So around up of some stories that I found interesting or concerning.
Plantlife is reporting that the Ghost Orchid has been declared extinct in the UK, in response to this they have published the Ghost Orchid Declaration. This is a call to governments, Members of Parliament, conservation organisations and the general public to ensure that we do not lose any more of our native flora.
Plantlife list some facts on there website that I hope they don't mind me snaffling:
- 1 in 5 wild flowers in Britain is threatened with extinction.
- Of the 1,150 priority species on the Government’s UK Biodiversity Action Plan, almost 50% are plants and fungi.
- Out of £4million given in biodiversity research contracts by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee from 2007-2009, nothing went towards plant and fungi projects.
- Flowering plants and ferns are at the bottom of the Government’s league table for features in favourable condition on Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
- Despite a 5% increase in broadleaved woodland in the UK since 1990 – the diversity of woodland flowers has decreased by 19%.
- In England, less than 3% of Environmental Stewardship agreements have suitable options for farmland flowers.
- The places where the UK’s legally protected animals (including birds and invertebrates) live are also protected by law – but the places where legally protected plants live are not. Why is it OK to move plants but not OK to move water voles, bats or great crested newts?
Hard to argue with some of those I think!
The National Trust is to spend £536,000 on traditional orchards*.
Since the fifties more than 60% of our traditional orchards have disappeared, in some areas the loss has been greater Kent has lost 92% of its orchards and Devon 89%.
Apparently many orchards were close to an estate’s main house, they have been replaced by swimming pools and paddocks by owners.
The trust is to spend the money in a bit to restore 30 of it's traditional orchards and to save apple varieties with such names as Hoary Morning, Slap-Ma-Girdle and Pig Snout. Did you know there are 2,300 varieties of English Apples? How many of these do you see in a supermarket?
*A traditional orchard is defined as one where five or more fruit trees grow no more than 20m apart. They are much less closely packed than commercial orchards.
Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine are backing a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust campaign to save the water vole. Apparently existing populations are tiny and remote, and there was an 83% fall recorded between surveys in 1978/9 and 1997/8.
Fry and Carwardine said:
We've just spent six months travelling the world in search of high profile endangered species, from kakapo to Komodo dragons.
But it's all too easy to forget that we have endangered species in our own country that need just as much help.
And lastly the National Trust has a plan to identify every ancient and notable tree in the country.