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Biodiversity vital for future of Wales

10 October 2018

Sleeping doormouse

New measures being put in place to boost wildlife could be an effective means of Wales meeting its biodiversity objectives, experts have concluded.

Dr Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, an ecologist at Cardiff University and Heather Galliford of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Cymru, worked together on the research, Biodiversity and the area-based approach in Wales.

The purpose was to examine how Wales can ensure declining species and habitats benefit from the new approach to natural resource management being implemented.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is required to produce Area Statements under the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The purpose of the Statements is to set out the area based priorities for the sustainable management of natural resources.

The report recognises that Wales’ natural resources provide a wide range of economic, social and cultural benefits.

Species diversity plays an important role in the healthy functioning of ecosystems and ecological resilience. It also supports communities through the provision of services such as flood controls; a variety of tree species can help pull water into varying depths of soil and also lead to a woodland area with greater resistance to pests.

Social well-being is also increased through maintaining flourishing habitats, offering scope for eco-tourism and recreational activities.

But the report notes: “Without sustainable management, many of these activities can threaten the degradation of biodiversity, which presents risks to the future delivery of these services.”

A report by NRW in 2016 highlighted Wales’s failure to meet national and international biodiversity targets.

Chris O’Brien of the RSPB said: “This report makes it clear that tackling biodiversity declines is fundamental to securing the healthy ecosystems we all depend on. The development of Area Statements gives us a huge opportunity in Wales to achieve this”.

Biodiversity and the area-based approach in Wales: How can sustainable management of natural resources (SMNR) framework deliver nature recovery? is available here.