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


Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments - IPCC

Incheon, Republic of Korea, October 8 – Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday. 
The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. 
"With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC," said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. 
Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015. 
The report's full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. 
"One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes," said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I. 
The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C. 
Read the report at http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/


Meet Freya the newt detective – Wessex Water

© Nick Upton for Wessex WaterA four-legged friend with a nose for newts is helping us sniff out protected species before new pipes are put in the ground.

© Nick Upton for Wessex Water

We are the first utility company in the UK to have an in-house great crested newt detection dog, owned and trained by ecologist Nikki Glover.

Three-year-old springer spaniel Freya has been trained to spot the nocturnal amphibians, with UK and European legislation making it an offence to damage or destroy their environment without a licence from Natural England. 

Training takes the form of hiding a great crested newt within a breathable container. When Freya locates the newt, she indicates in a non-invasive manner to earn the reward of a tennis ball or treat.

Nikki said: "The Wessex Water region is a stronghold for great crested newts and we come across them when carrying out construction works. If works are within 250 metres of breeding ponds and we are likely to cause an offence under the legislation, we must apply for a licence from Natural England. We would then be required to fence off the construction area and carry out pitfall trapping (buckets sunk into the ground), which could take around 30 days to complete. Having a great crested newt detection dog within a utility company is a massive benefit because they can find the newts more efficiently and effectively, and it's a non-invasive method."

Nikki has been granted a Natural England licence which allows her to keep four great crested newts in temporary captivity from July to October for the purpose of training Freya.

She has sought professional training from Louise Wilson, founder and director of Conservation K9 Consultancy, who has 15 years' experience within the detection dog industry and was the first person to train a great crested newt detection dog.

The type of container used for training is varied to avoid Freya 'scent imprinting' on the container material as opposed to the newt. She is now able to locate wild newts as well as captive ones.

Louise said: "Nikki came to me over a year ago to progress Freya's training and they have both been absolute stars. You can see how much Freya enjoys her work and the bond she has with Nikki is absolutely vital. We've never worked with a water company before and it's been really rewarding. I think it's a brilliant idea."


Nature to be prescribed to help health and wellbeing – RSPB

GPs in Shetland are now able to prescribe nature to their patients thanks to a pioneering partnership project

A partnership project between NHS Shetland and RSPB Scotland, which is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, has been extended following a successful pilot. From this week, all of Shetland’s GPs will be able to prescribe nature as part of their patient’s treatment. 

The successful pilot, which took place at Scalloway surgery last year, has led to the roll out of “Nature Prescriptions” to all ten GP surgeries across the county.

Nature Prescriptions recognises the benefits of nature on reducing blood pressure, reducing anxiety and increasing happiness as well as the growing disconnection with nature throughout society. 

RSPB Scotland have produced a leaflet and a calendar of seasonal activities using local knowledge and understanding of connecting people with nature. It attempts to provide a greater variety of ways to realise the health benefits that nature can provide regardless of health condition, confidence or if you are a sociable or more solitary person. The leaflet will be handed out at each doctor’s discretion.

Dr Chloe Evans, a GP at Scalloway Health Centre, said: “I want to take part because the project provides a structured way for patients to access nature as part of a non-drug approach to health problems. The benefits to patients are that it is free, easily accessible, allows increased connection with surroundings which hopefully leads to improved physical and mental health for individuals”. 


Birmingham community project picks up top award – Canal & River Trust

A project to encourage more people from Birmingham’s South Asian community to take advantage of the health and wellbeing benefits offered by the city’s waterways has scooped a major award.

Dragon boating racing in Birmingham (Canal & River Trust)Dragon boating racing in Birmingham (Canal & River Trust)

Nowka Bais, a ‘cultural extravaganza’ which saw 25,000 people flock to Edgbaston Reservoir in July 2017 for a celebration of traditional Bangladeshi dragon boat racing, collected the award in the ‘Engaging Communities’ category at the Living Waterway Awards. The awards – known as the ‘Oscars of the waterways’ - seek to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based projects across the UK.

In giving the award the judges recognised the success of the event itself but also the important role it has played in getting more people from South Asian communities, including women and children, to participate in water sports activities on the reservoir and the surrounding canals.

Celebrating Bangladeshi heritage

The event saw 18 teams from all over the UK participating in boat racing, as well as Bangladeshi street food stalls, live music and entertainment and a procession by children on celebrating Bangladeshi heritage and culture.

Since last year’s Nowka Bais there has been an increase in the number of people from the South Asian community taking part in sailing, canoeing and kayaking, both on the reservoir and the neighbouring canals. There have also been a number of community canal boat trips and groups of people from Smethwick, Lozells and Aston walking and cycling on the canal towpaths as a means of improving their health and wellbeing.


Cutting edge DNA analysis to reveal the secret wildlife of urban nature reserves – Natural History Museum

Credit: London Wildlife Trust / Natural History MuseumVolunteers and staff from the Natural History Museum and London Wildlife Trust are working together as part of an exciting, experimental project which they hope will reveal the hidden wildlife of two urban nature reserves.

Credit: London Wildlife Trust / Natural History Museum

Using cutting-edge environmental DNA analysis, the Museum and the London Wildlife Trust aim to identify the tiny insects, other invertebrates and microorganisms that play an important, if unnoticed, role in healthy environments.

Dr John Tweddle, Head of the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity at the Natural History Museum said: “London is home to almost 15,000 kinds of plants, animals and fungi. To manage and conserve this vital diversity of life we need to understand which species we have and how their distributions and populations are changing. The application of new scientific techniques, such as the analysis of environmental DNA, has the potential to play a pivotal role in meeting this time-critical challenge.”

With the support of a grant from the National Geographic Society, the project is focusing on two well-known London nature sites, the Wildlife Garden at the Natural History Museum and London Wildlife Trust’s Camley Street Natural Park in King’s Cross.

Both locations feature wildlife habitats which have been grown from scratch in challenging, urban locations. This project will support the Natural History Museum and London Wildlife Trust to form a baseline understanding of all the wildlife at each location, allowing them to enact and adapt their conservation work accordingly.


Mapping breakthrough with benefits for people and nature – SNH

Segmentation - © Getmapping plc/ SNHSegmentation - © Getmapping plc/ SNH

The wildlife and landscape of Scotland’s wildest and most remote islands, moorland and mountain ranges are set to be understood as never before, through ground breaking new mapping technology that can help us to tackle climate change and manage our upland habitats.

The innovative method for mapping our upland habitats is being pioneered in the UK by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). It uses a technique developed in Sweden known as ‘stereo colour infrared (sCIR) aerial photo interpretation (API), which uses imagery taken from aeroplanes. 

Sally Thomas, SNH’s Director of People & Nature, said: “This technology really is a game changer for our work in some of the remotest parts of Scotland. Healthy peatland is a key factor in tackling climate change. It holds onto carbon, preventing its release into the atmosphere to trap heat from the sun. This cutting edge technique means we can identify prime locations for our peatland restoration work. It can also help us to manage woodland expansion, and it’s great news for protecting our diverse upland habitats: as well as the widespread heaths and bogs there are many small, fragmented and internationally rare habitats, such as important calcareous grasslands and juniper scrub.”


High-res data offer most detailed look yet at trawl fishing footprint around the world – Bangor University

About a quarter of the world's seafood caught in the ocean comes from bottom trawling, a method that involves towing a net along the seabed on continental shelves and slopes to catch shrimp, cod, rockfish, sole and other kinds of bottom-dwelling fish and shellfish. The technique impacts these seafloor ecosystems, because other marine life and habitats can be unintentionally killed or disturbed as nets pass across the seafloor.

Bangor UniversityBangor University

Scientists agree that extensive bottom trawling can negatively affect marine ecosystems, but the central question — how much of the total area, or footprint, is trawled worldwide — has been hard to nail down.

A new analysis that uses high-resolution data for 24 ocean regions in Africa, Europe, North and South America and Australasia shows that only 14 percent of the overall seafloor shallower than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) is trawled. Most trawl fishing happens in this depth range along continental shelves and slopes in the world's oceans. The study focused on this depth range, covering an area of about 7.8 million square kilometers of ocean.

The paper, appearing [8/10/18] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brought together 57 scientists based in 22 countries, with expertise in mapping fishing activity from satellite monitoring and fishing logbook data. It shows that the footprint of bottom-trawl fishing on continental shelves and slopes across the world's oceans often has been substantially overestimated.


John Muir Pollinator Way, funding success - Buglife

Hogganfield Park (Suzanne Burgess)Thanks to funding from The Scottish Government and The Greggs Foundation, The Central Scotland Green Network Trust are supporting Buglife to create 25 pollinator ‘hubs’ at various points along the John Muir Way. This funding will allow Buglife Scotland the opportunity to expand and bolster the work already being undertaken to create the first urban B-lines in Scotland, The John Muir Pollinator Way.

Hogganfield Park (Suzanne Burgess)

Buglife Scotland is now busy searching for sites that can be transformed or enhanced for the benefit of pollinators. So far the team have been working closely with land owners and managers in East Dunbartonshire, The City of Edinburgh and Falkirk, however the hope is to create at least one ‘hub’ in each of the council areas that the John Muir Way runs through. To get the project started Buglife will be working with the Falkirk Community Trust at Kinneil Estate and Callendar Park as well as working with the Forestry Commission Scotland at Callendar Park. Then over the winter months Buglife will start finalising the remaining 22 sites that will make up the rest of the areas being improved for pollinators as part of this project.

Through creating these pollinator hotspots the project will be giving our wild pollinators a much needed helping hand and creating new habitats for other wildlife. Local communities and schools will also have the opportunity to connect with their local natural environment by getting involved, where possible, with the creation and enhancement of these sites and being able to explore and look for the wildlife that takes up residence in these areas.

Alasdair Lemon, Buglife Scotland Conservation Officer said “We are really excited to be able to continue working on our John Muir Pollinator Way project, Scotland’s first urban B-Line. It is fantastic that both the Scottish Government and Greggs Foundation have provided funding for this project, so that Buglife, CSGNT and partners are able to create and enhance grassland meadows for local communities to enjoy and most importantly to help our pollinators when they need it most.”


Wading birds are benefiting from conservation action but we need more of it - BTO

Throughout Europe, birds associated with agricultural habitats comprise the highest proportion (23%) of threatened species, with breeding waders among the most vulnerable. Despite these conservation concerns, only Ruff and the Baltic population of Dunlin feature on the EU Birds Directive list of threatened species, while all except Dunlin can be hunted in many EU member states under certain restrictions.

Curlew by Neil CalbradeCurlew by Neil Calbrade

Throughout Europe, birds associated with agricultural habitats comprise the highest proportion (23%) of threatened species, with breeding waders among the most vulnerable. Despite these conservation concerns, only Ruff and the Baltic population of Dunlin feature on the EU Birds Directive list of threatened species, while all except Dunlin can be hunted in many EU member states under certain restrictions.  Grassland-breeding waders face a set of common threats throughout much of Europe. Loss or deterioration of breeding habitat through changing agricultural practices, together with increasing predation pressure, are the primary drivers of population declines, reducing the number of chicks produced to below the threshold needed to maintain stable populations. In western Europe, earlier cropping, mowing and grazing dates – a consequence of agricultural intensification and climate change – can result in the destruction of eggs and chicks by agricultural machinery and livestock. Intensively-managed grassland monocultures and large-scale field drainage both result in poorer food resources for chicks, meaning their growth and potentially survival is reduced. Furthermore, intensive agricultural practices can increase the vulnerability of nests and chicks to predation by reducing the quality of their breeding habitat, while higher numbers of predators in the landscape increases predation rates of eggs and chicks.


Campaign to inspire young women to get outside unveiled on World Mental Health Day - Scottish Natural Heritage

A new campaign to inspire more young women to get outside and enjoy nature has been unveiled on World Mental Health Day.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Young Scot have been working with teenage girls to design #GirlsGetOot, a social media campaign aimed at breaking down the barriers to getting outdoors.

Visiting the outdoors can improve physical and mental health but surveys have shown that girls aged 15-17 are significantly less likely to be active outside than their male counterparts.

Research with young volunteers found that issues such as gender expectations, social pressures, body image and perceptions about the cost can all prevent young women from experiencing nature.

Animations designed in collaboration with teenage girls will highlight how simple activities such as going for a walk with friends, listening to music outdoors or sharing photos of nature are free, fun and can help relieve the stress experienced by many young women.


Project to enable plastics to be recycled together - University of Bath

Plastic waste (image: University of Bath)Bath is leading a £4.8M consortium to develop catalysts for sustainable manufacturing and help promote a circular economy

Plastic waste (image: University of Bath)

Never sure whether you can recycle your milk bottles with your margarine tubs? This problem could be solved in a few years, thanks to a new project led by the University of Bath that will allow a mixture of plastics to be recycled together.

Plastic milk bottles are made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) whereas margarine tubs are made from polypropylene. These two plastics cannot be recycled together so have to be separated either by householders or at the recycling centre, a labour-intensive process that can often mean that plastics ends up in landfill because the batch becomes accidentally contaminated with several types of plastic.

However the team of scientists and engineers at Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies and Manchester University, led by Dr Arthur Garforth at Manchester, is investigating ways of chemically breaking down mixtures of plastics into their constituent molecules which can then be used to manufacture new plastics or other high value products. 


Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy extended by 50,000 trees - Woodland Trust

Fifty thousand trees will be winging their way across the UK next week to form part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), a network of global forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

They will be planted by 10,000 members of the public who snapped them up in a matter of minutes in a free tree giveaway made possible by a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV. 

The giveaway was in support of a landmark documentary, The Queen's Green Planet, screened on ITV in April. It followed Her Majesty the Queen and the ambitious QCC legacy project which brings together her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her love of trees.  At the heart of the film by ITN Productions was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough filmed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last summer. 


Wildlife Trusts join with University of East Anglia to identify cause of hare deaths - Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Norfolk Wildlife Trust are joining with the University of East Anglia to call for help to discover the cause of mysterious hare deaths in the region.
Hare (image: Mark Ollett)Over the past month, landowners, farmers and members of the public have been in contact to report sightings of obviously sick and dead hares.
Hare (image: Mark Ollett)
As a result, the Wildlife Trusts are asking anyone seeing a freshly dead hare to record its location, photograph the entire animal – especially around the head  and bottom – and send the information to Dr Diana Bell at the University of East Anglia.
Dr Bell has recently been studying the impacts of diseases on rabbit populations, including myxomatosis and strains of hemorrhagic disease. Dr Bell said: “Both Suffolk Wildlife Trust and I have been told about hares that have been found either dying or already dead at different sites around the county. The death of any animal is obviously distressing but we’re asking people to try and photograph these hares to help us understand what is happening. Getting good images of the bodies of these hares, along with their exact location, is crucial for us to rule out or identify possible diseases.”


Coca-Cola listed as top ocean plastic polluter in global audit report - WDC

Break Free From Plastic, a global movement campaigning against the rise in plastic pollution has released a report naming Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé as the most frequent companies identified in 239 clean ups and brand audits spanning 42 countries and 6 continents.

Described as the most comprehensive snapshot of the worst plastic polluting companies around the world, over 187,000 pieces of plastic debris were audited, identifying thousands of brands whose packaging relies on the single-use plastics that pollute the ocean, threatening many marine creatures including whales and dolphins.

Coca-Cola was the top polluter in the global audit, with Coke-branded plastic pollution found in 40 of the 42 participating countries. “These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Global Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic, Von Hernandez.

The audits found that (in order) Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Danone, Mondelez International, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Perfetti van Melle, Mars Incorporated, and Colgate-Palmolive were the most frequent multinational brands collected in clean ups,

This ranking of multinational companies included only brands that were found in at least ten of the 42 participating countries. Overall, polystyrene, which is not recyclable in most locations, was the most common type of plastic found, followed closely by PET, a material used in bottles, containers, and other packaging.


Garden BirdWatchers allow us to better understand disease in British finches - BTO

Male Chaffinch with leg lesions (image: Jill Pakenham)Male Chaffinch with leg lesions (image: Jill Pakenham)

Leg lesions, more commonly known as ‘scaly leg’ or ‘tassel foot’ are growths on the legs of feet of finches. A study from the Zoological Society of London in collaboration with BTO, the Complutense University of Madrid and Linnaeus University, explores the causes, seasonality and distribution of one of the most notable diseases in wild birds in Britain. 

Leg lesions are one of the most commonly seen signs of ill health in British birds. Results from post-mortems on over a thousand finches have found that these leg lesions have two causes; a virus (Fringilla coelebs papillomavirus) and mites (Cnemidocoptes). The most frequently affected birds are Chaffinches but leg lesions have also been documented in other finch species.

Weekly reports from BTO Garden BirdWatchers, as well as ad hoc sightings of disease from members of the public to Garden Wildlife Health, show that leg lesions in finches are widespread across the UK. However, reports of leg lesions increase during the winter period between November- March, at a time when we see an influx of Chaffinches from the continent, joining our breeding birds. The increase in migratory finches at this time might help to explain the increase in disease reporting rate in the winter months.


Research reveals Scotland’s west coast as global cetacean hotspot - Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust

Scotland’s west coast seas are a global hotspot for cetaceans and basking sharks, and need better protection, said Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust as it released a new marine atlas capturing key discoveries made over the past 15 years.

The first Hebridean Marine Mammal Atlas showcases findings by the charity’s scientists and citizen science volunteers during annual research expeditions on its specialized yacht Silurian.

The findings highlight the region’s extraordinary biodiversity and shed new light on its whales, dolphins and porpoise – collectively called cetaceans – and basking sharks.

So far, 23 cetacean species – a quarter of all known globally – have been recorded in the Hebrides. Since 2002, Silurian has travelled more than 100,000 kilometres – the equivalent of sailing two and a half times around the world – and 30,000 animals have been recorded.

Discoveries include the Hebrides being a vital feeding ground for minke whales and basking sharks, and that the region is one of the most important areas for harbour porpoise in Europe. The trust’s evidence was used to identify the boundary of Scotland’s first protected area for harbour porpoise, approved by the Scottish Government in 2016. Human impacts on the marine environment – including entanglement, marine litter, and underwater noise – are also monitored on the surveys. The scale of such threats is often still unclear. The trust’s unique citizen science programme always uses the same rigorous methods, with annual variations in survey effort accounted for – ensuring findings are comparable between years. This provides long-term data on species’ distributions, populations, and behaviours, which is crucial for identifying important areas, and trends and changes in the marine environment. 

Download the Hebridean Marine Mammal Atlas


Beaver numbers increase across Tayside - Scottish Natural Heritage 

Beaver numbers across Tayside have increased in the past six years, according to a new Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) survey.

The report estimates that around 430 beavers live in over 100 active beaver territories. A 2012 survey estimated beaver numbers across the region at about 150 beavers in 40 territories.

European beaver (image: Laurie Campbell via SNH)European beaver (image: Laurie Campbell via SNH)

Nick Halfhide, SNH’s Director of Sustainable Growth, said, “By building dams, beavers improve local water quality and help nurture other wildlife, and it’s wonderful that people now have a chance to see these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

“But in some parts of Scotland, beavers can cause problems, particularly in areas with prime agricultural land. So we are setting up a mitigation scheme – with input from a range of interest groups such as NFU Scotland through the Scottish Beaver Forum – to develop and trial techniques to help  farmers deal with any problems they encounter.”

SNH provide farmers with free, expert advice, as well as practical, on-the-ground solutions. These include techniques used across Europe, such as deterrent fencing, tree guards, piped dams, culvert and flood bank protection, as well as trialling new methods.

The survey detected 72 beaver lodges, 339 burrows, and 86 dams or recently removed dams. Beavers create lodges by burrowing into banks where they dig several chambers and entrances.

Read the full report.

And analysis: Scotland’s beavers need protection to allow them to thrive - Scottish Wildlife Trust blog by Susan Davies, Director of Conservation


Response: Trust calls for legal protection for Scotland’s beavers - Scottish Wildlife Trust

A report published by Scottish Natural Heritage has confirmed that beaver numbers are expanding in Tayside and that they are beginning to establish a presence in the neighbouring Forth catchment.

The Trust is concerned that unregulated culling is taking place is some areas. We are calling for the Scottish Government to speed up progress on introducing protected status for beavers.

Our Director of Conservation Susan Davies said: ““This comprehensive survey shows a welcome expansion in their range since 2012. Beavers are now widespread in Tayside and they are starting to recolonise other areas including the River Forth. It is only a matter of time before they enter other river catchments. “We believe it is time for the Scottish Government to complete the steps required to give beavers protected status. This was promised at the end of 2016 but progress has been too slow. Granting legal protection would ensure that beavers are allowed to thrive across Scotland, and that the management of their impacts will be carried out according to the joint principles agreed between the Trust, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) and Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) in late 2016.”


Flying success for Bats in Churches project - Natural England

The Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded £3.8 million for a project led by Natural England to save bats and protect churches

A groundbreaking project led by Natural England to help churches that host large bat roosts has been granted £3.8 million of funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

This new round of funding will help deliver a five year partnership project, bringing together wildlife, heritage conservation and church organisations to save bats and protect churches for future generations.

common pipistrelle bat (image: Natural England)common pipistrelle bat (image: Natural England)

The UK’s bat population has suffered significant historical decline which is why they are protected by UK law. Loss of natural habitats means some bat species have been forced to find safe havens in buildings including historic churches.

Many church communities live harmoniously with bat roosts. However, in some cases bats are causing irreparable damage to historically significant church monuments and memorials as well as impacting upon the people who use the buildings.

Recently approved techniques and a new licence developed by Natural England to permit necessary work will be used to improve both the natural and historic environment and to support the people who care for them.

The Bats in Churches project will:

  • Find practical solutions to enable 102 of the most severely impacted church communities to reduce the impact of bats on the church, without harming them
  • Create a new network of fully trained volunteers who can undertake bat surveys and support congregations who have bat roosts at their church
  • Train professional ecologists and historic building specialists in new techniques and build knowledge to improve their advice to congregations
  • Collect and collate up-to-date data from over 700 churches across England, helping to build a specialist knowledge base of bats and their use of churches
  • Strengthen local communities so people value and engage with their local natural and historic built heritage

Natural England is working in partnership with The Church of England, Historic England, Bat Conservation Trust and Churches Conservation Trust to deliver this ambitious and innovative project.


£27.8m programme will tackle environmental challenges - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) has secured a £27.8 million National Capability funding award.

The money from the Natural Environment Research Council – worth £5.7 million annually for five years – will fund a programme of research that is designed to deliver new integrated understanding of the environment.

The programme, UK-SCAPE (UK Status Change and Projections of the Environment), will help tackle significant challenges caused by mounting pressures on land use, air and soil quality, water and food security, and biodiversity.

Professor Richard Shore, chair of CEH’s programme board for UK-SCAPE, said: “To provide effective solutions to these problems, we need to see a paradigm shift that moves the current focus from isolated issues on single sites towards a holistic, integrated approach looking at the wider landscape. This will provide multiple benefits for researchers, the economy, the environment and people.”

CEH will collect and integrate national scale datasets, enabling researchers to answer high-level questions around the status and trends of environmental resources, such as:

  • Land: How do the main pressures driving land use change interact, historically and into the future?
  • Biodiversity: What are the causes of loss and increase in biodiversity, and what is the impact on ecosystems?
  • Soil: How do multiple pressures interact to change soil condition and function?
  • Air: What drives the fluxes of pollutants and greenhouse gases?
  • Water: What are the environmental determinants of water flows and soil moisture?


Scientific Publication 

Walton, Z., Samelius, G., Odden, M. et al. Long-distance dispersal in red foxes Vulpes vulpes revealed by GPS tracking Eur J Wildl Res (2018) 64: 64. Doi: 10.1007/s10344-018-1223-9


Balmford, B., Green, R. E., Onial, M., Phalan, B. & Balmford, A. (2018) How imperfect can land sparing be before land sharing is more favourable for wild species? Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13282

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