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


Research suggests ponies could play critical role in Dartmoor's future health - University of Plymouth

The study was designed to gather scientific evidence to assess the benefits of ponies as conservation grazers

Dartmoor ponies are among the most iconic species of any British moorland (Credit Lloyd Russell, University of Plymouth)Dartmoor ponies are among the most iconic species of any British moorland (Credit Lloyd Russell, University of Plymouth)

Dartmoor ponies are among the most iconic species of any British moorland. But a dramatic decline in population since the 1950s has led to widespread concern about their long-term survival prospects and an urgent requirement to recognise their value as conservation grazers.

A research project – the initial findings of which are released today (Saturday 16 Nov) – suggests the ponies not only make a positive contribution to conservation management on Dartmoor, but are also a suitable option for conservation grazing throughout the country.

The research project – coordinated by the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT) with researchers at the University of Plymouth – was designed to gather scientific evidence to assess the benefits of ponies as conservation grazers.

It was launched in 2017 in response to requests from Defra and Natural England to assist with the planning of future stewardship schemes such as ELMS (Environmental Land Management System) and to help evaluate the potential contribution of ponies as part of grazing and land management across England.

Specifically, it hoped to find ways of reducing the dominance of purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea) and encouraging the re-establishment of more traditional dwarf shrubs such as common heather (Calluna vulgaris).

The findings, revealed at the Annual Research Lecture hosted by the Dartmoor Society, showed that salt blocks can be used to attract ponies to targeted areas of Molinia-dominated moorland, where other management strategies are not sustainable. It also found measurable increases in the growth of other plant species.


UK National Parks Volunteer Awards 2019

Paul Rose presents winners with their UK National Parks Volunteer Awards
TV presenter and explorer Paul Rose today presented winners with their UK National Parks Volunteer Awards, at a ceremony sponsored by Columbia Sportswear. The Awards recognise the outstanding contribution that volunteers make in helping to care for National Park landscapes and inspiring others to care for them.

The winners are:

  • Individual Award - David Bream (North York Moors National Park)
  • Young Person Award (25 and under) - Katie Armstrong (Northumberland National Park)
  • Group Award - South Tyne Sustainability (Northumberland National Park)
  • Project Award - Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms (Cairngorms National Park)

The four awards, including group and project bursaries supported by CLIF, were presented by Paul Rose at the Kendal Mountain Festival on Saturday 16th November. Winners were presented with their award on stage in the lively ‘basecamp’ area of the Kendal Mountain Festival, and had a chance to talk to the audience about what volunteering means to them.

There were four categories of award: individuals, young people, groups and projects. The judging panel this year was made up of the volunteer coordinators from all of the National Parks and they made the following statement: “Judging these awards is a humbling experience as it gives us the opportunity to learn about so many people and projects that are making an immense contribution to the 15 National Parks across the UK. It was a difficult choice this year as there were so many inspiring entries.”


RTPI guidance on Biodiversity in Planning - Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning

Biodiversity in Planning Guide (RTPI)New guide for planners on Biodiversity in Planning

In the face of growing street protests and alarming news reports about global species decline, what can planning authorities do to address the biodiversity crisis? A new RTPI Practice Advice Note aims to help…

The most recent ‘State of Nature’ report shows that, despite clear warnings and commitments to local and national action, trends in the natural world are looking worse than the last review in 2016, with one in seven species threatened with extinction in Great Britain. This decline is linked to various factors, including intensive agriculture which involves habitat loss, reduction in soil quality and heavy use of fertilisers and pesticides. Pollution, from over-consumption and the production of waste, is harming many species and habitats. Rapid urbanisation is fragmenting habitats and degrading the natural environment. Climate change is also affecting biodiversity with extreme weather events and changes in the pattern of seasons affecting wildlife behaviour and forcing some species to seek more habitable climates. In addition, non-native invasive species, such as the Canada Goose, Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed, are out-competing native species or spreading disease.

The RTPI is one of 19 conservation, planning and development organisations involved in the ‘Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning’, a project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, seeking to promote the importance of biodiversity in planning and development. The partners argue that, through better planning and development humanity can both benefit from and live more harmoniously with nature. A new RTPI Practice Advice Note on ‘Biodiversity in Planning’ has been produced by the partnership to highlight some of the key areas that local planning authorities (LPAs) throughout the UK can focus on to fulfil their statutory Biodiversity duty.

Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning recently wrote an in-depth article for CJS about how small developers need to think about their wildlife impact, read it here


Going the extra mile! New research into badger dispersal could minimise bovine TB spread - Trinity College Dublin

Zoology researchers from Trinity, working with the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine (DAFM) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), have unlocked the secrets of dispersing badgers.

Their research, reported today, has major implications for implementing vaccination programmes to limit the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB).

The findings come at an opportune time, as DAFM has commenced rolling out a national programme to vaccinate badgers in its efforts to eradicate TB.

Badgers are a protected species and are one of Ireland’s most iconic wild creatures, but they can harbour TB and inadvertently transfer it to cattle. Infected cattle must be culled, which results in the loss of millions of euro each year in the agricultural sector, which can devastate individual farmers and their families.

Vaccinating badgers against TB provides an excellent option to mitigating these risks, but to do that effectively, it is imperative to understand how badgers move around in the wild and to target those most likely to spread disease. Badgers are social animals, living together in a shared territory.

In the research, just published in leading international journal Ecology and Evolution, the zoologists describe the process of dispersal in greater detail than ever before after trapping and vaccinating 139 badgers, and monitoring their movements closely.

Read the paper: Gaughran, A., MacWhite, T., Mullen, E., Maher, P., Kelly, D. J., Good, M. & Marples, N. M. Dispersal patterns in a medium-density Irish badger population: Implications for understanding the dynamics of tuberculosis transmission (open access) Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5753


European funding lifeline for wildcats in Scotland – RZSS

Wildcats in Scotland have been handed a vital lifeline, with European funding secured to deliver a Saving Wildcats (#SWAforLIFE) recovery project that includes the development of the UK’s first wildcat reintroduction centre.

Image: JP Pope (RZSS)Image: JP Pope (RZSS)

Situated at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore, the centre will provide facilities for breeding, veterinary care, remote monitoring and training, with wildcats potentially being released into Cairngorms National Park.

A report published in February by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Cat Specialist Group concluded there is no longer a viable wildcat population living wild in Scotland, with hybridisation with domestic and feral cats the major threat to their survival. This means the extinction of the species is highly likely without wildcat releases.

Over the next six years, RZSS will lead the Saving Wildcats project which will build on the work of the Scottish Wildcat Action partnership, supported by a £3.2 million EU LIFE grant and co-funding from the Garfield Western Foundation, the National Trust for Scotland, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the European Nature Trust.

The wildlife conservation charity will work with Scottish Natural Heritage, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Forestry and Land Scotland, as well as European partners Norden’s Ark from Sweden and Spain’s Junta De Andalucía, which have led the successful recovery of the Iberian lynx. The plan is to release the first wildcats in 2022, with potential locations being explored in the Cairngorms.


New report shows nature-friendly hill farms can be more profitable – The Wildlife Trusts

A new report into the unique challenges upland farmers face shows that focusing on margin over volume could help farmers weather formidable trading conditions, and political uncertainty.

The report’s authors call on the future government to support hill farmers with business advice packages and to offer greater stability through payments which recognise their role as guardians of nature and the environment.

Farmers already face impossibly tight profit margins, increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather and consumer demand for ultra-low food prices. Profit challenges are felt most acutely in the uplands and other marginal areas such as coasts and remote islands.

The report uncovered evidence that the current business system makes it harder for farmers to turn a profit. Contrary to popular belief, the report found that inputs such as expensive artificial fertilisers generally fail to increase profit margins. Instead, profitability can be improved by taking a lower input, nature friendly approach which relies only on the farm’s own natural assets, i.e. grass available on the farm. 

Moving away from a business model that prioritises production over profit will not only boost farm finances but could also deliver huge benefits for the incredible wildlife which depends upon upland habitats, such as flower-rich meadows and pastures.

UK upland areas are home to internationally important wildlife, contain 11 of the 15 national parks in Great Britain and large areas are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves and Special Areas of Conservation.

But the wildlife in these traditionally nature-rich areas is struggling – 12 of the 36 species of bird living in the uplands are now on the Red List, and 15 per cent of upland species are at threat of extinction.

The report’s authors urge farmers to work together and seize the opportunity to market themselves as a premium, nature-friendly and eco-conscious brand.

Read the report here


The Bug Issue - BIAZA

Some of the most well known mega fauna is facing an extinction crisis but often in the world of conservation, invertebrates are overlooked. It's stated that 20% of invertebrate life is at risk of extinction, it’s predicted that over 150,000 species of invertebrates will go extinct by 2050 unless we take action.

Stag Party (image: Beau-Jensen McCubbin - Hanwell zoo)Stag Party (image: Beau-Jensen McCubbin - Hanwell zoo)

In the UK there are roughly 40,000 native invertebrate species, many of which are facing extinction right in front of our eyes.

The Bug Issue is a new conservation campaign led by the BIAZA Terrestrial Invertebrate Working Group (TIWG) that will focus on conserving some of the most endangered native invertebrates to the UK and Ireland.

The Bug Issue is proposing a new way to address the conservation of 20 forgotten invertebrate species, that are on the edge of extinction. By working with TIWG and BIAZA, zoos and aquariums local to the species will become conservation hubs and coordinate species action plans following advice and guidance from local experts and groups. Zoos and aquariums will help the species in whatever way the species requires this could be field surveys, habitat restoration, breeding, research, raising public awareness and more.

But to make this campaign a success we need your zoological collections' help! We ask any and all collections interested and wanting to get involved to register their interest by December 31st 2019. The more zoos and aquariums we have wanting to get involved, the bigger impact we can have and increase our chances of saving local invertebrates. A crisis meeting will be held before April 2020. Can you help?  Please email: bugissue2020@outlook.com


First evidence of the impact of climate change on Arctic Terns – Newcastle University

New study shows how changes in Antarctic sea ice is driving one of the world’s smallest seabirds to forage further for food.

Data collected from electronic tags retrieved from 47 journeys made by the Farne Island Arctic Terns, has revealed for the first time how climate change might affect their behaviour.

Image: Chris RedfernImage: Chris Redfern

Arctic Terns spend their breeding and non-breeding seasons in polar environments at opposite ends of the world and are our longest-migrating seabird.

Spending their non-breeding season in the Antarctic, the remoteness of this part of the world means that until now we have had a very limited understanding of their behaviour and distribution while they are there.

Sensitive to climate change

Analysing the data from 47 migrations over two study years, 2015 and 2017, the team found:

  • Arctic Terns live on the Antarctic ice for one third of their annual lifecycle.
  • Analysis of their feathers shows their main food source is krill or similar crustaceans.
  • There were marked differences in the bird’s behaviour and distribution between those tagged in 2015 compared with those tagged in 2017.  This coincided with a substantial change in ice conditions, with high ice cover in 2015 followed by unusually warm conditions which led to the break-up of the ice in late 2016 and lower ice cover than normal throughout the following year.

Dr Chris Redfern, of Newcastle University, who has led the study explained: “Sea ice is an important habitat for juvenile krill as it provides protection from predators and from the intense light of the Antarctic summer. We now know that krill are the main food source for the Terns so it seems likely the warmer weather during 2016/2017 led to reduced krill abundance and so the birds were forced to forage in different areas."

Read the paper:Use of sea ice by Arctic Terns Sterna paradisaea in Antarctica and impacts of climate change.’ Chris Redfern and Richard Bevan. Journal of Avian Biology. DOI:  10.1111/jav.02318


Scientists uncover resistance genes for deadly ash tree disease - Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

New research has identified the genetic basis of resistance to ash dieback in UK trees, opening up new avenues for conservation.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew sequenced the DNA from over 1,250 ash trees to find inherited genes associated with ash dieback resistance.

The study, published in leading journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, showed that resistance is controlled by multiple genes, offering hope that surviving trees could be used to restore diseased woodlands, either by natural regeneration or selective breeding.

Professor Richard Nichols, author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, said: “We found that the genetics behind ash dieback resistance resembled other characteristics like human height, where the trait is controlled by many different genes working together, rather than one specific gene. Now we have established which genes are important for resistance we can predict which trees will survive ash dieback. This will help identify susceptible trees that need to be removed from woodlands, and provide the foundations for breeding more resistant trees in future.”

Samples were collected from ash trees in a Forest Research mass screening trial, which comprises 150,000 trees planted across 14 sites in South East England.

The researchers screened for resistance genes using a rapid, cost-effective approach, where the DNA of multiple trees was combined into separate pools for diseased and unaffected trees.

Many of the genes found to be associated with ash dieback resistance were similar to those previously shown to be involved in disease or pathogen responses in other species.


New report reveals Britain’s hazel dormice have declined by over 50% since 2000 - People’s Trust for Endangered Species

Loss of quality woodland habitat is a major factor and woodland management is critical to halting the decline of this charismatic species

 Today [Wednesday 20th November 2019] a new report published by People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has revealed that Britain’s population of hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) has declined by 51% since the millennium, decreasing on average by 3.8% per year.

The State of Britain’s Dormice 2019 report underlines the importance of providing the right habitat for dormice, and maintaining such habitats via correct woodland management practices, is the key to bringing this endangered species back from the brink.

In Britain, dormice – known for their endearing appearance with soft caramel fur, furry tail and big black eyes – are threatened and are considered to be vulnerable to extinction. In fact, hazel dormice are already extinct from 17 counties in England. The areas where they are still known to exist are almost all entirely south of a line between Shropshire and Suffolk.

Ian White, Dormouse & Training Officer at PTES, explains: “The decline in dormouse numbers is due to the loss and fragmentation of their natural woodland and hedgerow habitats, as well as climate change. In particular, it’s the loss of habitat quality that’s of real concern. Sympathetic woodland management is essential for the recovery of dormice. Whether woodlands are managed for timber or public access, shrubby areas should be created beneath the tree canopy. These provide dormice, and many other species with areas to nest and feed in while also being able to access the mature trees. It is this variety of woodland habitats required to help dormice survive.”

Hazel dormice are arboreal mammals who prefer structurally diverse habitats – they use tree holes to nest in, dense woodland understory to raise their young and feed in, and hedgerows and bramble banks to disperse through. Critically, the way in which woodlands are managed has changed – with traditional management practices such as coppicing, glade creation and small-scale tree felling (which once created mosaic habits) becoming less common, and as a result many of the woodlands we see today simply aren’t suitable for dormice. These factors, combined with unseasonable or extreme weather (which can affect survival over the winter and impact on their ability to raise young), can be detrimental to dormice survival.


National Trust announces first beaver reintroductions - National Trust

The National Trust has announced plans to release Eurasian beavers at two sites in the south of England next spring to help with flood management and to improve biodiversity.

The beaver reintroductions will be the first made by the conservation charity, linking to its ambitions to create priority habitats for nature and to increase the diversity of species and wildlife numbers on the land in its care. 

Having once been an important part of the ecosystem, beavers became extinct in the UK in the 16th century due to hunting for their fur, meat and scent glands.

The plans, approved by Natural England, will see a pair of these fascinating mammals released into each of two fenced areas of woodland at Holnicote on the edge of Exmoor in Somerset, and a pair at Valewood on the Black Down Estate on the edge of the South Downs. 

Ben Eardley, Project Manager for the National Trust at Holnicote says: “Our aim is that the beavers become an important part of the ecology at Holnicote, developing natural processes and contributing to the health and richness of wildlife in the area. Their presence in our river catchments is a sustainable way to help make our landscape more resilient to climate change and the extremes of weather it will bring. They will be part of our innovative ‘Stage 0’ project, part of our Riverlands work which is about restoring natural process and complexity in parts of the river catchment.  In doing so they will help us achieve a more natural flow pattern, slowing, cleaning and storing water and developing complex river habitats. The dams the beavers create will hold water in dry periods, help to lessen flash-flooding downstream and reduce erosion and improve water quality by holding silt.”

David Elliott, National Trust Lead Ranger for Valewood in the South Downs, said: “Beavers are nature’s engineers and can create remarkable wetland habitats that benefit a host of species including water voles, wildfowl, craneflies, water beetles and dragonflies.  These in turn help support breeding fish and insect eating birds such as spotted flycatchers. There are just a handful of sites in the British Isles that have beavers.  This is a different way of managing sites for wildlife - a new approach, using a native animal as a tool. The beavers will live along the stream at Valewood and gradually create little ponds, dams and rivulets. Making a habitat that is perfect for them and for many birds, amphibians and invertebrates - vibrant and alive with dappled light under coppiced trees.”

Both projects will be carefully monitored with help from Exeter University and others, to note both ecological and hydrological changes to habitat.


New study shines light on fox control - Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

A ground breaking new study has shone a light on the real impact of fox control.

Picture by Laurie CampbellTom Porteus, a predation expert from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), analysed data from 22 shooting estates over three consecutive years using a sophisticated computer model.

By doing so, Dr Porteus was able to reconstruct the unseen processes taking place during fox culling, such as the production of cubs and immigration from other locations. The number of foxes alive within the estate was estimated fortnight by fortnight, so the changes in numbers over time can be clearly illustrated.

Picture by Laurie Campbell

He found that all 22 gamekeepers achieved a reduction in fox density when ground-nesting birds are most vulnerable to predation by foxes in spring and early summer. Fox density at the start of this period was on average 47% of what it would have been without culling – and on a few estates it was close to zero.

The rate at which culled foxes were replaced by immigration varied among sites, and affected success.  On one estate it was as rapid as 2 foxes per week. This highlights the intensive and sustained control effort than can be required.

Dr Porteus, lead author of the Population dynamics of foxes during restricted-area culling in Britain: advancing understanding through state-space modelling of culling records, published in PLOS ONE, said: “This paper expands our understanding of the impact of fox culling in a range of circumstances, and what determines success or failure.”

Read the Paper: Porteus T A, Reynolds J C, McAllister M K (2019) Population dynamics of foxes during restricted-area culling in Britain: Advancing understanding through state-space modelling of culling records. PLOS ONE 14(11): e0225201. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225201


Award winning mental health programme travels half way round the world! - Forestry and Land Scotland

An award winning Forestry and Land Scotland Woodland Activity Programme for people living with dementia has attracted the attention of the policy and research team at Alzheimers New Zealand.

The FLS programme gives people living with early-stage dementia opportunities to take part in an innovative and fun programme of woodland activities ranging from woodland walks to bushcraft skills, and from woodland cooking to environmental art.

After picking up news of the award online, the Policy and Research team within Alzheimers New Zealand got in touch with the FLS team to learn more about the programme. The FLS initiative will be highlighted in Alzheimers NZ’s newsletter targeting the dementia care sector.

Gordon Harper, Community Ranger for the FLS central region team that runs the programme, said; “Everyone who comes along – including carers and support workers – tell us that being in the woods works wonders. The complete sensory experience of just being in a woodland and reconnecting with nature is a powerful way of giving people living with dementia access to early memories, giving them confidence in their ability to take on new experiences and boosting their self-esteem. The programme has won high praise from participants and their support workers, and has received accolades from mental- health practitioners but to have caught the attention of health professionals on the other side of the world is quite a testament to the programme’s efficacy and success. New Zealand isn’t exactly short on forests so hopefully our programme will find a new home.”

People enrolled on the FLS programme take part in a three hour stint of woodland-based activity every week for ten weeks (Jun –Sept) at locations across Central and south Scotland.


Otter alert - Natural Resources Wales

In order to help the otter population in Wales survive and flourish, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking people to spot and report dead otters as part of a UK-wide project.

(image: NRW)(image: NRW)

The Cardiff University Otter Project was set up in 1992 to autopsy dead otters, to map their genetic diversity, age and distribution across the UK, and to monitor pollution in rivers and streams

Information on otters is difficult to gather due to their elusive nature, however in order to support the species scientists need to build a picture of the health and spread of the native otter population. 

People are asked to report sightings of dead otters to NRW by calling 03000 65 3000. NRW will then collect the body and deliver it to the Otter Project for analysis.

Hannah Mitchell, NRW Conservation Officer said: “If you spot a dead otter, please stop and take a photo and then report it to NRW, giving us as much detail as possible about its location. The more detail we have about where the otter has been found, the better chance we have of finding and collecting it. When the university does an autopsy, they look at a variety of things including weight and length; sex, age, reproductive status; teeth - wear, breakages, or signs of infection; abnormalities of abdominal and other organs. Your effort in reporting a dead animal will help us to gather valuable information about this secretive species, which in turn will help our efforts to ensure their ongoing revival.”


Study finds a green solution in halving children’s pollutant exposure - University of Surrey

Simply planting a hedge in front of a park can halve the amount of traffic pollution that reaches children as they play, finds a new study by the University of Surrey.

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) conducted a five-month continuous experiment, measuring traffic pollutants  with the use of emerging pollution sensing technology behind and in front of a hedge that shielded a children’s park in Guildford, United Kingdom.

The study aimed to measure any discernible difference in pollution reduction during the vegetation cycle of a Beech hedge – from dormancy to green-up to maturity.  

The results showed that a drop in pollution concentration levels behind the hedge was dominated by three factors – the weather, public holidays, and the stage of the hedge’s life cycle.

GCARE experts reported reductions of more than 50 per cent of the particulate matter after the hedge’s green-up stage in late April. Experts believe that this could be because the density of the hedge or the stickiness of the leaves had a sizable impact on particle pollutants passing through it. However, the results also revealed smaller reductions for gaseous pollutants including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and that wind direction had little impact on the concentration levels. 

Read the paper: Ottosen, T-B., Kumar, P., 2020.  The influence of the vegetation cycle on the mitigation of air pollution by a deciduous roadside hedge. Sustainable Cities & Society, 101919 doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2019.101919


University of Plymouth awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for world-leading microplastics work

 The University of Plymouth has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its ground-breaking research and policy impact on microplastics pollution in the oceans.

microplastics on the beach (image: University of Plymouth)microplastics on the beach (image: University of Plymouth)

The honour, the highest that can be bestowed upon a higher education institution, recognises nearly two decades of world-leading enquiry by Plymouth researchers, led by Professor Richard Thompson OBE, which has resulted in repeated scientific breakthroughs and influenced national and international legislation.

Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, said: “The award of our third Queen’s Anniversary Prize is a huge honour for the University and recognises the pioneering role that it has played in not only defining a global environmental issue, but working to find solutions to it. Challenges on this scale require a coordinated response at a societal level, and what really sets the institution apart is its willingness to engage with all parties in a bid to stimulate change. Richard Thompson and his team’s work in microplastics, indeed defining the very problem itself, is part of the University’s wider and globally renowned marine and maritime research, which, through a wide range of disciplines, addresses some of the world’s most pressing issues.”


Trust launches ambitious campaign to plant thousands of trees across the South Downs National Park - South Downs National Park

logo: Trees for the DownsA major new initiative launches today (22/11/19) to plant 5,000 trees across the South Downs National Park.

Coinciding with National Tree Week, “Trees for the Downs” will aim to restore trees that have been lost due to pests and diseases, including Ash Dieback and Dutch Elm Disease.  The South Downs National Park Trust, the official charity for the National Park, is now aiming to raise £61,500 to plant the trees.  The campaign will aim to restore iconic trees that have been lost at community spaces and along roads or popular walking routes.   Trees for the Downs will complement existing schemes run by the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust, focusing on planting trees at community spaces and along popular routes, rather than larger-scale replanting in woodlands.

Andy Player, who leads on woodland for the South Downs National Park, said: “Trees are a glorious natural asset – they give us air to breathe, support countless species of wildlife, and enrich the beauty of our local environment. As a carbon capturer, they will also be a key tool in tackling climate change.  But our wonderful trees are under unprecedented threat from an ever-increasing number of pests and diseases. Increasing the number and diversity of our native trees, and carefully introducing new species into the landscape, will be a big help in responding to these threats. ’Trees For The Downs’ will be a historic replanting initiative and it’s exciting to be able to launch this as the South Downs National Park prepares to mark its 10th birthday." 

The Tree Council recently wrote an article about Tree Week: Be a #TreeChampion this #NationalTreeWeek. 23 November – 1 December, you can read it here.


Scientific Publications

Stope, M. Wild raccoons in Germany as a reservoir for zoonotic agents  Eur J Wildl Res (2019) 65: 94. doi:10.1007/s10344-019-1339-6 


Avalon C.S. Owens, Précillia Cochard, Joanna Durrant, Bridgette Farnworth, Elizabeth K. Perkin, Brett Seymoure, Light pollution is a driver of insect declines, Biological Conservation, 2019, 108259, ISSN 0006-3207, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108259.


Murphy, S., Evans, P. G. H., Pinn, E. & Pierce, G. J. Conservation management of common dolphins: Lessons learned from the North-East Atlantic (open access) Aquatic Conservation DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3212


Fabrizio Gili, Stuart E. Newson, Simon Gillings, Dan E. Chamberlain, Jennifier A. Border, Bats in urbanising landscapes: habitat selection and recommendations for a sustainable future, Biological Conservation, 2019, 108343, ISSN 0006-3207, doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108343.


Gotanda, KM. Human influences on antipredator behaviour in Darwin’s finches. J Anim Ecol. 2019; 00: 1– 9.  doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13127


Hansjoerg P. Kunc Rouven Schmidt The effects of anthropogenic noise on animals: a meta-analysis Biol. Lett. doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0649


Roxanne Leberger, Isabel M.D. Rosa, Carlos A. Guerra, Florian Wolf, Henrique M. Pereira, Global patterns of forest loss across IUCN categories of protected areas, Biological Conservation, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108299.


Smout, S, King, R, Pomeroy, P. Environment-sensitive mass changes influence breeding frequency in a capital breeding marine top predator. J Anim Ecol. 2019; 00: 1– 13. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13128


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