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Wildlife Conservation in England

The delicate colors of the high brown fritillary.This is a site that's become increasingly rare.

British wildlife first sharply declined in the last fifty years as habitats have been shrinking. There are, of course, some successes. The otter has returned to every county in England but the first comprehensive assessment of British nature has come up with a very stark finding.

The pressure on the natural world is greater than ever it was and our capacity and ingenuity at finding ways of destroying things and poisoning things is unparalleled. I mean we can kill things at the drop of a hat now. So it's not surprising that things are getting worse.

Twenty five conservation groups came together to produce this stocktake of wildlife. It found that one in ten species is facing extinction. Turtle doves, for example, are down 93% since 1970 and hedgehogs by 33% since the year 2000.

This is one attempt to reverse that trend, a nature reserve on an old rubbish dump. This is Camley Street in London right beside St. Pancras station but bustling with all kinds of life.

What's remarkable even here right in the middle of London is that nature can flourish if it's given a chance. That's the good news from this report. The bad is that we are on course to lose a lot of species without really understanding the consequences.

Take bees, famous for pollinating plants, a natural role with a huge commercial value.

The clean water, the clean air, the controlling pests, pollination, the tourism value all these things are worth an immense amount to us. We don't really value it but once we lost it we realize how much, how important this was for us. We need this.

The report’s authors hope their next assessment will have better news and there are some positive signs but generally there's a pattern in which nature tends to lose. David Trueman, BBC News.


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