‘The State of Staffordshire’s Nature’ report, led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Staffordshire Ecological Record, is the first “stocktake” of species and habitats found across the county. It brings together data and expertise from dozens of individuals and organisations, providing an update on how wildlife is faring across the county in the hope that action will be taken to improve conditions.
The publication—which also celebrates thriving species and habitats—documents that farmland, moorland, woodland, lowland heathland, grassland, fresh water, wetland and urban species are all under threat in Staffordshire.
Worrying statistics from the report state that many species are declining, including water vole, hazel dormouse and a number of invertebrate species. All seven of Staffordshire’s priority butterfly species are decreasing in either abundance or distribution in the West Midlands.
Meanwhile, just 32 per cent of Staffordshire’s geological and nature conservation SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) are in a favourable condition. Only five per cent of Staffordshire’s waterbodies are classified as being in good overall status with 46 per cent classed as either in poor or bad overall status.
However, there are a number of conservation success stories and the report identifies areas of hope. They include increasing populations of otter, polecat and logjammer hoverfly.
Many important species have also been recorded in the county, including dingy skipper and great crested newt. The county also holds important populations of fish including Atlantic salmon, brown trout and European eel and birds such as nightjar, woodlark and willow tit. Some of Staffordshire’s rare plant species include floating water-plantain, yellow bird’s nest and frog orchid.
Julian Woolford, Chief Executive at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Across the UK, there has been increasing demands on the natural environment which has led to a significant decline in biodiversity. Staffordshire has proved no exception and has suffered losses of habitats and species through increasing pressures including changes in land use and pollution.
“We are blessed with a county that is rich in species with a diverse range of landscapes. Without collective action, though, we will continue to see the loss of our wildlife rich habitats and the decline of species.
“This report serves as a reminder to us all that nature needs our help and we can all do our bit to save it. Its authors are calling on people to support conservation charities and take action for wildlife.”