We can do more for nature when we work together! We've pulled together some great examples of how businesses, partners, supporters and individuals have helped us achieve even more for nature in 2018.
Our reserves are constantly evolving landscapes and need a lot of maintenance to ensure that they are in the best possible condition to attract and provide great homes for our most vulnerable wildlife. This can require anything from coppicing (cutting back plants to encourage new growth) to scrub clearance, grazing or even large scale changes to our coastlines! Whilst we have a fantastic team of volunteers, sometimes larger and more complex projects require outside help.
The Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) is an innovative tax credit scheme enabling operators of landfill sites in England and Northern Ireland to contribute money to environmental organisations
Through the Landfill Communities Trust, over £1.4 billion has been spent on more than 53,000 projects across the UK since 1996, allowing many charities and organisations to undertake large scale, time sensitive and internationally important conservation projects that could have otherwise taken years of grass roots fundraising!
Here are a couple of major projects that we have undertaken thanks to the Landfill Communities Fund, and we are already starting to see great results for wildlife!
RSPB Broadwater Warren has had a great breeding year, with threatened species including nightjar, lesser spotted woodpecker and woodcock choosing to raise their young in the carefully managed landscape.
Despite the recent State of Nature announcement, which highlighted the alarming decline of over half (56%) of UK species assessed since 1970, special places for nature including RSPB Broadwater Warren, aim to reduce and even turn around, the fates of species most at risk.
Now, thanks to generous donations of over £50,000 from four environmental organisations, a new Forestry and Wildlife corridor has been built, allowing RSPB staff, and staff from the adjoining Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve, to manage a further 100ha of habitat for specialist wildlife.
Donations of £25,000 from Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB), £20,000 from Ibstock Enovent Trust and a further donations of £7,700 from the Sussex Ornithological Society and £4,480 from The Chalk Cliff Trust meant that the work was able to be completed ahead of the spring 2018 breeding season.
Nick Feledziak, Assistant Warden of the RSPB’s Weald reserves said that the corridor would help to “improve woodland management for threatened species, such as lesser-spotted woodpecker, spotted flycatcher and the EU protected hazel dormouse. Allowing more sunlight to the woodland floor will provide habitat for wildflowers, pollinators and birds that depend on scrub for nesting, cover and foraging.”
The work that has been undertaken has seen the reserve transformed from dark conifer plantation to an open landscape. By 2018 around half of the reserve (85ha) was restored to open heathland, seasonally grazed by fifteen Exmoor ponies. The ponies spend the summer on the heath, mainly eating purple moor grass and generally keeping the sward length short, allowing slow growing heather to flourish and benefiting ground nesting birds by creating spaces where they can nest and feed. The ponies’ presence has other impacts too; their dung attracts insects for birds to eat and their hooves lightly ‘poach’ the ground, exposing bare soil and creating little niches that benefit different flora and invertebrates.
RSPB Broadwater Warren has an exciting future - it is now a fantastic place to hear and see woodlark, tree pipit and nightjar (with breeding numbers all on an upward trend). Over 100 bird species, 28 species of butterfly and 18 species of dragonfly/damselfly have been recorded here since we started restoring the site and reptiles including adders, grass snake, common lizard and slow worm can be found across the heath. This is an incredibly exciting result, which would not have been possible without help from the Landfill Communities Fund or Ibstock Enovent Trust.
Angela Haymonds, Trust Secretary for Ibstock Enovent Trust, said that the company was “delighted to be helping the RSPB to further protect our precious wildlife. We hope the corridor will help to further improve the growth of threatened species for many years to come.”
RSPB Northward Hill was able to safeguard an area equivalent to 34 football pitches on ‘Richardson’s Marsh’ - an area of the reserve heavily used every year by breeding waders such as lapwing and redshank.
The project, funded by funds from WREN and the Landfill Communities Trust, grants and donations, cost £94,000 and meant that the marsh benefitted from more than two-thousand metres of fencing which had been put in place to protect the eggs of ground nesting birds and their chicks from predators. Feeding areas within the protected area were also improved with this investment. Lapwing and redshank pairs both increased at the reserve in the 2018 breeding season.
Site manager Julian Nash said: “We do enjoy success here, but this fence will make a huge difference and will mean that vulnerable eggs and chicks have a far greater chance of life. Working with others like these funders and landowners, we are confident we can save species like lapwing so future generations can witness and enjoy the sight of their wings flashing in the sun as they wheel across the skies over the Thames in huge flocks”
The money was sought as part of our conservation work in the Greater Thames Estuary, which aims to improve the whole estuary for nature and people. Contributions include:
Numbers of breeding waders have been falling across the UK, so the RSPB is working hard to address the many issues behind their decline, from loss of habitat and shrinking food supplies to predation and climate change.
Ben Walker, Grant Manager for Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd, said: “WREN is pleased to have played a part in the delivery of this internationally important project to protect and increase the number of breeding wader pairs at the site, as well as improve the survival rate of the eggs and chicks for future generations. The improvement works, which WREN and others have contributed towards, has certainly delivered the necessary infrastructure to see breeding waders succeed at the site.”
Thanks to a BIFFA Award of £50,000, we have also been able to install a fence at 'Whalebone Marsh', protecting more vital breeding habitat.
If you've been inspired by this story, and are looking to make an individual difference, why not volunteer or join as an RSPB member?
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