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Latest news

Read on to find out what the Nature Partnership and its Partners have been up to recently. News for the current year is below and news from previous years can be found using the links on the left hand side.

Smartphone app aims to prevent Asian hornet invasion

Smartphone technology is being used as the latest weapon in helping prevent the spread of an invasive species.

A new app has been launched to enable quick and easy reporting of possible sightings of the Asian hornet – a highly aggressive predator of native insects, in particular honey bees.

The Asian hornet was discovered in Gloucestershire in autumn 2016 but Government bee inspectors were able to track down and destroy the nest, containing any further outbreak. There are fears the pest could reappear this spring, so members of the public are being urged to report any sightings.

Asian hornets can be distinguished from their native counterparts by their abdomens which are entirely dark except for a single band of yellow (native hornets' abdomens are predominantly yellow).

People will be able to use the free app, called Asian Hornet Watch, to record sightings and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.

Public affairs manager at the British Beekeepers' Association, Martin Smith, said: "This new app launched by Defra is a welcome addition to current reporting methods that have enabled beekeepers and members of the public to report possible sightings.

"The key to containment is catching outbreaks as early as possible and allowing fast tracking of the insects back to their nest. We will certainly be encouraging all our 25,000 beekeepers to install the app and use it if they see what might be an Asian hornet near their hives."

The interactive app, developed by the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, will help people to judge whether they've seen an Asian hornet; with pictures available of other insects that it could be confused with and helpful information about their size, appearance and the times of year they are most likely to be spotted.

The app can be downloaded from Apple and Android stores.

30 March 2017

Time to take part in the Big Farmland Bird Count

Farmers, gamekeepers and landowners are being encouraged to take part in the 2017 Big Farmland Bird Count.

The survey takes place between Friday 3 February and Sunday 12 February and is the fourth annual count, coordinated by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

The survey provides an opportunity to demonstrate the benefit of conservation schemes being managed by landowners such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed and game cover crops.

Recording sheets are available to download from the GWCT website and results can either be submitted online or returned by post.

The survey asks participants to find a location on the farm with a good view of around two hectares and spend 30 minutes recording the species seen such as skylarks, yellowhammers, corn buntings and grey partridges as well as the number of birds present. A few details about the habitat and cropping around the site will also need to be noted.

Free ID guides are available to download from www.gwct.org.uk

1 February 2017

Farmers urged to complete annual environmental land management survey

Farmers are being encouraged to take part in an online survey to highlight voluntary land management practices taking place to benefit the environment.

The annual Survey of Land Under Environmental Management is undertaken by Defra to assess the level of awareness of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE).

Headline figures from previous surveys showed 97% of farmers see protecting farm wildlife as important and demonstrated that farmers have invested an average of 400,000ha in environmental measures over a three-year period through CFE.

The deadline for completion of the survey is 31 March 2017. A link to the survey can be found here.

11 January 2017