It is important for a records centre to provide advice on using data and protecting the environment because for many people it is not at all obvious how to use biological records. Many decisions seem to involve records, but quite often the analysis is minimal - at best, little more than a list of rare species appended to a report, but not really understood.
In reality, biological records are much more useful than this. They can be used for monitoring subtle changes in an ecosystem in response to management, or to decide in a meaningful way which is the better route for a new road or place for a nature reserve.
Here we summarise our advice on a number of policies and practical issues.
- Effect of grazing on moorland vegetation on Brown Clee -
Axiophytes (and other axiotaxa) are the species that indicate good habitat for conservation. They are not necessarily rare or threatened (the two most common conservation designations) and they are distinct from habitat indicator species because they are not necessarily restricted to a specific habitat. This makes the axiophyte concept distinct from other conservation designations. Read more...
Nature Conservation can be easily distracted by competing demands on time and money, leaving the important matters unattended. Our Ten Targets policy aims to address that by focusing attention on some of the higher priorities
>> Read about the ten targets
Shropshire has long had a non-introduction policy, following a conference organised by Shropshire Wildlife Trust in the early 1980s, where it was decided that planting and introducing things is not wise. Most conservation organisations have followed this policy for the last few decades, helping to make Shropshire’s wildlife more natural and wild than in many other places.
Invasive non-native species can cause disruption to an ecosystem. This typically occurs where a predator is introduced to an area where the prey have no natural defence, as with isolated islands where, for example, flightless birds have evolved with no natural enemies. This is far less likely to happen to any ecosystem in the connected continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, where species and ecosystems have been subjected to these stresses for millions of years. However, some rare occurrences of damaging introductions do occur in Britain, and such cases should be managed appropriately and proportionately. At present, millions of pounds are spent each year on controlling non-native species, often with little justification, and conservation organisatons could save themselves much time and trouble to consider the evidence more carefully.
>> Crassula helmsii, New Zealand Pigmyweed
Diseases of plants and especially trees have been in the news a lot, lately. Here we draw on expert knowledge of the county to provide advice on appropriate responses to the risks.
>> Ash dieback