Friday 3 April 2009
Today Defra released the new Biodiversity Indicators assessment for the UK.
Please click here for the Defra website and here for the JNCC website
Reassessments of the traffic lights (in simple terms a way of representing whether there is a problem or there is not) for existing recent trends show no improvements, while trends in the abundance of farmland birds and seabirds go from Orange to Red and the area of sensitive habitats threatened by acid rain goes from Green to Orange.
|A 'lost' species - Sussex diving beetle (Laccophilus poecilus) © Roger Key|
The assessment for the status of the priority species for nature conservation action (the Government’s UK Biodiversity Action Plan - or 'BAP' - list) has stayed Green, although this assessment has been contested by expert wildlife organisations because twice as many species are declining as are increasing. Please click here for further details.
The assessment shows that six of the species on the BAP list have been lost from the UK since the list was published in 1994, raising extinction crisis fears.
In 2007 (the most recent date) butterfly populations had their second worst year since records began in 1976.
Wildlife habitats are also in trouble with 55% of habitats deteriorating compared with just 20% improving.
“This is very bad news for the environment, for the last 10 years the Government has taken its eye off the health of wildlife populations and the issue of acid rain, we are now seeing the results” said Matt Shardlow, Director of Buglife - the Invertebrate Conservation Trust “We urgently need a boost of resources in a new Green Deal before we cause irreversible damage to Britain’s fragile habitats.”
New assessments of recent trends include:-
Breeding water and wetland birds - Orange
Wintering water birds - Red
Bat populations - Green
Genetic diversity of sheep - Orange
Genetic diversity of cows - Green
Arable plant diversity - Green
Woodland and grassland plant diversity - Red
Boundary habitat plant diversity - Red
Freshwater invasive species - Orange
Marine invasive species - Red
Terrestrial invasive species - Red
One trend that conservationists are very concerned about – Chemical river quality - which was orange and is imperilled by nutrient loading from farming has been dropped from the indicator set.
‘Lost’ species are:-
A pin-head lichen (Chaenotheca phaeocephala)
Bordered gothic moth (Heliophobus reticulata marginosa)
Orange upperwing moth (Jodia croceago)
Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
Sussex diving beetle (Laccophilus poecilus)
Brighton wainscot moth (Oria musculosa)