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


National Trust reports record spend on conservation, supported by highest membership and visitor numbers

The National Trust has spent more than ever before looking after houses, gardens, coast and countryside as record numbers of people joined the charity, new figures out today reveal.

During 2018/19 the conservation charity spent £148m on conservation projects and restoration works to look after the 780 miles of coastline, 248,000 hectares of land and more than 500 historic houses, gardens, parks and countryside in its care, according to its annual report. The figure is £10m more than the previous year, equivalent to an extra £830,000 per month.

The biggest increase came on projects to protect the coast and countryside, with more than £35m (£35,723,000) spent, an increase of £5million on the previous year. Projects included the restoration of the cairn on Scafell Pike, England’s highest war memorial and the launch of the Riverlands partnership with Environment Agency, which included the reintroduction of water voles at Porlock Vale on Exmoor.

In addition, more than £8m (£8,221,000) was spent looking after the parks and gardens in its care – nearly £2m more than the previous year.

The increased conservation spend has been supported by record numbers of visitors and members. During 2018/19 more people than ever before joined the Trust, increasing the number of members to 5.6m, from 5.2m the year before. And 26.9m visits were made to National Trust places.

Elsewhere the report found:  The Trust is supported by 65,000 volunteers who collectively donated more than 4.8m hours of their time. This year the number of volunteers who would strongly recommend volunteering for the National Trust is also at its highest level ever, at 67% (compared to 61% last year). Overall, 95% would recommend volunteering with the Trust.


The first bat highway in the UK, to light up in Worcestershire - Worcestershire County Council

Trotshill crossing (image: Worcestershire County Council)The LED lights, which emit a red light, provide a bat friendly crossing of approximately 60m in width across the A4440, near to Warndon Wood nature reserve and are due to be active in September.

This project, which is a collaboration between Worcestershire County Council and Jacobs, is an innovative approach to a much-needed highway crossing with a greatly reduced impact on local wildlife.

Trotshill crossing (image: Worcestershire County Council)

Research shows some species of bat are light shy and will not cross roads lit by white lights, which can stop them accessing food supplies and water. Bright street lights also attract the flies and insects the bats feed on, and so reduce the food available for bats and other mammals in their typical feeding areas. The wildlife friendly lights are red in colour and use a unique ‘recipe’ of light which does not affect bats and their flying and feeding habits.

With the red lights, the bats behave normally, feeding and moving through their habitats, just as they would in the dark. This helps to balance the local ecosystem.

Similar lighting schemes in the Netherlands have proved successful, helping to preserve bat species and other nocturnal wildlife. In Eindhoven a new housing complex has been built with the bat friendly lighting in place, which has provided a valuable safe site for rare species of bats.

The bat friendly lights are being introduced in the Warndon area due to a brand-new controlled crossing being installed.


Malham peregrine young disperse - Yorkshire Dales National Park and RSPB

It’s ‘all change’ for birds in the Dales: as starlings mass, the last swifts depart for Africa – and the closely-watched peregrine young of Malham Cove leave home. 

One of the 2019 young peregrines, image: by Dave Dimmock, a volunteer at the public viewpointOne of the 2019 young peregrines, image: by Dave Dimmock, a volunteer at the public viewpoint

The pair of peregrines at the Cove has this year put on a great show, successfully fledging a brood of four young.   It is only the second time four young have been fledged since peregrines returned to the Cove to breed in the early 1990s. 

Between the start of April and the 5th of August, more than 16,500 people stopped at a free public viewpoint at the foot of the Cove to see the birds. A dedicated team of volunteers from the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority contributed 151 full-time equivalent days to staff the viewpoint and help visitors enjoy the spectacle of watching the peregrine family.   

Wildlife Conservation Officer at the National Park Authority, Ian Court, said:  “It is great news that once again the peregrines have bred successfully at the Cove and managed to get four young away.  Visitors have been enthralled to watch their story unfold and it has been great to see so many people enjoy watching this iconic bird.” 


Health and Well-Being Survey Report: August 2019 - CIEEM

We have now published our Health and Well-Being Survey Report (August 2019).

CIEEM’s 2017-2018 Employment and Salary Survey revealed a profession that is passionate about their work, highly committed and motivated. But it also revealed a deep unhappiness with the reliance on working long and often unsocial hours, especially during the spring/summer months and there were many comments from respondents about the impact of work on their physical and mental well-being and their family life.

Since our health is a combination of our physical, mental and social well-being this suggested worrying signs of a health issue that was becoming ‘accepted’ as just the way it is in ecology and environmental management.

This survey was created to inform the planning of our Summer Conference which was on health and well-being in the profession. This report summarises the results from the survey and proposes some ideas for next steps, including feedback from conference delegates.

Read the report


Thames comes alive with seal pups - ZSL

138 harbour seals born in the Thames in a single year

The first ever comprehensive count of seal pups born in the Thames has provided clear evidence that harbour seals are breeding in London’s river. An incredible 138 pups were recorded by international conservation charity ZSL during the pioneering pup-count undertaken in 2018.

ZSL seal survey (image credit: ZSL / Tony Thomas)ZSL seal survey (image credit: ZSL / Tony Thomas) 

ZSL’s scientists tallied up the total of 138 pups after analysing hundreds of photos taken during the seal’s summer pupping season. The results of this analysis are being released by ZSL for the first time today (02.09.2019) and form part of UK-wide seal monitoring initiatives.  

The team took photos from a light aircraft as the seals rested, undisturbed on the sandbanks and creeks below. It is much easier, and so more accurate, to count the seals in photos instead of the constantly moving, playful creatures. The Thames is home to both harbour seals and grey seals, though it is only the harbour seals that breed here.

 Conservation Biologist, Thea Cox said: “We were thrilled to count 138 pups born in a single season. The seals would not be able to pup here at all without a reliable food source, so this demonstrates that the Thames ecosystem is thriving and shows just how far we have come since the river was declared biologically dead in the 1950s.”

 ZSL has conducted Thames seal population estimates annually since 2013. The most recent results, from 2017, recorded 1,104 harbour seals and 2,406 grey seals across the estuary.  ZSL’s population surveys show that seal numbers in the Thames are rising but it is yet unknown if this is due to resident seals having pups or from adults migrating from other regions where colonies are known to be dwindling. For the first time in 2018, therefore, the team at ZSL undertook a breeding survey. The aim going forward is that the two survey methods will complement each other and allow ZSL’s researchers to better understand the seals in the Thames and the reasons behind their changing numbers.


Fifty years of citizen science shows a positive response to climate change by a third of English breeding birds. - British Trust for Ornithology

New research, just published in the journal Bird Study, has shown that one third of 68 breeding species in England have been affected by climate change, leading to notable increases in some and declines in a few.

Looking at fifty years of data collected in England by citizen scientists as part of the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) long-term monitoring of bird populations, scientists from BTO and Natural England have shown that there are real effects of climate change on bird populations in England, particularly for a range of resident species during both the summer and winter.

Of the 68 species looked at, 24 showed evidence that changes in their populations were linked to temperature or rainfall. For thirteen species (including Corn Bunting, Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit), their populations appeared to be at least 10% larger as a result of climatic trends, whilst at least three species saw their numbers fall by at least 10% as a result of climate change - Cuckoo, Little Owl and Reed Warbler. 

Read the paper: J. W. Pearce-Higgins & H. Q. P. Crick (2019) One-third of English breeding bird species show evidence of population responses to climatic variables over 50 years, Bird Study, DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2019.1630360


Wild geese take climate action - University of St Andrews 

Migratory animals are actively adjusting their traditions to climate change, new research has found.

An international team of researchers from the University of St Andrews, with Norwegian, Dutch and British colleagues, found that barnacle geese have shifted their migratory route within the last 25 years.  In research published today (Monday 2 September) in the journal Global Change Biology, the research team concluded that individual geese have decided to change to the new route, and that other geese now learn the new habit from each other.  The study is among the first to provide hard evidence that wild animals are inventing new traditions to cope with climate change.

barnacle geese in flight (pixabay)Barnacle geese in flight (Nature Pix)

The migratory birds, who traditionally fuelled up (staged) just South of the Arctic circle in Norway on their journey from the UK to their breeding grounds on Svalbard, now mainly stage in northern Norway far above the Arctic circle.  The conclusions are based on analysis of 45 years of observations by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, the University of St Andrews, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, BirdLife Norway and the British Waterfowl and Wetlands Trust.

Dr Thomas Oudman of the School of Biology at the University of St Andrews said: “It makes sense that the birds went even further North, because where snow used to be very common there at the time of their arrival in Norway, these days it is often freshly green there: the most nutritious stage. What surprised us is that it is mainly the young geese who have shifted. The youngsters are responding to a trend they could not have experienced during their short life.”

Read the study (open access):  Tombre, IM, Oudman, T, Shimmings, P, Griffin, L, Prop, J. Northward range expansion in spring-staging barnacle geese is a response to climate change and population growth, mediated by individual experience. Glob Change Biol. 2019; 00: 1– 14. Doi: 10.1111/gcb.14793  


Seven wildcat kittens born at Highland Wildlife Park – RZSS

Seven rare wildcat kittens have been born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore, giving an extra boost to species recovery plans.

The kittens were born to two mothers, Lossie and Katrine, in the wildlife conservation charity’s off-show breeding enclosures which are designed to help retain and develop a range of key behaviours needed to survive in the wild.

RZSS are developing plans to deliver the first UK reintroduction project for wildcats, with potential release sites being explored in key locations. The plans also include the development of a dedicated wildcat reintroduction centre, based at Highland Wildlife Park.


Public concern for nature reaches all-time high – Natural England

New national statistics show changes in how people use and relate to the natural environment.

More people than ever before are concerned about damage to nature, new national statistics published today (3 September 2019) by Natural England show.

In the world’s biggest scientific study of its kind, Natural England’s ‘Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment’ (MENE) report shows that nine out of ten adults in England are concerned about increasing threats to the natural environment, with nearly two-thirds specifically worried about biodiversity loss.

While more people are spending time in nature than ever before, the research indicates clear inequalities in opportunity for engagement. Children from the most deprived areas are 20% less likely to spend time outside than those in affluent areas, while 70% of children from white backgrounds spend time outside once a week compared to 56% of children from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

The research also shows how important local parks and greenspaces are to the nation’s mental and physical wellbeing, with health and exercise the main reason why adults spend time outside and green spaces in towns and cities the most frequently visited natural environments.


One million seeds to be planted in UK’s biggest seagrass restoration scheme - Swansea University

Sky Ocean Rescue, leading conservation organisation WWF and Swansea University are launching the biggest seagrass restoration project ever undertaken in the UK, to help this important habitat to thrive once again.

Volunteer diver from Project Seagrass gathering seeds from the seabed in Porthdinllaen, Wales. (image: Swansea University)Volunteer diver from Project Seagrass gathering seeds from the seabed in Porthdinllaen, Wales. (Image: Swansea University)

Seagrass Ocean Rescue aims to restore 20,000 m2 of the marine plant in west Wales, following the disappearance of up to 92 per cent of the UK’s seagrass in the last century. The huge decline has been caused by pollution, runoff from the land, coastal development and damage from boat propellers and chain moorings.

Seagrass is a flowering marine plant that captures carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests, making it a key weapon in the battle against climate change. It often grows in large underwater meadows, which absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. As the fires continue to engulf the Amazon rainforest - the largest land-based carbon sink on the planet - the ocean’s role in halting climate change is becoming all the more important.

Alec Taylor, WWF head of marine policy, said: “Seagrass is a wonder-plant that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, so its steep decline is extremely concerning. Without seagrass the myriad of amazing species that depend on it could disappear, the food we eat will be affected and the amount of carbon in the environment will increase.

“Along with Sky Ocean Rescue and Swansea University we are urgently calling on governments to  use the model our project is creating to bring back these lush underwater meadows. Governments also need to work with local communities to ensure that these vital areas are well managed. The UK can become a global leader on restoring ocean health and combating climate change, if it uses the solutions that nature provides.”


Protecting Scotland’s Future - Scottish Government

Programme for Government 2019-20.

Ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and securing a positive future for generations to come are the focus of this year’s Programme for Government, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in Parliament.

Following the First Minister’s acknowledgement of a global climate emergency earlier this year, the Programme for Government sets out the Scottish Government’s next steps to tackle climate change, including a landmark investment of more than £500 million to improve bus infrastructure across the country to encourage more people to use public transport.

The First Minister also announced plans to decarbonise Scotland’s railways by 2035 and make the Highlands and Islands the world’s first net zero aviation region by 2040.

Response: Scottish Wildlife Trust responds to Programme for Government 2019/20

Responding to today’s publication of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2019-20, our Chief Executive Jo Pike said: “Urgent action is needed to tackle the closely intertwined climate and ecological emergencies. We believe that greater investment in nature, alongside concerted action to decarbonise our economy, is needed to ensure that Scotland lives up to the ambition to cut emissions to net-zero by 2045 and reverse the loss of biodiversity. We welcome the announcement that Regional Land Use plans will be developed across Scotland, alongside support to encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. These measures should help ensure that everyone involved in managing Scotland’s land plays their part in addressing the environmental challenges that affect us all. Hopefully the new approach to the Central Scotland Green Network in identifying the best opportunities to deliver the biggest climate change and biodiversity benefits to communities is something that can be applied at the national level in the near future. Scotland’s wildlife is under greater pressure than ever before, so it is encouraging to see the government talk about a step change in its efforts to address biodiversity loss. However, funding to help restore damaged peatlands and accelerate tree planting across the country is only a first step in delivering the natural solutions that are vital to addressing the twin emergencies”.

Read the report: Protecting Scotland’s Future’ – Programme for Government.


Proposed change to General Licence could have devastating effect on wild birds - Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

(image: Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)MAJOR rural organisations have joined forces to warn Natural Resources Wales (NRW) of the catastrophic consequences that a proposed change to the General Licence could have on wild birds.

(image: Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)

General Licences are issued in Wales by NRW under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.  General Licence 004 permits the killing or taking of certain birds, such as carrion crows and magpies, for the purpose of conserving other wild birds. However, under new proposals this month, the licence will only apply for “conserving red or amber listed birds of conservation concern”, meaning that all other wild birds could be exposed to new and significant predation.

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), The Countryside Alliance, British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW), NFU Cymru and The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) have been working closely with NRW on changes to the General Licences and have issued advice to NRW staff on several occasions.

NRW claims that its proposed changes to the General Licences are underpinned by evidence.  However, there is no proven necessity or evidence which justifies this particular change. Equally, there is no legal precedent in any other European country. The proposed change would see the licence for wild bird conservation in Wales look very different from the equivalent conservation licences in England and Scotland.  


Heather landscapes under threat due to climate change - National Trust

One of England’s celebrated landscape spectacles is suffering due to climate change as the impact of last year’s hot weather and increased pest activity has turned acres of heather from glorious purple to a muddy brown.

Through August and into early September, the hills at Long Mynd in Shropshire and at Holnicote on Exmoor are typically awash with a haze of purple.

But this year the National Trust, which cares for both landscapes, has seen up to 75 per cent of the heather in poor health due to a combination of last year’s drought and damage from the heather beetle.

Peter Carty, Countryside Parkland and Gardens Manager for the conservation charity in Shropshire said: “Last year’s high temperatures, and subsequent lack of rain, damaged a large area of heather and it is clear from the orangey brown colouration this year that the plants are seriously stressed and unlikely to flower. The milder winter also led to an increase in the heather beetle numbers, which are a natural element of the heather ecosystem, as it wasn’t cold enough to kill off their larvae.  The beetle affects heather by damaging the outer layers of the leaf, making it more susceptible to drought stress. In places where heather was sheltered from the extreme or where damp conditions were present, the heather has survived. However, there will be no mass flowering this year.” 

The lack of blooming heather has serious impacts on other wildlife, such as the red grouse and Emperor moth, which in its caterpillar stage, rely on the plant for food. 


CIEEM Declares Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Crisis - CIEEM

We have today issued a declaration on the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis. The declaration calls for action from our members, governments and society on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through nature-based solutions.

The declaration stresses that the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis are inextricably linked and must be addressed together. Restoring biodiversity has the potential to both mitigate against the effects of climate change, through enhancing carbon-storing habitats such as peat bogs, and helping society and nature to adapt to the inevitable challenges we face from a changing climate.

It is vital, as never before, that the work of CIEEM, its members and wider ecology and environment management professions continue to be at the forefront of targeted action. We have agreed to implement a number of actions to lead the way for the sector in taking urgent action to address the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

We will be forming a working group to formulate specific advice and actions for members and the sector to avoid or reduce operational impacts on climate and biodiversity when undertaking our roles. We have also committed to reviewing our own operational impacts across our offices, activities and procurement.


Biodiversity Indicators 2019 UK Biodiversity Indicators 2019 - JNCC

The latest update of the UK Biodiversity Indicators (2019) has now been published

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth: genes, species and ecosystems. It includes all species of animals and plants, and the natural systems that support them. Biodiversity matters because it supports the vital benefits humans get from the natural environment. It contributes to the economy, health and wellbeing, and it enriches our lives.  Indicators are useful tools for summarising and communicating broad trends. The UK biodiversity indicators have a specific purpose for international reporting and are dependent on a wide variety of data, provided by government, research bodies, and the voluntary sector – in total nearly 100 organisations are involved. The presentation and assessment of the indicators has been verified by the data providers, and the production and editing of the indicators has been overseen by government statisticians.  The UK biodiversity indicators set comprises 24 indicators and 49 measures.  Twenty-four of the 41 measures assessed over the long term show an improvement, compared to 18 of the 38 measures that are assessed over the short term.  Twelve measures show a decline in the long term, and nine a decline in the short term.  Measures that improved or deteriorated in the long term have not necessarily continued to improve or deteriorate respectively in the short term.


Britons hugely underestimate how hot planet has become and how much plastic waste is in the environment - King’s College London

Misperceptions about climate change and the natural environment are widespread in Britain

A new study  on misperceptions of climate change and environmental issues by the Policy Institute at King’s College London and Ipsos MORI shows how much Britain gets wrong about the challenges facing our planet.

The study, which supports today’s paperback publication of The Perils of Perception: Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything by Professor Bobby Duffy of the Policy Institute, also reveals that most of us recognise the seriousness of the threat to the global climate – and that we mostly see the lack of concern as caused by other people, rather than ourselves.

The public’s climate misperceptions

Global warming

  • On average, we guess that just 12 of the 20 hottest years on record were in the last 22 years, when the actual data shows that all 20 of the hottest years have come in this period.
  • Only a quarter of the public correctly guess 20 - while one in five people think just five or fewer of the last 22 years are the hottest on record

Plastic waste

  • The public are very wrong about what has happened to the 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste that has been created globally. Britons’ average guesses are that:
  • 26% is recycled, almost three times the reality of just 9%.
  • 25% is incinerated, double the reality of 12%.
  • 49% is still in the environment in landfill or as litter, when 79% is actually left like this.


  • Only a third (33%) of the public correctly think that the population sizes of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles in the world has fallen by 60% since 1970, which is the WWF estimate. However, just 7% think populations have stayed about the same.

Despite our misperceptions, we do think we’re facing a climate change emergency – but it’s other people that are the problem…

Read the report


Delivering the Forestry Strategy for Scotland - Forestry Scotland

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, today (6 September) announced the formation of a stakeholder reference group to advise on an implementation plan for Scotland’s Forestry Strategy.

The group, consisting of a range of forestry interests, draws on expertise in the economic, environmental and social drivers and benefits identified in the Strategy.

It will provide input to help formulate key delivery milestones, progress indicators and a reporting schedule for the implementation plan, which will help to realise the 50-year vision for forestry set out in the Strategy. 

Mr Ewing said; “The Strategy, which marked the beginning of a new era for forestry in Scotland, clearly sets out our far-sighted vision and ambitions for the future.  Having smashed the planting targets for this year, we are already making progress on delivering those ambitions but forestry can, and will do more. It has a pivotal role in tackling the climate emergency and steering us towards becoming a low carbon economy, in driving forward our rural economy, and in delivering more of the health and social benefits enjoyed by  communities across Scotland. Realising our ambitions will be a national endeavour involving partners and organisations in the public, private and third sectors, whose input into the implementation plan will help to identify what needs to be done, how each of us can best play our part and how we can evidence our actions.”


Rare tern breeds on the Isle of May - Scottish Natural Heritage

An extremely rare seabird has raised its chick on the Isle of May this summer – a clear sign that conservation action on the national nature reserve is working.

An adult roseate tern joined common, sandwich and Arctic tern colonies on the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) reserve in early June and paired with a common tern. The unlikely couple produced a single chick which successfully fledged in early August.

Dr Chris Redfern and Bex Outram SNH with Hybrid chick (credit SNH/David Steel)Dr Chris Redfern and Bex Outram SNH with Hybrid chick (credit SNH/David Steel)

Roseate terns are on the Red Data list as a species of high conservation concern.

No other roseate terns currently breed in Scotland. The only colony in the U.K. is in Northumberland, with single pairs in North Wales.

David Steel, SNH Nature Reserve Manager, explained, “We started constructing the first tern terraces on the island to help increase nesting habitat for terns in 2015. Over the last three years, we’ve increased both arctic and common tern breeding numbers, while also attracting sandwich terns back to the island. But this year, we have gone one better with this stunning roseate tern. Providing the right habitat and safe nesting sites for roseate terns is a major breakthrough. Although this year’s chick is the result of a hybrid pair, we will hopefully attract a pair of roseates in the next few years and bring another species back to Scotland as a regular breeder.”


4,896 marine mammals stranded on UK coast in seven years - ZSL

Report reveals causes of UK stranded porpoise, dolphin and whale deaths highlighting infectious disease and bycatch in fishing gear

 Sperm whale stranded in Pegwell Bay - image credit CSIP / ZSLSperm whale stranded in Pegwell Bay (image: CSIP / ZSL) 

A total of 4,896 harbour porpoises, dolphins and whales (cetaceans) were reported washed up on UK shorelines between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2017, according to a seven-year review published today (6 September 2019) by the UK Government and led by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London). 

Over the reporting period, researchers from the collaborative UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) recorded 21 different cetacean species – nearly one quarter of the total currently known to science – as well as six species of marine turtle and several species of large bodied sharks. The CSIP documented the highest number of strandings in a single year since the programme began in 1990, with more than 1,000 reported in 2017. The team also investigated several large-scale mass stranding events involving multiple animals, including one on 22 July 2011, in the Kyle of Durness, Scotland where 70 long-finned pilot whales stranded together. 

ZSL’s Rob Deaville, cetologist and report lead said: “We routinely produce reports like this for Defra and the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales, who co-fund the programme and 4,896 is an increase of about 15% on the previous seven-year period. It’s difficult to say conclusively what’s driven this rise, but it’s potentially associated with multiple causes, including increases in local reporting effort and seasonal variation in the population density of some species.”

 Researchers also conducted 1,030 post-mortem examinations over the period of the report, to identify why individual animals had died. Infectious disease and incidental entanglement in fishing gear - also known as bycatch - were two of the most common findings, although the likelihood of a particular cause of death varied between species. For example, bycatch accounted for 23% of common dolphin deaths and 14% of harbour porpoise deaths. Others caused directly by humans included 25 animals killed by ship-strike and a single Cuvier’s beaked whale that suffered a gastric impaction following the ingestion of marine litter in 2015. 

Download the full report (PDF) 


Natural killer of Himalayan Balsam offers hope for tackling troublesome invader - Broads Authority

Scientists and land managers have been enthused by promising results from a research site in the Broads National Park, where a killer ‘rust fungus’, which attacks the alien Himalayan Balsam is slowly spreading.

With its attractive pink flowers, this waterside-loving plant is invading the Broads so rapidly that scientists are concerned by its negative impact upon the riverbank and biodiversity. It out-competes native plants and increases the risk of soil erosion and flooding.

Many land managers struggle to control Himalayan Balsam and resort to expensive measures to halt its advance. The Environment Agency estimate that current measures to tackle the weed cost around £1 million annually, but would rise to £300 million to eradicate it entirely from the UK.

Last year, a research team released Himalayan Balsam plants infected with the killer rust-fungus onto sites around the banks of rivers Wensum, Glaven and Bure. The team, from the ‘RAPID LIFE’ project, the Norfolk Non-Native Species Initiative and the Broads Authority, have since observed the diseased plants spreading through the National Park area.


England biodiversity indicators - defra statistical update

A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services, biodiversity 2020 indicators: 2019 assessment.

Strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services, Biodiversity 2020 Indicators

This data set provides a detailed statistical update of 24 indicators that give an overview of biodiversity in England.

Download the Statistics (OpenDocument format)


Scientific Publication

Christie, A. P., Amano, T. , Martin, P. A., Shackelford, G. E., Simmons, B. I. and Sutherland, W. J. (2019), Simple study designs in ecology produce inaccurate estimates of biodiversity responses. J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13499


Mattia Menchetti, Maya Guéguen and Gerard Talavera Spatio-temporal ecological niche modelling of multigenerational insect migrations. Proc. R. Soc. B doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1583


Lynsey R. Harper, Lori Lawson Handley, Angus I. Carpenter, Muhammad Ghazali, Cristina Di Muri, Callum J. Macgregor, Thomas W. Logan, Alan Law, Thomas Breithaupt, Daniel S. Read, Allan D. McDevitt, Bernd Hänfling, Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding of pond water as a tool to survey conservation and management priority mammals. Biological Conservation. Volume 238, 2019, 108225, ISSN 0006-3207, doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108225.


Aušra Kamarauskaitė, Saulis Skuja & Rimgaudas Treinys (2019) Nesting habitat overlap between the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and the Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina for conservation planning in Natura 2000 sites, Bird Study, DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2019.1654976


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