Happy World Biodiversity Day

Today is World Biodiversity Day, celebrating nature’s variety and its protections. Given the challenges facing nature in the UK today, maintaining awareness, alongside practical action to address these threats, remains of vital importance. Volunteer Philip Box takes a look at how the National Trust is working hard to restore a healthy, beautiful natural environment.

High Brown Fritillary butterfly, Heddon Valley. This species is perhaps the UK’s most threatened butterfly ©National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

What is “World Biodiversity day”?

Created by the United Nations in celebration of the 1992/3 Convention on Biodiversity, World Biodiversity Day aims to increase global awareness of biodiversity and related issues. The aims of the Convention include the conservation of biological diversity, ensuring any associated use is sustainable, and the fair sharing of genetic resources, e.g. disease-resistant crop varieties or certain agricultural species.

It works primarily through mandating parties to produce National Biodiversity Strategies and/or Action Plans, supported by international monitoring and research bodies. These plans are expected to detail current threats to biodiversity, alongside strategies and actions taken in order to promote conservation and sustainability.

At the time of writing, 189 of 196 parties have produced plans, the UK amongst them, although how thorough each National Plan is varies.

What’s the state of play today?

The State of Nature 2016 Report revealed that the UK’s biodiversity is far from secure. With 56% of UK species in decline, and the numbers of those threatened with extinction rising (as high as 15% in some ecosystems), conserving our nation’s fauna and flora is of increasing concern.

Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii), a rare tree-dwelling bat, mostly associated with old growth broadleaved woodland. ©National Trust Images/Bat Conservation Trust/Hugh Clark

How are we playing our part?

Nature holds a special place in the nation’s imagination, celebrated through Wordsworth to Shakespeare, Ratty, Moley and Beatrix Potter, to name just a few!  Likewise our native plants colour our landscapes, with such symbolic species as the English oak, Scottish thistle and Welsh daffodil.

A key part of what makes the National Trust’s places special is the nature they nurture and the wildlife and biodiversity we’re working to protect and nourish.

As one of the nation’s largest landowners, we’re committed to promoting good environmental practice, safeguarding habitats from environmental damage, protecting native species and enhancing the quality of our land, air and water.

We continue to promote biodiversity through our day-to-day, responsible and sustainable management practices. Our Environmental Management Standards are in line with all current legislation and our own, independently-verified, measures to ensure continuous improvement.

Formby, Liverpool – the fastest eroding place in the Trust’s care. We’re currently developing a coastal adaptation strategy. ©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish.

The condition of the environment is crucial to our core purpose, in protecting special places forever, for everyone. A clear objective of our Playing our Part strategy is to restore a healthier, more beautiful natural environment. As part of this, we aim to work with our land managers and tenant farmers to improve, join up and increase both the size and number of our various special wildlife habitats.

So, as we celebrate World Biodiversity Day, we at the Trust are committed to playing our part in promoting the best standards of environmental management, in order to safeguard our iconic national biodiversity for the future.

For more information about our work to restore nature at our places, take a look at our website.

Blog by Philip Box, Campaigns and Policy Volunteer, National Trust.

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