At the end of 2020, the protection afforded to the UK’s wildlife by the UK Post 2010 Biodiversity Framework will end. The Environment Bill 2020 does not make clear exactly what will replace it.
The importance of protecting the park’s wildlife cannot be overestimated. In recently reviewing our species lists, we discovered exactly how many of the park’s residents are protected, endangered, or vulnerable, their populations decreasing, their future threatened.
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’s Nature Reserve and we have high hopes of a tenth, the hazel dormouse.
Four of the park’s mammals prioritised by the UK BAP; the full BAP list is below.
Ten species of reptiles and amphibians are prioritised by the UK BAP: four of them are known residents of the park and we suspect the presence of a fifth, the great crested newt.
Eleven species of our Lepidoptera are UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species.
Three of the park’s eleven UK BAP priority species of Lepidoptera; the full list, compiled by Ian Bushell, is below.
Of the sixty species of birds that are prioritised, eight have been identified in the park and, 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, other than Lepidoptera, have not been sufficiently surveyed to make any real judgement as to how many prioritised species there might be. We had hoped to conduct a survey of the Lambrok’s invertebrates this summer but Covid-19 interfered. 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 in which Wiltshire’s Housing Site Allocation Plan intends to build up to 270 houses on three separate sites that border the stream. The legislation that protects it is ending and new protections are not y et in place.
We need to be vigilant, constantly aware of the conservation status of all the park’s wildlife and aware of the complex and changing legislation that protects it.
Header picture by DKG