Silver-washed but­ter­flies show work is pay­ing off

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

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

PHOTO: CHAR­LOTTE KAR­MALI

Thriv­ing: Silver-washed frit­il­lar­ies are thriv­ing in the BBOWT wood­lands

PHOTO: ANDY FAIRBAIRN

Help­ing: Vol­un­teers help us im­prove our land for wildlife

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