04 October 2019

Time to listen to the science, says GWCT Wales following today’s State of Nature report

Today’s State of Nature 2019 report is a damning reflection of how our biodiversity in Wales continues to decline. With 17% of species in Wales threatened with extinction the report states loss of habitat as a root cause and blames farming and climate change.

Sue Evans GWCT director, urges Welsh Government to act on the science demonstrated by GWCT based on its 80 years of research. “GWCT continues to demonstrate that farmers - who manage over 80% of the Welsh land mass - are best placed to deliver a wildlife rich countryside alongside profitable farming with the right support mechanisms”.

When it comes to reversing wildlife declines, GWCT has a wealth of experience and expertise which can be confidently adapted to each individual farm whether it be beef and sheep, dairy or arable.  “We have continuously demonstrated a combination of quality habitat management, supplementary winter feeding and legal predator control is all that is needed to reverse the dreadful declines seen in farmland bird species. As examples, the Allerton Project demonstration farm doubled songbird numbers in just three years and in our upland project we demonstrated and average three-fold improvement in breeding success of wading birds such as lapwing, curlew and golden plover. We’ve also demonstrated how to bring mammals such as water vole and brown hares back from the brink”.

“Wales now has a great opportunity to get the right environment scheme in place if they implement the science and get a bit braver in delivering what is needed on the ground”

“Vast amounts of money have been invested in habitat creation, seeing it as a single solution in past schemes which haven’t yielded the required results. Whereas predation control, in conjunction with habitat enhancement, is scientifically proven to boost vulnerable species of waders, songbirds and mammals, many of which have severely declined in Wales.”

"Perhaps it is time that we addressed this emotive topic and promoted the benefits of legal, targeted and humane predator control as a scientifically proven conservation tool which should be incentivised in future agri-environment schemes.”

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