The State of Nature report, published on 27 September brought together data from 64 conservation and research organisations. It found that the abundance of species in the UK has declined by an average of 19% since 1970, with almost one in six (16%) in danger of extinction from Great Britain. But mammals like the Hazel dormouse have seen their population decline in Britain by 51% since 2000. 54% of flowering plants have also seen their distributions reduced.
Climate change and intensive farming methods were cited in the report as the main causes of nature loss. Only a fifth of farm land was found to be nature friendly. Moreover, only one in seven of the areas assessed by the report were found to be in a good condition. There were no areas on the seafloor that were found to be in good condition, mostly because of damage caused by fishing gear.
Whilst the report contains a lot of bad news, there are also real reasons for optimism - if action is taken to protect nature. For example, since trawling was banned in the Lyme Bay marine protected area (2008), the number of species found there has significantly increased. Meanwhile, at Hope Farm, which is operated by the RSPB to develop and trial techniques for producing food cost effectively whilst helping wildlife, breeding bird populations have increased by 177%.
Yesterday, protests werre staged across the country outside offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to demand greater protections for nature.