Taking Action for Herefordshire’s Wildlife
Friday 6th January 2017
Conservation groups team up to create an action plan for Herefordshire’s wildlife and its habitats
While rural Herefordshire may appear to be a perfect paradise for wildlife, some of our county’s flora and fauna are struggling. Some types of habitat (types of landscape where particular species are found; for example woodland, meadow or pond) are becoming increasingly scarce and a number of species (both plant and animal) are in decline.
Herefordshire Wildlife Link (a collaboration of conservation organisations across the county) have identified those places and species which need support. This month they launch the Herefordshire Biodiversity Action Plan which sets out the steps which need to be taken, listing the 17 species and 13 habitats which are most threatened.
What are the problems?
Different species suffer from various different threats. Some are being out-competed by a stronger, non-native relative. This is the case with the white clawed crayfish whose numbers have seriously dropped since the introduction of the larger signal crayfish which directly compete with our native species, as well as pass on deadly diseases. The water vole has suffered similarly from becoming prey to the American mink. More often, a species’ habitat has been lost or fragmented through increased housing and business development, intensification of farming or the creation of impassable barriers such as roads or fences. The dormouse is most suited to living in coppiced woodland where it scurries through the understorey but there are few areas of woodland now managed in this way and the pockets which are have become isolated from other woodlands preventing populations from expanding. The barn owl’s favoured supper is voles but the vole lives in hedgerows, uncultivated field edges and rough grassland – and all of these habitats are in decline.
What’s the Action Plan?
The Biodiversity Action Plan lists the next steps to be taken for each species and habitat. The first step is often to ensure that there is sufficient, up-to-date information about existing populations or extent of habitat. Further work might then include working alongside landowners and local communities to manage habitats while providing advice and training; installing nest boxes; recreating or restoring areas of habitat or even reintroduction of some numbers of a particular species.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Manager, Andrew Nixon, commented: “It is fantastic that organisations throughout the county have contributed to this Action Plan. We can now all co-ordinate our efforts and make a real difference to the wildlife in Herefordshire.”
Find out more
You can read all the action plans on the Herefordshire Wildlife Link website: www.herefordshirewildlifelink.org