Biodiversity. is the variety of life on earth. What will we look at today?. What is biodiversity? What does it do for us? Why and how are we losing biodiversity in Wales and elsewhere? Conserving and enhancing biodiversity in Carmarthenshire. Nature 'is worth billions' to UK.
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Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth
What will we look at today? What is biodiversity? What does it do for us? Why and how are we losing biodiversity in Wales and elsewhere? Conserving and enhancing biodiversity in Carmarthenshire
Nature 'is worth billions' to UK The UK's parks, lakes, forests and wildlife are worth billions of pounds to the economy. (June 2011) For decades, the emphasis has been on producing more food and other goods - but this has harmed other parts of nature that generate hidden wealth. National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) "The natural world is vital to our existence, providing us with essentials such as food, water and clean air - but also cultural and health benefits not always fully appreciated because we get them for free." (Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman). The economic benefits of nature are seen most clearly in food production, which depends on organisms such as soil microbes, earthworms and pollinating insects.(BBC News 2nd June 2011 Can we put a monetary value on our relationship with nature?
Biodiversity – the three parts include species diversity - all the different plants, animals and micro-organisms genetic diversity - the genetic differences between individuals that drives adaptability and evolution habitat diversity - the different places where species live
Definitions Habitat the biological or physical area where the population of a species – an animal, a plant, or any other type of organism lives Ecosystem all the organisms – plants, animals, and other organisms in their physical environment or habitat
Biodiversity is key to life on earth... it moderates the atmosphere what do all plants take in throughout the day?
Biodiversity provides us with most of our food – what did you eat for breakfast? most of our fruits and many of our vegetables are pollinated by insects
Biodiversity provides free coastal defences These salt marshes at Laugharne (and elsewhere around Britain) help to prevent flooding by absorbing wave energy, and forming natural coastal defences. Management of these natural areas is far cheaper than an making our own sea defences.
Biodiversity creates fertile soils – think back to primary school and minibeasts ensures pollination, which is essential for food production
Biodiversity provides medicines English yew (Taxus baccata) The leaves of this yew are used in the synthesis of compounds called taxols, which are used in the treatment of breast cancer. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) Digitalis has been used since the 16th century to treat heart disease And its derivatives are still used in modern medicine.
Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) From rubber gloves to waterproof sheeting, latex which comes from the rubber tree plays an important role in health care and medicine. Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) Opium derivatives such as morphine are still used as powerful painkillers in hospitals.
We are losing biodiversity as a result of habitat destruction Clearance of forest for agriculture and road building in Cambodia, close to a nature reserve. Britain has already lost about 97% of its original woodland cover
But habitats are being lost closer to home ... Woodland is lost as a golf course is developed in Staffordshire (2007) Hedgerow destruction continues in Carmarthenshire (2011)
Loss of biodiversity in Wales Quarrying of limestone for road building and development in Carmarthenshire at Allt y garn, Crwbin Agricultural intensification and clearance of species rich areas e.g. drainage of wetland habitats, burning of heath lands, removal of hedgerow trees
Wind turbines in Carmarthenshire, grassland and other habitats are lost in the making of tracks and turbine bases Ffos y fran open cast in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales, results in the loss of areas of habitat
Farming practice - farm's slurry waste spill probed BBC News 27th Dec 2008 Police are investigating an incident after slurry waste was released from a farm tank, on Christmas Day. Thousands of gallons came from a store on a farm at Llansawel, Carmarthenshire, into a stream which led to the River Cothi. Dyfed-Poyws Police said people in Abergorlech, around three miles away, were affected. How might this incident affect biodiversity?
North Devon farmer fined after slurry spillage 2009 A north Devon farmer has been ordered to pay £6,177 in fines and costs following a slurry spill at a dairy farm near Bideford.The farmer told the officers the slurry store had overtopped following a ‘surge’ of waste. An ecological survey of local streams showed the pollution had caused a serious reduction in fish numbers and aquatic life. Water samples taken close to the farm contained high levels of ammonia that can be toxic to river life. Are there other possible sources of pollution on farms that would be harmful to biodiversity?
Conserving and enhancing biodiversity - how do we do this? Protecting landscapes – National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Using legislation that applies to habitats and species Protecting sites – Sites of Special Scientifc Interest - SSSIs Implementing Local Biodiversity Action Plans: these focus on habitats and species
Protecting landscapes - National Parks in Wales conserve and enhance natural beauty conserve and enhance wildlife conserve and enhance cultural heritage enable the public to understand and enjoy the park – recreation and access
Using legislation that relates to wildlife Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Badger Act 1992 Hedgerow Regulations 1997 Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 ( linked to EU legislation)
Protecting Carmarthenshire’s Endangered Species UK and EU legislation protects otters, dormice, marsh fritillary butterfly, harbour porpoise and all species of bats UK legislation protects additional species including all nesting birds, water vole and red squirrel
Protecting areas that are important for biodiversity There are 96 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Carmarthenshire. These protect a cross section of the habitats found in the county and the species that they support Six of these are recognised as being of European importance and are Special Areas of Conservation under EU legislation
What does being an SAC or SSSI mean? EU and UK legal protection - a system of prosecuting anyone who damages the site Site protection through the planning and other licensing procedures Assistance with carrying out positive management of the site Recognition as being a site of European and/or national importance for biodiversity
Marsh fritillary butterfly at Caeau Mynydd Mawr SAC (Cross Hands) protected by EU and UK legislation habitat: marshy grassland with Devil’s Bit Scabious, the larval food plant. Some of this habitat is designated as SAC and SSSI but not all threatened by: habitat loss and fragmentation due to development, and inappropriate management of existing habitat
Local Biodiversity Action Plans www.carmarthenshirebiodiversity.co.uk Local partnerships identify species and habitat of local concern as well as taking on board national priorities. They develop action plans setting out how they will safeguard some of the county’s rare habitats and species
Red squirrels in CarmarthenshireWhat are we doing? DNA testing of hair samples to investigate genetics promoting forest management that will conserve their preferred food trees and habitat controlling grey squirrels that carry a disease fatal to the reds
Brown hairstreak butterfly winter surveys identify eggs laid on blackthorn in hedgerows, and enables us to map the population in the county hedgerow management in the winter months is the best way of providing 3-4 year old blackthorn, the only food plant used by the caterpillar
Rhondda Cynnon Taf spent £190,000 on dormouse bridges crossing a new bypass. This was an attempt to ensure that the dormouse can cross the road, and reduce the effects of habitat fragmentation. The dormouse is an EU protected species and to gain approval where this species occurs, developments have to demonstrate how they can take account of its needs.
One bridge is already in place above a new slip road linking the A449 near Newport, Gwent. It will help the animals, which do not like open spaces, to move freely between habitats. The crossing, which cost £10,000 and is made from two wooden poles with a rope tunnel running between them, was built following an agreement with council planners following a ecology study of the area and its species.
Factors resulting in loss of biodiversity in Carmarthenshire Habitat loss and habitat fragmentation resulting in the loss of feeding and breeding areas for species. Both the above can result from development – roads, housing and industrial building, as well as unsympathetic agricultural practices Effects of introduced species – Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam, and grey squirrels
Invasive non-native species These threaten our native biodiversity as they take over the same habitats and compete for the same food. They can also spread disease among the native population Japanese knotweed colonises easily and dominates native vegetation - eg on river banks
Biological control - working with biodiversity At the National Botanic Garden of Wales several types of biological control are used in the glass house. These Australian ladybirds and their young eat mealy bugs which damage plants.
Control of whitefly using Encarsia formosa – a small wasp introduce the predator when pest species is in low number the parasitic wasp lays its eggs in the young whitefly, which the wasp larvae eat when they hatch out. Yum. Look at the video on YouTube.
What have we looked at today? What is biodiversity? What does it do for us? Why and how are we losing biodiversity in Wales and elsewhere? Conserving and enhancing biodiversity in Carmarthenshire – what’s occuring right here?
Biodiversity quiz What does the word biodiversity mean? What services does biodiversity provide for us? What activities threaten biodiversity, and how? Which areas of Carmarthenshire are important for biodiversity? What is biological control and where is it used?