State of Nature report

Starling. Ben Andrew

The UK’s wildlife continues to decline according to the State of Nature 2019 report. The latest findings show that since rigorous scientific monitoring began in the 1970s there has been a 13% decline in average abundance across wildlife studied and that the declines continue unabated.

Leading professionals from more than 70 wildlife organisations including The Wildlife Trusts have joined with government agencies for the first time, to present the clearest picture to date of the status of our species across land and sea.

The State of Nature 2019 report reveals that 41% of UK species studied have declined, 26% have increased and 33% shown little change since 1970, while 133 species assessed have already been lost from our shores since 1500.

Butterfly numbers are down by 17% and moth populations are down by 25%. Species like the High Brown Fritillary and Grayling that require more specialised habitats have declined by more than 75%.

More than 26% of the UK’s mammals are at risk of disappearing altogether. The Wild Cat and Greater Mouse-eared Bat are among those species teetering on the edge of disappearing.

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Governments, conservation groups and individuals must work together to restore our land and sea for wildlife and people in a way that is both ambitious and inspiring for future generations.
Daniel Hayhow
Lead author on the State of Nature report

Evidence from the last 50 years shows that the way we manage land for agriculture and climate change are having the biggest impacts on nature.

Whilst emissions of many pollutants have reduced dramatically in recent decades, pollution continues to impact the UK’s sensitive habitats and freshwaters.

The data is alarming but there is cause for cautious hope. The report showcases a range of exciting initiatives, with partnerships delivering inspiring results for UK’s species such as Bitterns and Large Blue Butterfly, which are being saved through the concerted efforts of organisations and individuals.

Amidst growing concern about the environment, public support for conservation continues to grow, with NGO expenditure up 26% since 2010/11 and volunteer time increasing by 40% since 2000. However, public sector spending on biodiversity as a proportion of GDP has fallen by 42% since 2008/09.

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