Bumblebees are going extinct
due to ‘climate chaos’, scientists warn

The much-loved bumblebee is going extinct in Britain, Europe and North America, scientists have warned.

A new study from the University of Ottawa found ‘the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in a given place’ has declined by an average of over 30% over the course of one human generation. This means the bees are finding it difficult to establish new communities and survive to create a new generation of insects. ‘We’ve known for a while that climate change is related to the growing extinction risk that animals are facing around the world,’ said Peter Soroye of UCL, who has just published a paper on the plight of the bumblebee.‘In this paper, we offer an answer to the critical questions of how and why that is. We find that species extinctions across two continents are caused by hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures.’

We have now entered the world’s sixth mass extinction event, the biggest and most rapid global biodiversity crisis since a meteor ended the age of the dinosaurs.

Bumblebees are important because they pollinate plants and therefore help to feed the other species which live here on Planet Earth.
‘Bumblebees are the best pollinators we have in wild landscapes and the most effective pollinators for crops like tomato, squash, and berries,’ Soroye added.‘Our results show that we face a future with many less bumblebees and much less diversity, both in the outdoors and on our plates.’ The researchers discovered that bumblebees are disappearing at rates ‘consistent with a mass extinction’. ‘If declines continue at this pace, many of these species could vanish forever within a few decades,’ Soroye continued.

The technique

‘We know that this crisis is entirely driven by human activities,’ Soroye said.
To assess the bee situation, researchers developed a way of predicting extinctions of animals based on local increases in temperature. The team applied their model 66 species of bumblebee in Europe and North America to find that ‘populations were disappearing in areas where the temperatures had gotten hotter’.

It’s hoped the system could now be used to identify other species at risk of extinction.

Beavers to return to Sussex

  Photo by David Plummer

These natural ecosystem engineers, which help so much with natural flood
management and water quality, were hunted to extinction in the UK in the
16th Century.
But, thanks to The Sussex Beaver Trial, a partnership led by Sussex
Wildlife Trust and the rewilding project at the Knepp Estate near Horsham,
there will be a re-introduction of two pairs of beaver in either late
spring 2020 or in the autumn, in Knepp’s Southern Block.

The Beavers will be released under Natural England licence in two
locations within a large enclosed area for a five-year period to see how
they settle into and adapt to their new environment. The beavers will have
over 250 hectares of land, including extensive swathes of willow,
available to them, where they can roam and do what they do best – natural
coppicing and natural flood management.

We are grateful to everyone who helped to make this project possible.

Read more about this exciting project



Sir David Attenborough
warns of climate ‘crisis moment’

“The moment of crisis has come” in efforts to tackle climate change, Sir David Attenborough has warned.

What does Sir David mean by ‘the moment of crisis’?
He’s highlighting the fact that while climate scientists are becoming clearer about the need for a rapid response, the pace of international negotiations is grindingly slow.The most recent talks – in Madrid last month – were branded a disappointment by the UN Secretary-General, the British government and others.

Decisions on key issues were put off and several countries including Australia and Brazil were accused of trying to dodge their commitments.

The UK is hosting what’s billed as a crucial UN summit, known as COP26, in Glasgow in November. Ahead of that gathering, governments worldwide are coming under pressure to toughen their targets for cutting emissions.

Assuming promised changes are delivered as promised (and there’s no guarantee of that), there could still be a rise in the global average temperature of more than 3C by the end of the century, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The latest assessment by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lays bare the dangers of that. It suggests that a rise of anything above 1.5C would mean that coastal flooding, heatwaves and damage to coral reefs would become more severe. The latest figures show that the world has already warmed by just over 1C.

Sir David has a blunt explanation for why this matters: “We actually depend upon the natural world for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food that we eat.”

We’re already living in a changed world,” according to Professor Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading, a scientist whose depictions of global warming have often gone viral on social media. A landmark report last year warned that as many as one million species of animals, insects and plants are threatened with extinction in the coming decades.

First stranded Orca found in almost 20 years
in the Wash

The first stranded Orca in England and Wales since 2001 has been found by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).The 15ft (4.5m) long juvenile male killer whale was discovered in the Wash on the coast of Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

ZSL said it was likely the whale died a few weeks ago and it has taken blubber, liver, muscle and kidney samples.

Researchers also found a large fragment of plastic in the whale’s stomach, but it was not the cause of its death.Orcas are a priority species for research by ZSL as they are top predators that can absorb significant concentrations of marine pollutants.The team also collected teeth to accurately age the animal and said genetic analysis will help determine which population the animal came from.

ZSL said: “As this is such a rare case, subsequent analysis will inform UK marine mammal research for years to come.”

125 years of the National Trust, nationwide
12 January – throughout 2020

12 January marks 125 years since the National Trust was founded, an anniversary celebrated by a year-long exhibition at Croome Court. Titled The Acorn to Oak Exhibition, the exhibition will showcase artist Jilly Oxlade-Arnott’s paintings of National Trust properties. Another exciting development is the planned transformation of Birmingham’s Roundhouse, a former 19th-century canal-side stables that will become a centre for anyone wishing to explore the city’s famous canals in 2020.

Read the latest Newsletters from the Seahorse Trust

MCZ special newsletter summer/winter 2019 

Newsletter spring summer 2019 

Newsletter spring 2018 Curio special

Parents Countryside Survey

A recent survey of 2,000 parents, carried out by OnePoll, on behalf of CPRE revealed that:

85% of parents in England think that every schoolchild should be able to experience the countryside first-hand as part of the national curriculum.
96% think it is important for children to spend time in the natural world, including the countryside (with 69% saying this is very important and 27% saying it is quite important)

Views with which BNA would concur.

Freshwater Habitats Trust, Conference
European Pond Conservation Network

18-23rd May 2020, London

The 9th European Pond Conservation Network (EPCN) conference will be held over 18-23rd May 2020 at University College London (UCL), London, UK. The conference will combine pond biology, hydrology and landscape ecology with pond conservation practice and welcomes both scientists and conservation practitioners to the meeting. The conference will include a field trip, hosted by the Freshwater Habitats Trust, to the New Forest National Park, which harbours many ancient ponds and rare species.


The latest management guidelines have been launched this week and are being sent to all councils and highways authorities across the UK

Click the report below to read

Plantlife managing grassland verges campaign document

Sir David Attenborough Honorary Fellow and Vice President of BNA, has made a short film about the latest warnings of declines in wildlife

Please read the report below

NATURE RECOVERY by David Attenborough