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Important Notice for Existing and Potential Clients:

As from 4th March 2013, Phil Lomax, Director and Principal Consultant of Green Dimensions is moving to take up a position as Principal Ecologist at Thomson Ecology.

Dartford warbler
Lakeside, Eastleigh
Fly agaric

News and Information

Important New Book Audits State of Wildlife in the UK

Silent Summer (1) was published in May 2010 and reports trends in the populations of all the main vertebrate and invertebrate animals in the UK over the last 50 years. Its broad findings are that many species of wildlife have been in rapid decline.

Even species that were common in recent times have shown alarming declines. The Starling population has declined by 77% and that of the House Sparrow by 64% since 1979.Of greatest concern for the future, is the alarming decline in populations of invertebrates, especially insects, since they form a critical part of the diet of many higher animals and are vital for plant pollination. causes of these declines are considered and include the impacts of urbanisation and development. The UK population has grown from 52.8million in 1961 to 60.6million in 2006 – a 15 % increase in under 50 years. 90% of this population now lives in urban areas. And this trend is set to continue unless action is taken to halt it. Silent Summer argues that this rate of population growth and the demand for new houses and more consumption which it fuels, are not sustainable and that based on current evidence, if these trends continue, we face a future of continuing decline and loss of habitats and species. In 1970 there were around 18.5million households in the UK. By 2010 this has reached almost 27 million. The rate of urbanisation is such that in Merseyside for example between 1975 and 2000, 8% of the vegetated area of the conurbation was developed. In addition to the new buildings and roads there is the need for more water, more energy supplies (and therefore more CO2 production contributing towards climate change), more food, etc. This consumption is also having serious impacts on wildlife. At the same time, the area of greenspace within urban areas has been declining, development densities are increasing, and habitats have become fragmented leading to isolated and vulnerable populations of for example amphibians.

Silent Summer poses many key questions which we will need to urgently address to halt this rapid decline in wildlife. These include:

  1. How can provision for wildlife be maximised in new and existing urban development and how can the consequences of habitat fragmentation be mitigated?
  2. How can wildlife be best conserved against a background of national and international human population expansion and the desire for economic growth?
  3. How can a value be placed on biodiversity so that its comparative worth as a contributor to human wellbeing can be determined?
  4. How can conservation policy and practice keep pace with change – especially the impacts of climate change?

Silent Summer is essential reading for everyone who is concerned for the future of wildlife in the UK and can be ordered from  Cambridge University Press .

 (1) Silent Summer. The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland .Ed Norman Maclean. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

New Forest heathland
Broad-bodied chaser
Burley Walk, New Forest
Hurst Castle and the salt marsh
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