Populations of Tree Sparrows, Whitethroats and Green Woodpeckers
are increasing according to statistics published by the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) today.
The biodiversity indicators show that populations of farmland
and woodland birds in England, previously in decline, appear to
have stabilised, while there is cause for optimism as some species
Biodiversity Minister, Jim Knight, said:
“I am greatly encouraged by this new data which shows that
many of our much loved species are stable or on the increase although
we acknowledge that not all the news is positive.
“We will continue to investigate the reasons for decline
in certain species in order to take action to stabilise numbers
in a hope that they will increase in the future.
“Trends in wild bird populations are a complex statistic - with
a mixture of some species increasing and others declining. Equally
varied is the range of solutions required to address the problems
our wild birds face.
“Defra’s entry level environmental stewardship scheme
will go a long way to contributing to the recovery of many species,
however it is important that we do not become complacent. We must
continue to seek ways in which we can enhance, improve and nurture
biodiversity to ensure a healthy environment for the future.
“Our wild birds are a much loved part of our culture. The
membership of wildlife conservation organisations is up, so too
are visitor numbers to nature reserves - reflecting the ever
growing enthusiasm shown by people for our wild places and biodiversity.
The many volunteers who contributed their time and energy in collecting
data for these indicators are a perfect example of this enthusiasm.”
Defra is committed to updating evidence as it becomes available
with a full 2006 report covering all 46 biodiversity indicators
due at the end of the year.
The statistics published today compliment a report on the population
of woodland birds, also published today, by BTO, RSPB, Forestry
Commission and Defra.
1. Defra today published updates of 13 of the indicators used
to measure the progress of the England Biodiversity Strategy.
2. The indicators were first published in December 2003 as Measuring
Progress: baseline assessment.
3. Defra aims to publish updates and improvements to these indicators
when new data becomes available, which varies depending on the
indicator. The data underlying the indicators are gathered on different
cycles; some are gathered annually, or even monthly; others are
updated on a three year, or longer, cycle. Several of the indicators
relating to the assessment of populations of wild birds are now
more robust due to changes in the way the data is collected or
4. Of the 13 updated indicators, three are showing overall positive
results with the remaining 10 showing no change or uncertain trend
due to conflicting results within the indicator.
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