National Meadows Day 2018

wildflower meadow
British wildflower meadows are a hive of biological diversity but have largely been lost due to conversion to agriculture. CC0 Couleur via Pixabay


National meadows day is an annual awareness event focussed around the first Saturday of July, but up and down the country activities took over the whole weekend. Traditionally managed British meadows are characterised by low soil fertility and actively managed cutting or grazing, supporting a range of colourful flowering species including the oxeye daisies seen in the picture above. These species rich meadows, which used to cover much of England’s countryside, were traditionally generated by farmers managing for hay and pasture. Ironically these important habitats have now largely been eradicated by modern agriculture. In recognition of this fact there are now numerous conservation projects and financial incentives in place to encourage the maintenance and regeneration of British Meadows. But with so many environmental schemes and species vying for position in British conservation why are meadows so important and how can agriculture help? Continue reading

World Environment Day 2017 – “Connecting People to Nature”


First held in 1974, World Environment Day (WED) is considered to be the largest global event for positive environmental action, with participation from over 143 countries.  It takes place on 5th June each year and is a flagship campaign for driving change and raising awareness on emerging environmental issues, from climate change and wildlife crime, to resource consumption and marine pollution.  This year's host country is Canada and the chosen theme is 'Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator' which encourages us to consider our role within nature and how closely we depend on it. 

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School expedition gathers data on biodiversity in Mexico

Scuba quadrat Scuba quadrats. Image credit: David H. Williams, Rye St Antony

Our guest blogger this month is David Williams, who is the Head of Science at Rye St Antony School, Oxford. He recently led a group of schoolgirls on an Operation Wallacea expedition to Mexico, where they took part in a conservation project which involved conducting mammal surveys and assessing the impacts of tourism on turtle populations and coral reefs. David tells his story as a diary looking at events over the two-week expedition.

I was delighted to be asked to blog on this subject. One of my student’s parents works at CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) – an organisation that focuses on the environment and biodiversity. As an editor at this organisation, she saw the opportunity to highlight the work of schools and conservation. I’m keen to promote science both as a career and as an interest for life, and feel that this is best done by encouraging an appreciation of science as a real, relevant and ongoing subject. My story starts here …

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Indonesia’s mangroves key to climate change mitigation, says study


Mangrove forests in Indonesia store approximately 3.14 billion tonnes of carbon, therefore protection of these ecosystems should be considered a major priority in terms of global climate change mitigation, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change

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2010: Chinese Year of the Tiger

44022 If, like me, you were born in Year of the Tiger, you’ll be glad to know that tiger people are lively and brave, are well liked and always land on their feet. Unfortunately, for tigers in the wild the outlook for 2010 doesn’t look too good…

Tigers are under a severe and growing threat from poaching (see Chapron et al., 2008). Their skins are sold as luxury items and tiger parts are used in traditional medicines. In addition, tigers suffer from habitat destruction, and prime tiger territories such as the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans are under threat from rising sea levels (see Gilman et al., 2008).

Now we come to the problems of human/tiger conflict. Tigers are often perceived as a threat by livestock farmers, and locals who gather materials from tiger-inhabited forests fear the risk of attack. Studies suggest that monitoring of potentially dangerous tigers by fitting them with radio collars may help to avoid conflict, along with local people participating in conservation awareness programs focused on tiger behaviour (Gurung et al., 2008).

Further reading:

For more information on the use of selective logging in tiger conservation please see Rayan et al. (2009).

Also visit CAB Abstracts to find more information on tiger conservation.

Thanks to:

The Environmental Investigation Agency’s Tigers campaign
World Wide Fund for Nature’s Tigers in crisis

The impact on tigers of poaching versus prey depletion.
Chapron, G.; Miquelle, D. G.; Lambert, A.; Goodrich, J. M.; Legendre, S.; Clobert, J.; Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2008, 45, 6, 1667-1674, 44 ref.

Threats to mangroves from climate change and adaptation options: a review.
Gilman, E. L.; Ellison, J.; Duke, N. C.; Field, C.; Dahdouh-Guebas, F.; Koedam, N.; Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Aquatic Botany, 2008, 89, 2, 237-250.

Factors associated with human-killing tigers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
Gurung, B.; Smith, J. L. D.; McDougal, C.; Karki, J. B.; Barlow, A.; Elsevier, Oxford, UK, Biological Conservation, 2008, 141, 12, 3069-3078, many ref.

The importance of selectively logged forests for tiger Panthera tigris conservation: a population density estimate in Peninsular Malaysia.
Rayan, D. M.; Shariff Wan Mohamad; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, Oryx, 2009, 43, 1, 48-51, 23 ref.



Pollinator Presence Plummets

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National Wildlife Week in Canada was from 6-12 April and this
year’s theme was pollinators. Hot on its heels was National Pollinator Week in Washington D.C.
from 22-28 June. I am pleased to see an upkeep of the pollinator profile.
This is hardly surprising given the importance of these industrious workers.
Their increasing decline makes profile lifters such as these of the utmost

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