H a b i t a t - the sea, the land and the life          
Wildlife and environment news from the British Isles - books too!


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Wildlife 
Man charged over Grizedale red kite deaths
A man has been charged in connection with the poisoning and shooting of red kites in south Cumbria.
The rhododendron’s road to redemption
Joanna Fortnam visits Cragside, where the National Trust is finding new uses for the prolific and invasive plant .
Charity uses cameras to track East Yorkshire water voles
A wildlife charity is using hidden cameras to monitor the region's water vole population.
British butterflies the subjects of pioneering research
The study, published in the journal Molecular Ecology, reveals that climate change is causing certain species to move and adapt to a range of new habitats.
Poisonous mushrooms flourishing in mild British weather kill pet dog
A family watched their pet dog die in agony after he ate a toadstool which are flourishing across the British countryside thanks to the mild winter weather.
Wild ponies help protect reserve’s wildlife
Wild ponies have been brought in to an East Yorkshire nature reserve to keep grass levels down for birds.
Government mugging of England’s wildlife protection
Not content with proposing to sell off vast swathes of the Public Forest Estate and introducing a presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’ in their planning bill, the ‘greenest government ever’ has bowed again to pressure from developers ...
Turtle doves and partridges among wild birds in steep decline in Britain
Farmland birds in Britain have declined to their lowest numbers ever recorded, despite efforts in some parts of the country to protect them from damaging changes to their habitats.
Gamekeeper admits poisoning buzzards
A 45 year old man has pled guilty to poisoning 4 buzzards using the lethal, banned pesticide Alphachloralose.
Pheasant releasing is the driving force for retaining hedges rich in wildlife
New research by the Hampshire based Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust shows that pheasant releasing is one of the main incentives for managing and planting hedgerows in England, thereby conserving a wide range of wildlife.
Butterflies react to climate change
British butterflies are heading north as global temperatures rise, new research suggests.
The study, published in the journal Molecular Ecology, reveals that climate change is causing certain species to move and adapt to a range of new habitats.
Intruder leaves trail of otter devastation
An otter is devastating a South Lakeland woman’s garden after killing wildlife in her pond.
Why it’s berry good news for Wirral’s wildlife this winter
Wirral wildlife will have a helping hand from mother nature in the months ahead after a bumper crop of berries in our countryside.
British Isles
HS2
HS2: Government considers new high-speed rail tunnel
The government is to look again at the HS2 high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham which could mean a new tunnel is built in the Chilterns.
Report casts doubts on Government’s carbon forecasts for HS2
A new report shows that, contrary to Government forecasts, High Speed 2 (HS2) could in fact cut carbon emissions, but only if specific policies are put in place.
Lincolnshire's marshes to benefit from £850,000 regeneration project
Work has begun on a three-year project to regenerate Lincolnshire's coastal grazing marshes.
Grant of £26,000 to help restore hay meadows in Cumbria
Hay meadows in Cumbria will be restored thanks to a funding grant of more than £26,000.
Brecks nature designation bid fails
A bid to secure a national nature designation for Breckland has failed, prompting frustrated calls for the under-appreciated landscape to be given wider recognition.
Wind farm ‘blot’ on coastline’s scenic treasure
Fears have been raised that one of Yorkshire’s most famous scenes will be blighted by a vast new offshore wind farm being built five miles off the region’s coastline.
The Ochils under threat of industrialisation by more wind turbine plans
The Ochils, currently a draw for walkers of all abilities, will be “fatally compromised” if the latest wave of wind turbines plans gain planning consent.
Nuclear plans are set back another year
Originally, the plan had been to build the first of a new generation of nuclear power stations by 2017 but this was extended to 2018.
The government’s conflicted state on biodiversity
I just wrote this for former Labour biodiversity minister Barry Gardiner MP’s IPOAK website – I don’t know when he’ll post it but you can read it here now.
Osborne: The new enemy of the green movement?
George Osborne is not a climate sceptic, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, was obliged to pronounce yesterday, in the face of growing criticism of the Chancellor's commitment to Britain's environmental agenda and in particular to UK plans to combat global warming.
Natural England, English Heritage to be forced to promote more building
Government agencies which are meant to protect the countryside are to be forced to encourage more building in rural areas, under new plans.
Nature movement makes its first million
A programme to rally the UK to help tackle the crisis facing nature has received overwhelming support, with people taking over one a million steps in just six months.
Global
Scientists set to revise species count from 10 million to 100 million
Evolutionary biologists have long-since believed there are about 10 million different species on earth, but that figure is set to be revised upwards, with predictions it could be as high as 100 million.
World's biggest insect is so huge it eats carrots
Adventurer Mark Moffett has found the world's biggest insect - which is so huge it can eat carrots.
A brighter future for Europe’s rarest migratory songbird
Aquatic Warbler, the rarest and the only globally threatened passerine bird in mainland Europe, is facing a brighter future thanks to six years of intensive work within a LIFE project ...
Caucasus region nominated as one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots worldwide
The Caucasus Region was nominated by Conservation International as one of the 34 identified biodiversity hotspots worldwide.
Where Antarctic predatory seabirds overwinter
When it comes to choosing their wintering destinations Antarctic skuas are flexible.
Some wasps learn never to forget a face
Primates have a face recognition system that enables them to distinguish between individuals, and now it seems that some wasps do too.
Royal Society offers free special issue on rainforest conservation
For one month the Royal Society is offering a special theme issue of its Philosophical Transaction B journal on rainforest conservation for free.
Ecuador: What lies beneath the jungle
We'd been waiting for more than two hours, and I was beginning to wonder if they would show up at all.
The last refuge
"No one is allowed to sleep until we find it.'' Ecologist Dr James Smith is half joking but the force of his voice suggests he is determined, even a bit desperate.
Sweden’s green veneer hides unsustainable logging practices
On a misty August morning in northern Sweden, a team of conservationists was combing an old spruce forest for rare species of lichen and fungi.
B.C.'s pine-beetle battle leaves legacy of clear-cuts and untold environmental harm
British Columbia officials sold the epidemic as unprecedented in North American history.
State notifies Bhimgad as wildlife sanctuary
The state government has come out with the final notification of Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Khanapur taluk giving recognition to the efforts of Belgaum forest division on Thursday.
New EU fisheries fund: a shift towards sustainability?
On Friday 2 December, the European Commission has made a step in retargeting EU fisheries subsidies towards sustainable fishing and supporting marine life and ecosystems, while increasing transparency and conditionality of the fund.
Protection for rare, remnant vegetation on volcanic plains
Catchment management authorities have welcomed government funding for a major biodiversity protection project on the Victorian volcanic plains.
Climate
U.N. climate chief sees air clearing on cut pledges
The U.N.'s climate chief said on Saturday she believes countries can snap the deadlock that has lasted for years and sign up to fresh and binding commitments to cut greenhouse gases, after a week of climate talks between nearly 200 countries.
China may agree to binding CO2 cuts-envoy
China gave U.N. climate talks a lift on Friday by confirming it may sign up to a legally binding deal to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases, a move that could help rescue talks about the future of the Kyoto Protocol, observers said.
Japan says renewing Kyoto pledges is not enough
Japan believes extending Kyoto Protocol emission cuts is not nearly enough to tackle the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming and is looking for a fresh deal that covers all major emitters, its climate envoy said Friday.
India backs U.S., China against EU climate plan
India said the world should concentrate on extending the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gases, joining the U.S. and China in rejecting a European Union proposal for talks aimed at drawing up a new treaty.
Climate fund talks in disarray as US refuses to sign deal
Emergency talks are continuing this morning in a bid to rescue a proposed climate fund which is central to securing meaningful resolutions from the UN's climate change conference in Durban.
Oceans 'ignored' on COP17 agenda
The world's oceans, often referred to as the heart and lungs of the planet, are under stress and scientists are calling for immediate action.
Wilted greenery
Thousands of anxious environmentalists, hard-eyed negotiators and bemused journalists gathered in Durban this week for the UN’s annual climate-change circus.
Lord Prescott: 'Conspiracy against poor' at climate talks
Rich nations are trying to scupper a new climate deal, ex-deputy prime minister John Prescott has said.
Scotland 'setting example' at UN climate change summit
Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson has said the country is making "real progress" towards meeting its climate change targets.
Climate change: Third World reaps a bitter harvest
A scientific consensus is hardening that extreme climatic events will grow more frequent and more severe as the world heats up.
'Report card' documents the Arctic's new normal
The Arctic has entered a new era. The region has shifted to conditions of warmer air and water, less ice cover on the sea and more vegetation growing on land, says an international team of scientists in this year's Arctic Report Card
UN aviation body probes four main climate change options
The United Nations body that oversees civil aviation is considering four main options to address greenhouse emissions from jetliners, and has not yet made any decisions, a spokesman said on Thursday.