Breaking news: the Lawton review

(Professor Sir) John Lawton’s review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network is out.

It’s pretty policy-wonkish stuff, as is necessary for this kind of report: so not exactly a bed-time read except for the most seriously sleepless (it’ll be my homework for the weekend).

But good to see ponds getting attention. A couple of snippets:

“Ponds are important habitats for a wide diversity of wildlife and can provide ‘stepping stones’ for many species that use freshwater habitats to move across the landscape (Webb et al. 2010; Williams et al. 2010). An estimated 70% of ponds were lost from England since 1880, with much of the loss occurring in the second half of the 20th century as a result of agricultural change and urbanisation (BRIG 2007). Since 1990, however, this trend has been reversed, and the latest estimates reveal an increase in the number of ponds of 1.4% per annum between 1998 and 2007 across Great Britain (Williams et al. 2010). In contrast to the recent increases in numbers there has, however, been an apparent decline in pond quality. In 2007, 80% of ponds were assessed as being of ‘very poor’ or ‘poor quality’, a 17% increase in the proportion of ponds in these categories since 1996 (Williams et al. 2010).”


More healthy ponds (Section 4.3.4), for example, mean a lot more wildlife (Halliday 2010).

Obviously these chaps are pretty sound when it comes to ponds!

Incidentally, the Williams of Williams et al is Penny Williams, Pond Conservation’s Technical Director.


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