- 22 May 2013
A State of Nature report will be launched this evening by Sir David Attenborough. The report is a collaboration between 25 UK conservation and research organisations, and shows that 60% of species studied have declined in the last 50 years.
Of these plant and animal species studied, 31% have declined strongly and over 10% were found to be at risk of extinction in the UK.
Declines were recorded across all countries and UK Overseas Territories, and all habitats and species groups. The declines appear to be greatest amongst insects, as shown by recent reports such as the State of Britain's moths. As expected, species with narrow habitat requirements appear to be faring worse than generalist species.
Dr Barbara Knowles, Senior Science Policy Advisor at the Society of Biology, says: "The findings are alarming, and will hopefully be a call to action. But the report also gives us reason for hope, demonstrating what can be achieved by well-planned conservation schemes.
"It describes conservation success stories such as changes in the mowing of hay and silage which has led to an increase in corncrakes, and the felling of plantation forestry which appears to have dramatically improved biodiversity."
The report recognises the invaluable contribution of thousands of dedicated volunteers who contribute monitoring schemes and species recording.
Dr Knowles says: "Without the work of volunteers we couldn't have produced such detailed information about the declines in a wide range of plant and animal species. Citizen science projects make vital contributions to our understanding of our natural world."