Silver-washed butterflies show work is paying off
BBOWT’S recently published Conservation Impact Report 2016 shows that across several habitats our conservation strategy is improving land for nature, and increasing wildlife across Buckinghamshire.
Many of these strategies require simple changes to land management, which anyone with land can undertake.
The assessment of our work is conducted every three years by hundreds of generous and committed volunteers. This allows us to see that land management change does have a positive impact on wildlife.
It proves that when you manage land for wildlife, the wildlife returns in sustained populations helping to fill our countryside with diversity and life.
Key indicator species, such as willow warblers and silver-washed fritillary butterflies, are thriving in our woodlands due to rotational coppicing which creates glades and patches of scrub, and maintaining a network of open, sunny rides.
Indicator species show the health of our habitats, but unfortunately many are in decline in multiple habitats across the UK due to intensive management and competition for land.
Our report summarises the importance of the land on our ‘patch’ for wildlife. We have reviewed the seven major habitats we manage, detailing their significance in a national context, which strategies we undertake, and the benefit for wildlife from these activities.
Floodplain meadows in our region are of major national importance.
BBOWT is currently directly responsible for more than 10% of the national resource of the UK’s most wildlife-rich meadows.
Our management is protecting the sites that we are responsible for, including the Upper Ray Meadows, near Bicester, where curlew and lapwing return to breed each spring.
We are helping to create new habitats by supplying wild flower and grass seed from the reserve at Coronation Meadow for other meadows beyond our sites.
BBOWT’s Conservation Impact Report coincided with the publication of the State of Nature Report 2016, produced by more than 50 conservation organisations, including The Wildlife Trusts. This shows that more than 10% of our species are threatened with extinction within the UK.
It also shows that the drivers of decline are predominantly those associated with the management of agricultural land.
BBOWT takes the view that any effective strategy to reverse the decline in wildlife in our region will have to tackle the wider, and largely agricultural, landscape.
The decline of wildlife species on unprotected land will only be halted when more land managers improve habitats so that a network of wildlife-rich spaces between the existing protected areas may be created.
We are working with landowners beyond our reserves to make the wider countryside rich in wildlife.
Thanks to the Conservation Impact Report we know that the relatively low input conservation strategies employed on our reserves have a significant benefit for wildlife.
For anyone who wishes to manage land for wildlife, this report will give you an insight into the methods which can yield results – but you do need to be patient and committed!
For others, this report gives some good news about what can be done for wildlife – and there are still a number of places you can see it
Thriving: Silver-washed fritillaries are thriving in the BBOWT woodlands
Helping: Volunteers help us improve our land for wildlife