What’s Going On Here?
UK wildlife continues to be in decline, according to the State of Nature Report published this week. Since 1970, we have continuously lost nature, with 41% of species (plants and animals) decreasing in number.
What Does This Mean?
The report is an update from the 2016 report, but was a much larger undertaking than previous years. For the 2019 report, over 70 environmental organisations and research organisations collaborated and used their expertise to provide ‘the clearest picture to date of the status of our (the UK’s) species across land and seas”.
As well as measuring species abundance and the number of critically endangered species (according to international standards), the report also detailed the main drivers of this decline. These included climate change (surprise surprise), modern-day farming methods (we no likey pesticides here!) and other common suspects such as pollution and invasive species.
Why Should We Care?
UK wildlife is one of the most measured and surveyed in the world, and this report has implications beyond our green and pleasant land. Results mimic declines witnessed around the world, as we continue to undermine the natural systems that help to keep us all happy and healthy.
Nature provides so many benefits we don’t even realise, positively impacting our physical health and mental health and wellbeing. By diminishing wildlife, we are having a negative impact on society, as well as the environment, and reducing nature’s resilience to future changes (like continuing climate change). When we lose one species, this impacts other species and entire ecosystems – basically biodiversity (lots of different species all living together) is really important and beneficial!
However, rather than see this report as a sorrowful news story, it is also a source of inspiration and hope. There are so many opportunities to conserve nature and encourage wildlife within the UK. Already we have seen otters reintroduced into less polluted waters and the fen raft spider pulled back from extinction through the restoration of its habitat! The report also shows that time donated by volunteers towards conservation projects has increased by a whopping 41% since 2000 – may it continue to rise!
- Bring wildlife into your local area – check out these tips for your garden – note that these can also be applied in your local green spaces if you don’t have access to private green space!
- Support nature-friendly farming – buy organic, buy local and buy from reputable farming organisations/businesses that practice farming methods that allow wildlife to flourish alongside their crop and livestock.
- Support initiatives that increase wildlife – get involved in schemes and events run by the Wildlife Trust and other nature-based conservation organisations e.g. RSPB, National Trust
- Go wild – explore our wild spaces around the country (treating them with respect of course!) We like these recommendations..