Thursday 15 September 2016

The State of Nature

The State of Nature reports for the UK have just been published and overall the news is not good. Scotland and indeed the UK as a whole are ranked in the lowest fifth of the world in terms of biodiversity intactness, which basically means how secure the future is for our wildlife.

There are many reasons why wildlife is facing so many challenges these days, habitat destruction and climate change being right at the top of the list. Habitats are being destroyed to make way for housing, sports developments, and mineral and fuel extraction while climate is changing quicker than most species are able to adapt and move themselves to more suitable areas.

The reports are full of statistics such as:

Over the long term, 44% of bird species declined and 56% increased. Among these, 30% showed
strong or moderate declines, 39% showed little change, and 31% showed strong or moderate increases.
Over the short term, 54% of bird species declined and 46% increased. Among these, 49% showed strong
or moderate decreases, 24% showed little change and 27% showed strong or moderate increases.

So although many species are declining some are increasing (such as red kites, which we enjoyed seeing on our recent holiday in Dumfries).  The overall picture however is one of steady decline in many species, a steady deterioration in the landscapes and wildlife around us. Which is tragic news for nature and for those of us who love nature.

The report highlights some of the ways in which we can help wildlife, though for example wildlife friendly farming practices and offers overviews of the state of various wildlife habitats (eg woodland and marine habitats). We need to offer a lot more help to nature if it is to thrive, but I do think that in many areas of the world there is the desire to do this - for example in Edinburgh the Living Landscape Project has recently planted wildflower meadows in the cities parks which are great for pollinators (you can see my blog post about these wildflower meadows here). (On the other hand Edinburgh is planning to expand to a huge extent in the near future, destroying large areas of farmland, including (probably) the fields at Cammo which I've blogged about here).

The State of Nature Report is essential, but sobering, reading for anyone concerned with the state of nature in the UK.

You can read the full State of Nature Scotland report here and the UK report here.


sage said...

The great increase in one specie for a short time can also bring devastation on an ecosystem. Our "artificial boundaries" such as freeways have also reduced the strength of certain species as they can't move as far and their mating becomes more inbred.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

It's a good thing for charities to encourage us to grow pollinator friendly plants and build homes for hedgehogs, but on the other side, we're going to have government supported green belt building soon. WHat can you do?

Magyar said...

So well agreed Sage_!
__ The great increase in one species... can 'poison population'. The world population has more than doubled in the last 50 years; such a minimal time, if one compares that 50 years, to our Earth's overall age. (gi-ant)

giant mounds
as rivers change course
the deserts grow


Lowcarb team member said...

I fear it is not only the UK ...

There is this report, it has also been on the news - if each and every one of us could do just one small thing, surely all these small things could make a huge difference?

Alas perhaps there is no one answer to this problem ... but many. However, this report should not be ignored but further action needs to be taken otherwise what legacy will we leave behind for others?

All the best Jan

RG said...

In our state (Washington) we passed the "Growth Management Act" quite a few years ago. It requires that 75% of growth in each county be within city limits and only 25% in rural areas. There are quite a few programs to extinguish and development rights on rural properties. As a result, rural land is being preserved and more lightly used, but housing in the cities is harder and harder to get and more expensive as less and less low-cost land is available. Just 70 miles south (Seattle) and 70 miles north (Vancouver B.C.) housing costs are quite high and getting higher. People with low wage service-jobs have a very difficult situation.

'Tis a quandary.