Coalition of conservation charities is aiming to support a wide range of projects from the restoration of peatlands to the reintroduction of species such as beavers
UK conservation coalition the Wildlife Trusts has launched a campaign to drum up public support for work to help nature recover across 30 per cent of the country's land and sea area by 2030.
The 30 by 30 campaign aims to raise £30m to reverse the decline of UK wildlife, the body said, highlighting how over a quarter of UK mammals are in danger of disappearing altogether, including iconic creatures such as hedgehogs, red squirrels, bats, cuckoos, water voles, and turtle doves.
The decline is being driven by the collapse in Britain's natural ecosystems, as urban sprawl and development diminish the extent of wild places and fragment the habitats that remain. Only 10 per cent of UK land is protected, the Wildlife Trusts said, with much of this in poor condition.
Funds raised by The Wildlife Trusts' campaign will go towards nature recovery projects that will put new land aside for nature as well as repair and connect existing, fragmented wild areas to enable wildlife to move around more easily, the body said. New funding would also support existing campaigns, such as the body's call for a new landscape designation for England called 'Wildbelt', which would foster rewildling via natural woodland regeneration, wetlands restoration, and the creation of wildlife corridors.
"We will buy land to expand and join-up our nature reserves; we'll work with others to show how to bring wildlife back to their land, and we're calling for nature's recovery through a new package of policy measures including big new ideas like Wildbelt," explained Craig Bennett, chief executive at the Wildlife Trusts, which brings together 46 UK local wildlife organisations.
"The next 10 years must be a time of renewal, of rewilding our lives, of green recovery. We all need nature more than ever and when we succeed in reaching 30 by 30 we'll have wilder landscapes that store carbon and provide on-your-doorstep nature for people too."
Specific 30 by 30 projects include restoring 50 hectares of lost fenland in Lincolnshire, repairing carbon-sequestering peatland in Lancashire, reintroducing beavers and farmland birds to the Isle of Wight, and converting low-grade agricultural land into nature areas in Warwickshire. Each of the projects managed by one of the Wildlife Trusts' component organisations.
The Wildlife Trusts' campaign follows analysis from conservation charity RSPB published earlier this month warning that the UK has failed to meet the overwhelming majority of UN biodiversity targets, adopted by national governments 10 years ago. While the UK government had claimed it failed to meet 14 of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, conservationists at the RSPB argued it had in fact missed 17, and gone backwards in relation to six of the targets.
Nature's decline in the UK mirrors that sweeping the planet on a global level. The WWF's Living Planet Index, also published this month, concluded that the earth's wildlife populations have fallen by 68 per cent since 1970, a decline the NGO dubbed "catastrophic".
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