Regular readers may have noticed the addition of grey boxes titled Conservation Status at the end of posts about our flora and fauna and beneath the pictures on the sidebar.
In researching our response to Wiltshire’s Housing Site Allocation Plan and the developer’s plans for the field to the south of Church Lane, we discovered exactly how many of the species on our species lists are protected, endangered, vulnerable, or the populations of which are decreasing.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan prioritises 18 species of terrestrial mammal; nine of those species are either resident in, or visitors to, Southwick Country Park and we have high hopes of a tenth.
Ten species of reptiles and amphibians are prioritised by the UK BAP and four of them are known residents of the park and we suspect the presence of a fifth. Of the sixty species of birds that are prioritised, eight have been identified in the park. Of the prioritised habitats on the the UK BAP list the park covers hedgerows, rivers, wood-pasture and parkland, ponds and lowland meadow.
The UK BAP also lists prioritised invertebrate species, vascular plants and fungi. The park’s invertebrates have not been sufficiently surveyed to make any real judgement as to how many prioritised species there might be, although we hope to conduct a survey of the Lambrok’s invertebrates this summer. Our lists of flowering plants are incomplete and the possibly thousands of fungi and lichens are largely a mystery to us.
This puts the park and Lambrok Stream at the centre of an important wildlife landscape the whole of which we feel deserves protection. We decided that we should highlight the conservation status of all the inhabitants (fauna, flora and fungi) of the park so that park users and our website followers are aware they share the space with species that need to be looked after.
In 2020 the protection afforded by the UK Post 2010 Biodiversity Framework will end. It is not yet clear to us exactly what will replace it and what the responsibilities of local government will be under any new legislation. It was notable, during the WHSAP hearings in the first weeks of April, that Wiltshire had not conducted ecological appraisals of the three allocated sites (Church Lane, Upper Studley and Southwick Court) that abut the Lambrok; the implication seemed to be that that would be the responsibility of developers.
We feel that this might be a mistake; we need to be constantly aware of the conservation status of all the park’s wildlife and equally aware of the complex legislation that protects it.