Here is a press release that we put out today about how wildlife fared on RSPB reserves in 2020. It helps to promote our new report and will lift your spirits, I promise. But, if that doesn't work for you, then why not visit your local RSPB nature reserve this weekend and let nature do its job instead..
Despite Covid-19 restrictions affecting access and conservation work in the first half of the year, 2020 proved to be an amazing year for wildlife on RSPB reserves with many threatened species having a record breeding season and many other species doing well.
The new Wildlife on RSPB nature reserves 2020 report brings together all the information about the wildlife on the RSPB’s nature reserves and it reports on the ups and downs of the bird breeding season, together with other wildlife highlights. The RSPB currently manages 224 nature reserves across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The area of these reserves covers 160,358 hectares, an area 4 times the size of the Isle of Wight.
The reserves, perhaps best known for the birds found there, are also crucially important for many other kinds of plants and animal. In 2020, the number of species recorded on RSPB reserves exceeded 18,500 species with more than 3000 of these being of conservation concern.
The RSPB’s Director of Conservation, Martin Harper said “Last year was exceptionally difficult for everyone. Like every part of society, nature conservation was affected by the coronavirus and the restrictions that dealing with it required. Vital conservation work had to be paused and much of the monitoring work that we would normally carry out was not possible, however, many of the species that call our reserves home managed to have a successful year.”
However, despite the continued success for most species there were also some disappointments for a small number of others.
RSPB nature reserves contribute significantly to nature conservation across the landscapes and areas they are part of, and despite covering only about 0.6% of the UK’s land surface, support more than 10% of the breeding population of 35 species of bird. However, nature reserves alone will not be able to stop the UK’s wildlife from vanishing.
Martin Harper said “Through our amazing network of nature reserves the RSPB provides important places for nature and helps visitors to see and connect with nature. However, according to the last State of Nature report, 41% of UK species are in decline and 133 species have been lost from our shores completely since 1950. While nature reserves (managed by the RSPB or other conservation organisations) are magical places, on their own they will never be enough to reverse these declines. In order to stem the loss of nature and help revive our world, governments across the UK need to ensure 30% of land is protected and managed for nature while action is taken to remove the direct threats facing threatened species such as illegal killing or the introduction of invasive non-native species.”
Although the UK claims to be protecting large areas of land (28%) and sea (24%), closer inspection reveals that this includes National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that are not well managed for nature, and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) that are in poor health and not adequately monitored. With recent reports of a lack of inspections or assessments, along with species loss at these locations, the amount of land protected and well-managed for nature could be as low as 5% of the UK. At sea, although new protected areas have been announced, only 10% of these are being actively managed.
To find out more about RSPB reserves and how to visit go to www.rspb.org.uk/reserves
To read the full report go to https://www.dropbox.com/s/lpauapir9liry4i/Wildlife%20on%20RSPB%20nature%20reserves.pdf?dl=0
Very polite of you to say that male Hen Harriers "disappeared" rather than "disappeared in suspicious circumstances, presumed killed by grouse moor gamekeepers".
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