Beetling about …. “Reviews”

2013 saw a considerable volume of reports which catalogued the decline of species and habitat loss.

So, it is pleasing to report that another NERC commissioned Report has just been published.  A review of the scarce and threatened beetles of Great Britain NERC134 is now available as a download.  ISBN 978-1-78354-050-1.

The report’s foreword informs the reader that Natural England commission a range of reports from external contractors to provide evidence and advice to assist us in delivering our duties. The views in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Natural England.

It is good that these reports are produced, previously we understand that they were largely staff projects but times have changed as Natural England has ‘evolved’.  One might lament the haemorrhaging and departure of science, to be seemingly replaced by the new more recent priorities of engagement and access?

Further background rationale to the series is provided “Making good decisions to conserve species should primarily be based upon an objective process of determining the degree of threat to the survival of a species. The recognised international approach to undertaking this is by assigning the species to one of the IUCN threat categories.

The degree of threat is an interesting concept?  A case might be offered that such an assessment in itself might be subjective?

NERC134 was commissioned to update the threat status of beetles from the named families from work originally undertaken in 1987, 1992 and 1994 respectively using the IUCN methodology for assessing threat.  It is expected that further invertebrate status reviews will follow.”  Its Natural England Project Manager – Jon Webb, jon.webb@naturalengland.org.uk  With the Contractor –  Buglife (project management), and K.N.A. Alexander (author)

The report is published by Natural England under the Open Government Licence – OGLv2.0 for public sector information. “You” are encouraged to use, and reuse, information subject to certain conditions.  The Forum heartily endorses the concept of recycling, but alongside a plea for ongoing survey and monitoring.

Here’s to more such reports, but to re-iterate the need for site science to provide an understanding of change, losses and gains to inform management operations to deliver best practice for key habitats and the species dependant upon them.

For a list of other downloadable NERC Reports click here.

I just wonder how much notice the politicians who make decisions about our natural environment take of these reviews?  Or, conversely given some of the titles above, were they influential in their commissioning in order to assist the development of ‘projects’?

Reports 003, 013, 085, and 118 are certainly interesting topics for advisers on nature conservation to be commissioning as they appear to drift into other arenas out-with the organisational remit of when it was created, but evolution is a natural process …. the Nature Conservancy Council became English Nature and they evolved into the current Natural England in 2006 a hybrid which saw an amalgamation with the Rural Development Service and the Countryside Agency ….

 

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