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UK species face extinction and decline

Words: Huw Morris

The UK is among the ‘most nature-depleted countries in the world’ with one in seven species facing extinction and more than half in decline, according to a major report.

The State of Nature 2016 report found 56 per cent of species had declined between 1970 and 2013, while 15 per cent are threatened with extinction.

It blames climate change, urbanisation, habitat creation, changes to forest cover and management, and the drainage of wetland areas. Intensive agriculture has had by far the largest negative impact on wildlife, accounting for nearly a quarter of the decline.

The research, compiled by more than 50 environmental organisations led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, suggests that the UK has lost significantly more nature over the long term than the global average. It warns that most of the country’s “ecosystems may no longer reliably meet society’s needs”.

Species at risk of extinction include the kingfisher, while the hedgehog, water vole, curlew, and turtle dove are all in decline.

State of Nature 2016 is available here.