The UK government recently stated its ambition to "leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it", and to "not just protect and conserve, but enhance and restore habitats and landscapes". Adopting the slogan "Protect the best, recover the rest", unifies these ambitions. We not only need to protect the best regulations, policies and natural areas developed to date, but also forge ahead and engage new audiences in new conservation narratives suited to an era of accelerating change.
Today, the largest terrestrial carnivore in the United Kingdom is a badger. Aside from the fact that I love badgers, wouldn't it be great to have a little more diversity in our landscapes?
The damaging effect humans have had on natural resources has been more pronounced in the last half-a-century with 60% of the world's biodiversity being decimated. Severe climate change has been one of the fall-outs of this destruction of nature by man and one that we need to reverse. The UK hasn't been spared the effects of such changes as revealed by the State of Nature report recently published. Since the 1970s the UK has witnessed one of the highest losses of biodiversity on the planet.
Scotland is one of the wildest places in the UK, with mountains, lochs and woodland extending out for miles. It is where the first beaver reintroduction trial sites were established in the UK; where pine martens roam and osprey soar through the skies. Experiencing these areas allows you to believe that Lynx, elk and wolves could be reintroduced to these areas more successfully than in southern England, for example.
In 2016 The Mammal Society Mitigation Guidance Series published the new Water Vole Mitigation Handbook. This publication aims to promote best practice in the surveying and mitigation of water voles by ecological consultants, and to guide and inform decision makers that suitable survey information is provided and suitable mitigation measures proposed (Dean et al., 2016).
The new mitigation guidelines include some key changes to:
· Licensing in relation to the ‘displacement’ of water voles
The year started with the launch of one of our largest native woodland planting projects this year. As part of the Gatwick Airport Flood Alleviation Scheme, Ecosulis’ HCEC Team were asked to conduct a five-year habitat creation and maintenance program for the Environment Agency in Crawley. Our task for the first phase of works in 2016, was to plant over 4,500 trees and shrubs to create a new woodland habitat that would be beneficial to the Dormice that have been found in adjacent woodland around the site.
Hedgehog awareness week kicks off this week and the Ecological Consulting Team at Ecosulis are helping to spread the word!
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society are running Hedgehog Awareness Week for another year, and this time it is focusing on strimming and garden machinery. Every year hundreds of hedgehogs are injured or killed as a result of coming into contact with machinery. You can help prevent this simply by checking areas for hedgehogs before using machines!
In March this year I was lucky enough to be enrolled on a Tree Climbing and Aerial Rescue course at Bridgwater College, Cannington. Running up to the course I was fortunate to have the support of a colleague Ben, from our ecological consultancy team, who already had his Tree Climbing qualification and is an experienced climber. He gave me a great deal of insight prior to the course, however, nothing could prepare me for the physical work that was involved!
At a time that most ecological consultants are out undertaking great crested newt surveys and developers are squeezing in last minute commissions for 2016 the BBC News and Ecosulis are also considering what the future holds for this European Protected Species (EPS).
We didn’t have a particularly cold winter, however amphibians are now starting to move towards their breeding ponds and there is only 2.5 months to get started with your surveys. This is the only window to undertake eDNA, great crested newt presence/absence and population monitoring surveys to support your planning application. If this window is missed, great crested newts can cause significant delays to your project programmes, and can affect your layout.