|Vol 23 No. 4 - April 2012|
The state of the UK’s butterflies
Richard Fox, Tom Brereton, Jim Asher, Marc Botham, Ian Middlebrook, David Roy and Martin Warren
UK butterflies are one of the best-studied wildlife groups, and butterfly population trends are an important indicator of the health of biodiversity and the general environment. The comprehensive data collected through the Butterflies for the New Millennium recording scheme and UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme provide the information to assess progress towards the EU 2010 biodiversity target and the new 2020 target, as well as indicating the status of butterflies themselves. This article analyses the data, noting the declines and the increases in populations, the causes for these changes, and looks to the future for our butterflies and biodiversity as a whole.
Too steep for the plough? The history of the Pasqueflower in Britain
Kevin Walker and Clare Pinches
The Pasqueflower is one of our most beautiful and charismatic native flowers, yet sadly it has undergone a serious decline, occurring on only 19 sites today, although it has been recorded historically form 127 localities. This article describes the history and ecology of the Pasqueflower and examines the reasons for its decline. Its loss from so many sites provides important insights into the threats now faced more generally by calcareous grassland flora, and the conservation needed to improve the status of this ancient flora.
Phenology in 2011: an unusual year?
Tim Sparks, Kate Lewthwaite and Sian Atkinson
Nature’s Calendar/UK Phenology Network has been running for 14 years, collating phonological observations from across the UK and databasing historic records. Here, the results for 2011 are discussed and compared with previous years.
Deer in the Peak District and its urban fringe
Ian D Rotherham and Martin J Derbyshire
Over-population of Red Deer in the Highlands led to studies of deer populations and the impacts of rapidly expanding populations on native habitats and on human health, but little attention has been paid to urban deer populations. However, a series of surveys of deer populations in the urban areas of Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham and the Peak District has shown that since the 1970s and 1980s numbers of four species of deer have increased and expanded in their range. These are examined, together with future population models and the implications for the area.