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Plantlife October 2016
A lot has happened since last month’s E-news, not least our involvement with the launch of the State of Nature 2016 report. Plantlife’s Dr Trevor Dines gave a stirring speech in London (for which he received a standing ovation from Sir David Attenborough!) and Dr Deborah Long similarly enthused the audience at the Edinburgh launch, reinforcing the importance of working side-by-side with other organisations to improve the plight of our wildlife. Plantlife and partners also won a decisive legal victory that will hopefully change the fortunes of the Endangered fen orchid. Read on to find out more…
What is the State of Nature? By Dr Trevor Dines
“Recently, I had the honour of helping to launch the second State Of Nature report at the Royal Society in London. Bringing together data from over 50 wildlife and conservation organisations, the report demonstrated the ongoing decline of a wide range of species (56% of those studied show a reduction since the 1970s) and highlighted the underlying reasons for this decline.
“Not only was it a privilege to represent all the organisations at the launch, but I followed Sir David Attenborough on to the stage. As for so many people, Sir David is a childhood hero of mine – his Life on Earth series in 1979 inspired my interest in nature – so to have the opportunity to share a stage with him was a real highlight of my career.
“Since agricultural intensification is the main ‘driver of change’ in the countryside, I was able to draw on my childhood on a farm in Hampshire. Featuring ‘thunder flowers’ and a population of Autumn Lady’s-tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) that was ploughed into the ground, you can read a copy of my speech here. And, for those of you with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, there’s a rallying call to play ‘conkers’ with them, or we risk losing more words like this from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.
Catfield Fen © Tim Pankhurst/Plantlife
Plantlife has welcomed a government Inspector’s ruling to refuse water abstraction licences at Catfield Fen, an area of stunning landscape considered to be the jewel in the crown of the Norfolk Broads.
Previously, a local farmer had extracted water from the fen for farming, to the detriment of what is recognised to be the finest example of unpolluted valley fen in western Europe. As a result, not only was the fen drying out, but the water quality was compromised too, jeopardising some 2,750 species of animal and plant life – not least the rare fen orchid (Liparis loeselli), whose future we are striving to improve (see news story below).
Further water abstraction would have had serious implications on the site and been disastrous for its longer term protection and management. However, the ruling ensures protection of this special wetland habitat that we’re working on to restore with Butterfly Conservation and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Says Tim Pankhurst, Plantlife’s Conservation Manager for the East of England: “The importance of Catfield Fen for the conservation of fen orchid cannot be overstated.”
And talking of fen orchid…
Preparations are underway for a re-introduction of the fen orchid into at least three sites in East Anglia. But the exact locations remain a closely guarded secret.
This follows successful trials at the beginning of the year when, under licence, we removed, cleaned then translocated a dozen mature fen orchids from a populated part of one of the remaining sites to a selected spot on the same site where there were few orchids present. The trial was a success, all the plants survived the move and some even flowered this summer.
Says Plantlife’s Tim Pankhurst: “The introductions will happen in the New Year, when the plants are good and dormant. Although re-introduction schemes can take a long time and aren’t always guaranteed to succeed, I’m pleased to say that the managers of the receptor sites are all on side and happy to tweak their management plans to maximise the chances of success.”
For more on Catfield Fen and fen orchid, click here
Fen orchid (Liparis loeselli) © Andrew Jeffery/Plantlife
Our future for wild plants
For the last 27 years, Plantlife has had a single ideal – to save and celebrate wild plants, flowers and fungi. And our overall aims – to conserve them, and help increase people’s knowledge and enjoyment of wild plants and their habitats – remain as central to our work now as they did when we were founded in 1989. With this in mind, we have recently updated our Strategic Business Plan to make sure we focus on those all-important objectives, which underpin our plans for the next five years. We want to see a world so rich in flowers that our children and grandchildren could pick a bunch – as many of us did when we were growing up – without this causing harm and being a threat to their survival. Do you agree with our vision? Read more in Plantlife CEO
Conkers are cool!
When chestnuts are hanging Above the school yard, They are little green sea-mines Spiky and hard. But when they fall bursting And all the boys race, Each shines like a jewel In a satin case. Clive Sansom
Even though the Oxford Junior Dictionary (OJD) may have dropped ‘conker’ from its latest edition, rest assured that it hasn’t disappeared under our radar here at Plantlife. Far from it! For it appears in glorious autumnal technicolour in our stunning 2017 calendar, which is based on our ‘Forget-me-not’ appeal and available on the Plantlife shop as one of our great gift ideas this Christmas.
Other equally awesome present suggestions include Summerdown Mint’s award-winning range of luxury bath, body and home products; stunning poppy and pansy notecards; scarves and specially designed tea towel and apron; and wild seeds to create your own patch of wildflower garden. Not forgetting two new Christmas cards, designed by artist Celia Hart.
Taking place this weekend are two fun events . . . a guided walk on Barnham Cross Common, Thetford, Norfolk, on Saturday 8 October – see the poster on the right for full details; and the 2016 World Conker Championships on Sunday 9 October at Shuckburgh Arms, Southwick, Peterborough PE8 5BL.
For more details, click here.
More events near you
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