State of Nature 2013

Groundbreaking study, launched by Sir David Attenborough, finds wildlife in decline with six out of ten UK species threatened. 25 conservation organisations join forces across the UK to call on people to take action.

This, the inaugural State of Nature report, is the first of its kind to document the status and population trends of animals and plants in the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories. 

Wherever you are in the UK, an exciting encounter with nature is never far away; be it the sight of an azure hawker dragonfly skimming over a Scottish bog pool, a pod of common bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the waters of Cardigan Bay, or the world’s fastest bird, the peregrine falcon, stooping to catch prey above the Tate Modern in London. 

The aim of this report is to produce an authoritative assessment of the changing fortunes of nature in the UK, by focusing on the building blocks of our ecosystems – species. We have looked across the UK’s major habitat types and taxonomic groups, and attempted to reflect the situation across the UK’s four constituent countries. We have also tried to shine a light upon the immense wealth of globally important wildlife found in the UKOTs, scattered across the globe from the Antarctic to the Caribbean. 

This report serves as a reminder that nature needs our help and each of us can do our bit to save it. We all have a role to play, from decision makers and land managers, to businesses and individuals. We encourage you to get involved in some way, by supporting the organisations responsible for bringing this report together, or taking practical actions to help wildlife. Perhaps you could provide space for nature in your garden, reduce your carbon footprint or volunteer at a local nature reserve? Why not develop your identification skills and take part in surveys to contribute to our collective knowledge, or speak out about issues affecting the UK’s nature? 

State of Nature fact file:

  • The total number of larger moths had fallen by 28% since the late 1960s and two-thirds of the 337 species monitored had declined, and 37% by more than half;
  • 72% of butterfly species had decreased over the previous 10 years, including common garden butterflies that had declined by 24%;
  • The UK has lost 44 million breeding birds since the late 1960s;
  • In 16 counties, one plant species went extinct every other year;
  • Britain's mammals have seen losses and gains, with decline of hedgehogs, the ongoing loss of red squirrels, and the recovery of otters;
  • In 2010, Norman Maclean's book Silent Summer summarised dramatic declines in the UK's insect populations, and concluded that 'our wildlife is clearly in for a bumpy ride'

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