The UK State of Nature Report 2016 has been published, and highlights the urgent need to act now to preserve the future of our wildlife. Written by a coalition of more than 50 leading wildlife charities and research organisations, including The Wildlife Trusts, the report assesses the status of wildlife in the UK at land and sea. It shows more clearly than ever before that nature is in serious decline across the UK. Over the last 50 years, 56% of species have declined, while 15% are at risk of disappearing from our shores altogether.
The State of Nature report 2013 first drew attention to the severe declines in wildlife that have occurred since the 1960s, and acted as a rallying call to reverse these declines. This report provides new information on the drivers of these declines, and showcases examples of where partnership working and innovative ideas have helped to turn around the fortunes of wildlife in some areas. The report also highlights the importance of volunteer effort towards much of this work, including in the East of England region, where Essex Wildlife Trust Riversearch volunteers play a crucial role in the recovery of the Water Vole.
The loss of nature in the UK continues, and according to a newly developed index to assess biodiversity, the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the developed world, having lost significantly more nature than the global average.The UK is currently ranked 189 of 218 countries assessed under this new Biodiversity Intactness Index. Although there is some evidence for improvement in the short term, long term downward trends have yet to be reversed. It is vital that action is taken not only on moral grounds, but because the natural world provides us with many essential and irreplacable benefits affecting our health, livelihoods and economy.
The State of Nature Report 2016 can be downloaded from the Wildlife Trusts website here.