‘High impact’ wildlife projects aim to restore habitat across England | Environment

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‘High impact’ wildlife projects aim to restore habitat across England | Environment

Restoring a kelp forest off the coast of Sussex, creating a new habitat for heat-sensitive butterflies and connecting rift wetlands to reintroduce beavers are among 12 new projects receiving funding to help the UK tackle climate change. wild animals Confidence declared.

Planting new seagrass pastures in the Solent, expanding salt marshes on the Essex coast and restoring peatlands in Cumbria, Durham, Yorkshire, Northumberland and Somerset are some of the “high impact” schemes the nature charity said would help mitigate the impact of the world. Heating on land and at sea.

Alongside the projects, backed by nearly £2 million in funding from popular mail lottery players, researchers will look at how best to protect the UK’s ecosystems and biodiversity from rising temperatures, while also paving the way for re-introducing the locally extinct species in some cases.

Great North Bog
Great North Bog in northern England, which the Wildlife Trusts are working to restore. Peat bogs can store large amounts of carbon dioxide. Photo: Yorkshire Peat Partnership/PA

A project in East Anglia will work with University of Cambridge researchers to understand how micro-habitats can be created in chalk grasslands to protect heat-sensitive butterflies such as the Little Blue, the Blue Shark and the Duke of Burgundy. Another Derbyshire company will work to restore forests in the Derwent Valley and, if successful, could reintroduce pinefish and red squirrel to the area. Funding will also go to a project off the coast of Sussex that supports the restoration of 200 square kilometers of lost kelp forests.

John Hughes, director of development at the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, which is benefiting from project funding to restore fragmented wetlands known as maris and algae in the West Midlands, said he hopes the schemes will encourage the public to support restoration on a wide range of ecosystems.

beaver
Restoring wetlands will create a habitat for beavers. Photo: Nick Upton/Cornwall Wildlife Trust/PA

“If you want to inspire people, you do something like release a beaver. It’s not about the individual animal. It’s about explaining that nature has many answers to the problems we face. Beavers are a great solution to many of the problems plaguing this country’s wetlands,” Hughes said.

Toiling rodents help maintain wetlands and prevent flooding downstream by building dams, and they support the amphibians, insects, plants, and fish that share their habitat. Natural England requires beavers to be fenced under current reintroduction rules, though A record is expected It will be released this year.

Dr Gwen Hitchcock, chief monitoring and research officer at the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, said the funding will enable further research into how to protect native insect species from climate change. Her trust project will test different butterfly bank designs in chalk grasslands to encourage insect abundance in higher temperatures.

“Butterflies have very limited ways of affecting their body temperature. Research has shown that larger, paler butterflies are better able to protect themselves from temperature extremes, but darker and smaller species – especially specialists – find it more difficult.” “Depending on the amount of climate change, it may end up that all of our species depend on certain habitat traits. The goal of this study is to determine which features would be best for them.”

blue butterfly
The blue-eyed moth is sensitive to temperature changes and therefore vulnerable to global warming. Photo: Patrick Jeffries

Other projects include an effort to create a new nature reserve in South Lakeland, Cumbria, and the establishment of the province’s first agroforestry project to grow peat moss, which holds up to 20 times its weight in water and helps form peat. Another center in Devon will set up a nature-based solutions center on a farm to show how nature can help reverse the effects of intensive farming.

The Nottinghamshire project will work with farmers to create a network of restored habitats for pollinators and farmland birds. The new funding from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will help scale up the Great North Bog project, which aims to put more than 4,000 hectares of highland peatlands under restoration management.

The 12 plans focus on both mitigating and adapting to climate change, said Craig Bennett, chief executive of Wildlife Trusts.

“We urgently need to think about how to allow nature to help tackle the climate crisis أزمة [and] How you can help with adaptation. A lot of that has to do with trapping water back into the landscape: recreating our wetlands, restoring our peatlands and reintroducing beavers,” he said. “We know there’s a lot of concern about the environment and people sometimes feel that we’re not changing fast enough. If we can create large-scale projects and really start to turn things around, we can show what works in the UK.”

“We are delighted that the funding raised by our players is helping the Wildlife Trusts restore habitats across the country that play a key role in carbon accumulation and storage,” said Laura Chow, president of charities at the People Postcode Lottery.

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