By Andrew Cameron
I’ve just got around to reading the UK State of Nature report which was published a few weeks ago.
The report focuses on two key metrics for which data is available: species abundance and species distribution.
When interpreting the report it’s worth bearing in mind that the Natural History Museum estimates that there are around 70,000 species of wildlife in the UK – that includes animals, plants, trees, fungi and single called organisms.
So when the report says that species abundance has declined on average, by 13% since 1970, you might, like me, think that doesn’t sound a lot given that everywhere I walk seems to be devoid of wildlife and what was once fields, hedges and woodland are now houses. That’s because there is only data for 697 species. As for species distribution, there’s data for 6,654 species, which shows that on average distribution has declined by 5%.
On both metrics the report states that 58% of species showed negative trends ‘and many metrics suggest this decline has continued in the most recent decade. There has been no let-up in the net loss of nature in the UK.’