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Archive news 2014

All the news from the Nature Partnership from 2014

Nature Improvement Areas are boosting the economy and protecting wildlife

Last week Defra announced that wildlife, communities and local economies are reaping the benefits of England's Nature Improvement Areas, according to the latest monitoring report.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:

"A healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand. These Nature Improvement Areas show how protecting our precious wildlife and outstanding landscapes can help grow our £30 billion rural tourism industry and create more jobs for hardworking people as part of our long term economic plan."

At the annual forum of the GLNP, partner representatives endorsed the newly developed process for identifying new Nature Improvement Areas in Greater Lincolnshire. For more information or to download the application pack, click here .


19 November 2014

Agricultural innovations explored at successful Farming with nature conference

Agricultural innovations for biodiversity and farm profitability were the themes for the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership's 2014 conference, held at Riseholme College in Lincoln on 6 November.

The GLNP's third annual conference was entitled Farming with nature, and attracted members of Lincolnshire's farming community together with those working in the conservation sector, both from across the county and further afield.

The event opened with a keynote from Professor Simon Blackmore, Head of the National Centre for Precision Farming at Harper Adams University who spoke on research into robotic innovations in modern farming systems.

This was followed by Clive Wood from Kings Game and Conservation Crops who spoke on Catch and Cover Crops and then Simon Tonkin from Conservation Grade on Being Fair to Nature. Lincolnshire farmer, and campaigner for a viable sustainable future for farming, Peter Lundgren concluded the conference with a talk on Profit, Pesticides and Pollination.

Professor Blackmore said: "It's very encouraging to see such large numbers of people being involved in this area. At the moment we are having to deal with the different pressures – commercial farmers on one side and the environmental lobby on the other. I see in the future these two will come together more closely.

"We had a big change after the war in production. We are still in a production mindset that has a reduced profit margin in it as we are seeing and has a compromise for nature. If we can move to a production system that's more flexible, we can start to reduce the compromise.

"At the moment we have these big machines used for a couple of weeks in a year and then sit there for the rest of the time. At the moment we put all our eggs in one basket. The concept of phased cropping might be to put an early, medium and late crop in and then be able to harvest early, medium and late with smaller machines and get much better usage.

"My approach is to try and make the whole production system more efficient not only for the environment but also economically."

Lincolnshire County Councillor Lewis Strange, who chairs the authority's Environmental Scrutiny Committee, praised the GLNP for encouraging the farming community to think about how innovations in arable farm practices can benefit not only their own businesses but nature as well.

He said: "Today has been a first rate conference with very interesting speakers, all the time asking the questions and points that many of us don't think about. It's also been about challenging a lot of held beliefs – particularly thought provoking was challenging farmers to think about what they do with sprays and chemicals. Farming is the greatest industry in the county but we need people like these to challenge and research new methods."

Farming with nature is one of the key workstreams of the GLNP.

GLNP Chairman, Richard Chadd, said: "Today's conference helped to generate an interesting debate on how agricultural innovation can have a positive impact both on farm profitability and biodiversity. While not all of these practices may be viable for our smaller farmers, we have heard from a range of speakers today that may have given everyone who attended somenew ideas to benefit the farmed environment throughout Greater Lincolnshire."

England's first Red List for vascular plants available

For the first time a comprehensive and objective analysis of changes in the distribution of our native flora is available.

The report highlights that one fifth of England's wildflower species are under threat, with the majority of these threatened species suffering a decline of 30% or more. Wildflowers associated with either highly acid or basic open habitats on infertile soils fare particularly badly.

Also highlighted is that a suite of wildflowers, which many of us still think of as common and widespread across England, are now close to being listed as threatened.

The Red List uses a globally recognised and scientifically rigorous approach designed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to assess and determine risks of extinction. The method is applicable to all species and provides information on status, trends and threats. The production of a first vascular plant Red List for England follows similar Lists for Great Britain and Wales that have examined changes to our flora since 1930 and identified those species most at risk.

The full press release can be read here and the entire report can also be downloaded free here.

October 2014

Volunteers needed for national hedgehog survey

Hedgehogs have declined markedly within Britain over the last two decades. But to date it has been difficult to quantify exactly why hedgehog populations have declined. This is because of the absence of a reliable survey technique at the appropriate spatial scale. However, a recent pilot study has demonstrated that footprint-tunnels meet this need.

So there is now the opportunity to conduct a national scale survey of hedgehogs in England and Wales. PTES, and their partners, want to survey a minimum of 400 sites across England and Wales during the summers of 2014 and 2015.

The 400 sites have already been chosen and if you volunteer you will be allocated the site nearest to you as well as being provided with all the equipment needed to undertake the survey.

For more information on the surveys visit the PTES website

To sign up email Emily Thomas at hedgehogsurvey@ptes.org

13 August 2014

Take part in the big butterfly count - the world's biggest survey of butterflies

19 July – 10 August

Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the big butterfly count. Butterfly Conservation has chosen this time of year because most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, so more likely to be seen. Records are welcome from anywhere: from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.

Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.

That's why counting butterflies can be described as taking the pulse of nature.

The count will also assist in identifying trends in species that will help us plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.

Butterfly Conservation has more information on their website about how to count butterflies as well as a handy identification sheet. You can send in your sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org. Or if you are more technologically inclined you can use their smart phone app!

18 July 2014

GLNP Annual Review

The Annual Review for 2013-14 is now available. Take a look and see what the Team and the GLNP Partners have achieved over the past year.


9 June 2014

Information Officer vacancy

Based in Horncastle, Lincolnshire

£16,500-18,500pa

Permanent

We have an exciting opportunity for a data specialist to further develop the Local Sites system in Greater Lincolnshire. The Information Officer will also contribute to the wider data needs of the GLNP acting as an ambassador for biological information.

The Information Officer will have excellent IT skills; experience of developing databases and working with GIS will be an advantage. A clear understanding of the conservation sector is important as is the ability to work with a range of stakeholders. Knowledge of Local Sites systems or Local Environmental Records Centres is important although training will be provided. A full current UK driving licence is also required.

The GLNP is an established government accredited Local Nature Partnership. The Information Officer is an existing post working as part of a team and will provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to make their mark in nature conservation.

For further details please contact: Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, Banovallum House, Manor House Street, Horncastle LN9 5HF, 01507 526667, info@glnp.org.uk

Closing date for applications: 1pm on Monday 9 June 2014

[Job specifications later removed]

14 May 2014

Nature on target

Over the past year the BAP Habitat Groups, other Partners and individuals have been working hard to identify priorities and opportunities to meet BAP targets. The year 2013-14 was the second full reporting year for this latest edition of the Lincolnshire BAP. The end of year reporting revealed that great progress has been made with nearly 90% of actions being underway or complete.

The priorities for the upcoming year include a wide range of key habitats, where work will focus on making the most of new opportunities that provide multiple benefits. We will also be working to advance the small number of actions that are yet to make progress. By working in partnership we are able to identify the gaps and strategically deploy resources, thus achieving more for nature in Greater Lincolnshire.

28 April 2014

Invasive plants banned to protect habitats

On the 6 April five aquatic invasive non-native plants were banned from sale by Defra in order to protect vulnerable habitats and species.

As well as protecting habitats the ban should save money and improve access to waterways for boating and recreation. This is the first time such a ban has taken place.

In the past these aquatic invasive non-native plants have been sold and planted in garden ponds, but have escaped into the wild taking over from native species and damaging some of our most sensitive habitats.

The plants form dense mats in water, depleting oxygen and light availability, causing declines in the numbers of fish and other aquatic species. They also reduce access to waterways for boating and angling and increase flood risk which, taken together, can cost millions of pounds a year.

The five species banned from sale are:

  • Water Fern (Azolla filiculoides)
  • Parrot's Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)
  • Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides
  • Australian Swamp-Stonecrop also known as New Zealand Pygmyweed (Crassula helmsii)
  • Water Primrose (Ludwigia grandiflora)

All retailers must stop selling these species or face a fine of £5,000 and/or six months in prison. Previously, it was only illegal to dispose of the five plants in the wild. The UK government introduced this ban under powers in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006).

The GLNP has produced identification guides for local use on some of these species: http://www.glnp.org.uk/admin/resources/invasive-sp...


7 April 2014

Give a bird a home during national nest box week

Starting on Valentine's Day the British Trust for Ornithology encourages everyone to put up a nest box and make a feathered friend.

Many natural nesting sites have been lost so nest boxes give birds somewhere to breed and should help secure a future for many of our species.

The website offers a wealth of information including how to make your own nest box, how to put it up and even which kinds of birds you can expect to see moving into your next box in the near future.

Find out more information at: http://www.bto.org/about-birds/nnbw

Published: 17 February 2014