Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma.
It’s easy to take our wildlife for granted sometimes, especially as we go about our busy lives. However, our wildlife is valuable to us in many ways. From enigmatic sea birds to the humble earth worm, wildlife contributes to our health and wellbeing more than we could ever imagine, providing food security, ecological stability and social and economic wellbeing. The financial value of the UK’s woodlands, farmland and freshwater habitats alone has been estimated at £178bn.
The wonders of wildlife
Wildlife has many benefits, from our own enjoyment to combatting climate change. Studies such as Wellbeing through Wildlife have shown that access to wildlife rich environments benefits our physical and mental health. Allowing wildlife to thrive is also important in the fight against climate change. Carbon storing habitat such as peat bogs and saltmarshes are vital nature-based solutions supporting and enhancing wildlife diversity, alongside delivering co-benefits for climate change adaptation, soil health and water management. Ultimately, the state of our wildlife is a key indicator of the health of our environment.
Wildlife and climate change
However, the climate crisis is having a dramatically damaging effect on our wildlife. The State of Nature 2019 report found that one in six species of wildlife, plants and fungi is at risk of disappearing in Wales. Climate change is already changing the patterns of migratory birds such as swallows, increasing pests and diseases and altering habitat and food availability for a range of species. Swallows are arriving in Wales 15 days earlier and breeding 11 days earlier than in the 1960s. The puffin, iconic to Wales’ coastal islands, has also shown a big drop in numbers with a shortage in food supply due to climate change believed to be a major reason. At RSPB’s Ynys-hir reserve in the Dyfi estuary, loss of salt marsh habitats at the site has caused problems for the wildlife. The team have noticed several climate related changes, with resident species such as black grouse and golden plover declining.
Positive steps have been made in Wales, with recent climate change protests and policies increasing awareness and engagement. However, if drastic changes aren’t made, climate change and associated loss of wildlife will continue.
What can you do?
Even though the challenges that climate change brings to Welsh wildlife may seem massive, you can still play a part. By using your passion for wildlife, there is a lot you can do as an individual to combat climate change and promote recovery of Wales’ wonderful wildlife.
Here are just a few ways you can get support your local wildlife in the fight against climate change:
For five key ways to take action for wildlife in wales, take a look at the Revive our World in Wales campaign.
Saltmarsh habitat- David Wootton (rspb-images.com)
Altantic puffin- Katie Nethercoat (rspb-images.com)
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© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654
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