Oxford Earth Summit |  www.earthsummit.info |  Feedback |  Latest News! |  NGO of the week
        Water |  Corruption |  Trade |  Environment |  Human Rights |  Education |  Health | Climate
  NEW! Earth-Info.Net weblog co-operative: Babirusa.OrgOxford-Forum.OrgBan The BulbSnare Art

Friday, March 19, 2004

Butterflies acting like canaries?
In 2001, The Biodiversity Challenge Group, which comprised of Butterfly Conservation, Friends of the Earth, Plantlife, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Wildlife Trusts and WWF-UK challenged the UK government to reverse the declines of all the UK's threatened species + habitats by implementing a 10-point plan...

The 10 key challenges were as follows:

1. Imagination - deliver a real increase in the extent of priority habitats, including heathland, downland and woodland, in a way that improves public access, human health and biodiversity.

2. Agriculture - shift agricultural payments from intensive production to support for sustainable rural development, including positive wildlife management.

3. Climate change - meet UK targets of cutting carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2010.

4. Areas of wildlife importance - deliver the positive management of all protected conservation sites (ASSI/SSSIs and Natura 2000 sites), and the conservation of local wildlife sites, over the next five years.

5. Water - ensure the full transposition of the EU Water Framework Directive into UK law and policy, to provide a framework for government, its agencies and industry, to protect and enhance the biological diversity of wetland ecosystems.

6. Coastal - adopt a policy on sea level rise of no net loss of priority wildlife habitats. Use dynamic adjustment of the coast to achieve a net gain of these habitats.

7. Marine environment - introduce a bold package of policy and legislative measures to protect the marine environment.

8. Planning - revise all planning guidance to ensure that the planning system contributes to the maintenance and the positive enhancement of biodiversity.

9. Integration - ensure proper consideration of biodiversity through Strategic Environmental Assessment of all plans, policies and programmes.

10. Information - ensure effective monitoring of species and habitats in the UK, adequate research into biodiversity and the effective distribution of this information.

Today, new research has been published in the journal Science which states that overall, in the UK, 71% of butterfly species have declined over the last 20 years, compared to 54% of native birds over 20 years and 28% of plants over a forty-year period.

Sir David Attenborough, President of Butterfly Conservation, the charity that collated the new butterfly data, said:

"The results show the importance of Britain's long amateur tradition of natural history and underline the enormous value of records gathered diligently by volunteers over many decades. I have always thought that butterflies represented the canaries in the coalmine, giving us early indications of man's impact on the planet. Everyone knows about the decline of the House Sparrow, but British butterflies and other insects are facing an even greater crisis than birds. I am deeply concerned that we must increase our efforts to conserve biodiversity at this critical time and I hope the government demonstrates their own commitment through placing biodiversity at the heart of the new agency recommended in Lord Haskins' review of rural delivery."

See here to visit the UK Biodiversity Action Plan website or to listen to Lord May's thoughts on whether we are heading for a 6th global mass extinction...