The Telegraph report a rare and beautiful wildflower is being reintroduced to the countryside by Kew Gardens and the plant charity Plantlife after it was mistaken for a weed and killed off by farmers and gardeners.
The red hemp-nettle was once common in southern England and South Wales but the use of herbicides, fertilisers and the spread of highly productive crop varieties have led to it almost vanishing from fields.
The Guardian reports one of the world’s most common pesticides will soon be banned by the European Union after safety officials reported human health and environmental concerns.
Chlorothalonil, a fungicide that prevents mildew and mould on crops, is the most used pesticide in the UK, applied to millions of hectares of fields, and is the most popular fungicide in the US. Farmers called the ban “overly precautionary”.
2017 was the seventh worst year for butterflies in Britain since records began more than 40 years ago. Grayling and grizzled skippers had their worst year on record.
Habitat loss has caused the long-term falls in butterfly populations. However, scientists say the recent dramatic declines are due to climate change, pesticides such as neonicotinoids and nitrogen pollution.
Grizzled skipper numbers have more than halved since the 1970s while the grayling’s population has shrunk by 63% in the last decade. The large white – once so common it was a pest – fell by 19% in 2017.
Read The Guardian’s story for more information.
The BBC reports on how most uses of insecticides known as neonicotinoids represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed.
[photo © Rob Gallop]