South Downs National Park Authority issues a call to action after damning State of Nature report

“We need more nature everywhere for everyone,” the South Downs National Park Authority has said after a damning State of Nature report, which “lays bare the full extent of the biodiversity crisis.”
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The report, based on analysis from 60 organisations up and down the UK, shows that one in six species of animals across Great Britain are at risk of being lost. This is an increase on an already-drastic 2014 figure which suggested one in ten species were at risk.

Andrew Lee, director of countryside policy and management at the South Downs National Park said this is a “watershed moment” for wildlife in the UK: “We welcome the publication of the report, which reveals just how much nature needs us at this critical time. It’s a watershed moment for wildlife that should make us all take stock and, if we’re to turn a corner as a nation, the decisions made over the next few years are going to be so important.”

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The report says the decline is a direct result of climate change, changes to the way we manage our land for farming and unsustainable fishing practices leading to widespread habitat loss.

Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty ImagesPhoto by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

But, there’s still hope. Mr Lee says there’s a clear path forward, it’s just a matter of making the right decisions quickly enough to save what we can. “The report found that nature recovery action makes a difference,” he said. “We just need to work harder, faster and most importantly, work together. This is why the National Park Authority launched our 10-year ReNature campaign in 2021 with an ambitious target that 33% of the National Park is managed for nature by 2030. The aim is that the other 67% is also good for nature, giving nature every opportunity to thrive and for everyone to be able to have access to it.

“No-one is pretending this is going to be easy – there’s so much work that needs to be done. It’s going to require a huge collective effort, partnership working on a scale we’ve never seen before, and most crucially, the right resourcing in order to get nature back on track.”

The ReNature campaign looks to create 13,000 hectares – which is triple the size of Portsmouth – of new habitat, including new meadows, wetlands and wildflower meadows over the next ten years.

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"Our nature recovery programme to date has largely been focused on habitats, but by getting the habitats ‘bigger, better, and more joined up’ that will support our species, such as hazel dormouse, otter and water vole. Work is now under way to develop a species component to our programme, focusing on restoring habitat for some of our most important and endangered animals and plants,” Andrew added.

“It’s important to say that nature recovery action does not just sit with organisations such as National Parks and Wildlife Trusts. The beauty of it is that we can all make a difference. Whether it’s by planting more wildflowers in your garden, a business pledging to help nature, or volunteering in your local community, every little action could make a big impact in the long-run.”

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