Sky News reports a £2m research project that aims to tackle the biodiversity crisis in the UK and help restore the landscape has been launched. Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the four-year partnership hopes to reverse habitat loss in meadows and woodlands caused by farming, urban development, climate change, and pollution.
Taking place at 100 sites, including South Downs and Stonehenge, researchers will examine how different plants, animals, and other organisms in ecosystems work together.
The BBC reports rescue donkeys are joining work to save a rare farmland wildflower. About 20,000 small-flowered catchfly seeds have been sown at the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon.
The catchfly had disappeared from 70% of its known sites in Britain with the rise of intensive farming and more herbicide use, project managers said. Donkeys would walk over the sown seeds, embedding them, to hopefully boost chances of germination, the sanctuary said. The catchfly’s habitat is in the margins of fields near coasts, and it boasts pinkish-white leaves and sticky hairs.
It was now only found in Wales and south west England, the charity Plantlife, the project’s partner, said.
iNEWS reports a community group has saved wildlife-rich rare chalk grassland in the North Downs – home to nesting skylarks, orchids and wild thyme – by buying it.
Residents sprang into action when the 37.5-acre Pewley Down Fields in Guildford, Surrey, went up for sale. They quickly put a bid together and with the help of Surrey Wildlife Trust a new nature reserve will now be created to preserve the land in perpetuity for future generations.
The Guardian reports road verges cover 1.2% of Great Britain, an area the size of Dorset, and could be used to grow wildflower meadows and create habitat for wildlife, a new study says. In a report outlining the scale of road verges in England, Scotland and Wales, researchers from the University of Exeter used Google Earth and Google Street View to estimate that verges account for about 1,000 sq miles (2,579 sq km) of the UK’s land.
According to the report, up to 707 sq km (27.47%) of road verges are short, frequently mown grassland. The rest includes 1,062 sq km (40.87%) of regular grassland, while 480 sq km (18.73%) is woodland, and 272 sq km (10.66%) is scrub.
BBC News reports wildlife in meadows across Cumbria is thriving after councils were unable to cut them as regularly during lockdown. Kevin Scott from Cumbria Wildlife Trust says allowing some grass and other plants to grow is great for nature and different grass species and wildflowers provide an important habitat for pollinators and butterflies.