raise awareness and encourage the appreciation of the scenery, wildlife and heritage of the Highlands.

Chair of the Places Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said:  “In the last few years the number of Rangers has fallen from 22 to 10.5FTE to meet saving targets. I believe that this proposal to transfer the team to High Life Highland is a great opportunity for the Ranger Service to grow and continue to play its’ important role in our schools and communities.”


Scientific Publications

Sotherton, N., Baines, D. and Aebischer, N. J. (2017), An alternative view of moorland management for Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica. Ibis, 159: 693–698. doi:10.1111/ibi.12489


Ruth E. Crawford and Jed A. Long. Habitat preferences of juvenile Scottish Ospreys Pandion haliaetus at stopover and wintering sites. Ringing & Migration  doi: 10.1080/03078698.2017.1323998 


Kalevi Korpela, Eira-Maija Savonen, Suvi Anttila, Tytti Pasanen, Eleanor Ratcliffe, Enhancing wellbeing with psychological tasks along forest trails, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Volume 26, August 2017, Pages 25-30, ISSN 1618-8667, doi: 10.1016/j.ufug.2017.06.004.


Hulme, P. E., et al, Integrating invasive species policies across ornamental horticulture supply-chains to prevent plant invasions. J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12953


González de Andrés E, Camarero JJ, Blanco JA, et al. Tree-to-tree competition in mixed European beech–Scots pine forests has different impacts on growth and water-use efficiency depending on site conditions. J Ecol. 2017;00:1–17. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12813


Camilo Ordóñez, How different ethno-cultural groups value urban forests and its implications for managing urban nature in a multicultural landscape: a systematic review of the literature, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Available online 15 June 2017, ISSN 1618-8667, doi: 10.1016/j.ufug.2017.06.006.


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