The 2016 State of Nature report was published last week. The report is designed to give an overview of the state of nature in the UK, its seas, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, consolidating data from 53 conservation and research organisations, and David Attenborough was one of the initiators of this regular review.
The report not only assessed species found in woods, moors and mountains, but also freshwater and marine environments.
The report revealed that of the nearly 8000 UK species assessed, 15% are threatened with extinction from Great Britain. The report also suggested that
the UK has lost significantly more nature over the long term than the global average, and that we are amongst the most nature-depleted countries in
However, it’s not all bad news. The report states that well-planned conservation projects can turn around the fortunes of wildlife, and gives examples
of how governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses, communities and individuals have worked together to bring nature back. The report praised restoration and reintroduction programmes in saying that there are “many inspiring examples of conservation action that are helping to turn the tide.”
And in fact, some species are increasing in numbers, including some marine plant species, and some vertebrates such as small fish. There have been success stories including the recovery of the cirl bunting in Devon, the reintroduction of cranes in Somerset and the return of beavers to Devon.
Wake up call
The report clearly highlights the challenges that we face, and can certainly be seen as a wake-up call, encouraging us all to take action.
Sir David Attenborough wrote in the foreword of the report, “The news is mixed. Escalating pressures, such as climate change and modern land management, mean that we continue to lose the precious wildlife that enriches our lives and is essential to the health and wellbeing of those who live in the UK, and also in its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Our wonderful nature is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before.”
However, he went on to say that, “The ‘State of Nature’ 2016 report gives us cause for hope too. The rallying call issued in 2013 has been met with a myriad of exciting and innovative conservation projects. Landscapes are being restored, special places defended, and struggling species are being saved and brought back. Such successes demonstrate that, if conservationists, governments, businesses and individuals all pull together, we can provide a brighter future for nature and for people.”