The accidental restoration of a large area of downland due to a personal obsession to conserve one particular species of dung beetle.
Dung beetles are vital to healthy soil systems where livestock are present. They perform a variety of ecosystem services, and are in turn, a food source for other invertebrates, reptiles, birds and mammals. Research has now shown that only a quarter of all UK dung beetle species remain in a state of ‘least concern’ with the rest considered regionally extinct or threatened. We have already lost species of dung beetles entirely due to extinction in the UK. A previously well-established dung beetle to this area, Onthophagus joannae, was noted to be now regionally rare to regionally extinct. One very small extremely vulnerable population was found to be remaining on the calcareous grassland bank near Berrycroft Hub, inhabiting a very small area of considerably less than half an acre. Hear about how one person’s accidental restoration of a large area of downland due to a personal obsession to conserve one particular species of dung beetle.
Sally-Ann Spence is a farmer & an entomologist who specialises in dung beetles & pastureland biodiversity. She founded the UK Dung Beetle Mapping Project accumulating species data. Her work with the project has seen her surveying field sites all over the UK including many outlying islands enabling her to study a multitude of grazing systems. This practical experience has been translated into collaborative projects working on sustainable land management plans within the farming community to promote dung beetles as important bio-indicators for soil, pasture & livestock health. As a founding member of Dung Beetles for Farmers, she remains a passionate advocate of British farming & biodiversity.
entoLIVE is delivered by the Biological Recording Company and sponsored by:
- British Entomological and Natural History Society
- Field Studies Council
- Nurturing Nature project (part of the Chase & Chalke Landscape Partnership funded by the National Lottery Heritage fund)
- Royal Entomological Society