BBC Life Sciences — A stocktake of UK nature suggests 60% of animal and plant species studied have declined in the past 50 years. The State of Nature report, compiled by 25 wildlife organisations – from the RSPB to the British Lichen Society – collates assessments of 3,148 species. Conservationists hope it will offer clues to the fate of the UK’s 59,000 species. Beetles and wildlfowers are among the most vulnerable species.
According to the document, reasons for the decline are “many and varied” but include rising temperatures and habitat degradation. …
“This ground-breaking report is a stark warning – but it is also a sign of hope,” said naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who launches the report today.
“We have in this country a network of passionate conservation groups supported by millions of people who love wildlife,” he said.
“The experts have come together today to highlight the amazing nature we have around us and to ensure that it remains here for generations to come.” …
The State of Nature report outlines a new “watchlist indicator” which charts how populations of these species have fared in the last 50 years and the overall trend is a 77% decline, despite successes for some including bitterns and adonis blue butterflies.
A further 6,225 UK species have been assessed according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List criteria, 12% of which are considered under threat of extinction. The highest number of threatened species are found within the flowering plants but bees, flies, moths and butterflies each have more than 200 listed. (05-22-2013)