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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Duke of Burgundy
Three-quarters of UK butterfly species in decline
Nearly three-quarters of butterfly species which breed in the UK have seen their numbers decline over a decade, according to the biggest ever survey of the colourful insects.
Butterfly boom for Borders as English species flutter north
The Scottish Borders are becoming a hotbed of butterflies as a number of species head north because of climate change, according to a report out today.
Bittern in booming good health in England's quarries and wetlands
Britain's loudest bird, the bittern, is enjoying its best year since records began, thanks partly to a new penchant for nesting in disused and working quarries.
Seal study shows diverse parenting styles
To most of us, one seal seems much like another. But a new study shows they have varied personalities that lead to distinctive approaches to parenting.
Killer whales spotted yards from Cornwall coast
Killer whales have been spotted just 100 yards off the coast of Cornwall.
Rare tentacled lagoon worm may delay Dartmouth slipway
A tiny worm, less than 5mm long, could delay the building of a new £300,000 slipway in Devon.
River Wear fish protected from birds by 'hedgehogs'
Devices called hedgehogs are coming to the rescue of fish in the River Wear in the first project of its kind in an English river, according to the Environment Agency.
Parasites outpace fish as temperatures go up
Climate change is taking a toll on creatures the world over, fish included.
Rare species continue to grow in Northumberland
Pearl mussels in North Tyne have ended their reproductive drought by breeding for the second year in a row.
The Forestry Commission and The Conservation Foundation join forces to reinstate Elm Trees
The Forestry Commission in the West Midlands is taking part in the Great British Elm Experiment, run by the Conservation Foundation, which aims to reinstate Elm Trees into our countryside.
Awards given for recorders of Irish species
The National Biodiversity Data Centre has announced the recipients of the Centre's Distinguished Recorder Award.
Badger cull in Wales decision early in 2012
A decision on a controversial badger cull in parts of west and mid Wales will be announced early next year.
Donna Nook high tides leave up to 75 seal pups dead
Up to 75 seal pups are believed to have died after a series of high tides hit a colony at a Lincolnshire reserve.
Killer whales spotted off Cornish coast
Two killer whales were spotted by walker Dom Clarke 100 metres off the coast of Cornwall.
Ravens seen to communicate with gestures
Ravens may be even smarter that previously thought, using gestures to communicate among themselves, a European study suggests.
New study accelerates the recovery of hungry wildlife
A new study by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Conservation Grade has identified that by growing a specific mix of flowers and grasses farmers could accelerate the recovery of declining farmland birds and bees.
British Isles
Don’t pander to the Westminster “growth at all costs“ agenda
Environmental organisations are deeply concerned that plans for a new M4 relief road may be back.
New talks on Severn barrage plan from Cardiff to Weston
UK government ministers are in talks with a private consortium over revived plans to build a multi-billion-pound barrage across the Severn Estuary.
Former Medway mayor backs controversial airport plan
A former mayor of Medway has backed ambitious plans to build a new airport in the South East despite widespread condemnation.
Secret talks over wind farm plans
Donald Trump's representatives yesterday held a secret meeting with the companies behind plans for a £200 million offshore wind farm near his golf resort.
GSK says turbine delay rumours are ‘spurious’
Rumours that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has put its wind turbine project on hold were this week dismissed by the company as “spurious and unfounded”.
UK 'needs biomass' to meet targets
The UK cannot meet its targets to slash greenhouse gases by mid century without using energy from plant sources such as wood, the Government's climate advisers have said.
Forestry sell-off plan overlooked benefits, panel says
The benefits of England's publicly owned forests were "greatly undervalued" by the planned state sell-off, a government-appointed panel will say on Thursday in a report that deals a new blow to the coalition's green credentials.
Holt Lowes heathland protected by Dartmoor ponies
Dartmoor ponies are the latest recruits to a team protecting a Norfolk heathland of international importance.
Scramblers spark concern for Bodmin Moor farmers
Off road bikers on Bodmin Moor are causing huge damage to sites of special scientific interest, police have said.
Dorset landfill site 'to become beauty spot'
More than 6,500 trees and shrubs are to be planted on a former landfill site in Dorset in a bid to transform it into a "beauty spot".
Conservation charity objects to Highland wind farm
The UK's leading wild land conservation charity has objected to plans for a 43-turbine wind farm in the Highlands.
Plans for 2,600 wind turbine farm off Hornsea have gone on display
Plans for the UK's biggest offshore wind power zone have gone on public display for the first time.
Campaigners protest against Norfolk wind turbines plan
Placard-waving protestors gathered outside a public exhibition last night to fight against plans to build wind turbines near a Norfolk village.
Frog pools and fish highways in Midlands' biggest reedbed creation
Tens of thousands of swirling starlings, iridescent ducks and majestic swans heading to the East Midlands from Scandinavia and Arctic Circle this winter will get a unique bird’s eye view of one of the UK’s most innovative landscape-conservation projects ...
Cash boost fits bill for work to conserve wildlife at wetland
A nationally important wetland in Yorkshire is set to receive a boost to its wildlife conservation work.
Funding for Western Isles projects
Several organic projects in the Western Isles have been given a cash boost thanks to the latest round of Rural Priorities funding from the Scottish Government.
Plans for M4 relief road back on the agenda
Plans for an M4 relief road – scrapped on cost grounds two years ago – are today back on the agenda.
Decision looms on first Mekong mainstream dam
Impoverished Laos is poised to erect the first dam across the Mekong River's mainstream as it pursues its goal of being Asia's battery despite intense opposition from downstream countries and environmental groups.
Japanese whalers get $28m in earthquake cash
Japan's whaling fleet has left its home port for another turbulent season in the Southern Ocean, this year courtesy of extra money from the nation's earthquake recovery fund.
Kruger National Park to protect its rhinoceroses
Wildlife authorities in one of Africa's most popular national parks will no longer tell visitors where to find its rhinoceroses after an upsurge in poaching in recent months.
South Africans wait for swallows amid global warming fears
Wetlands — critical for the health of South Africa's coasts and river systems — already have been degraded or seriously altered by human activity, and experts fear global warming threatens them further.
Former enemies influence EU governance of GMOs
The EU’s governance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and food safety has given lobbyists a new role.
Evaluating the impacts of GM crops in the EU
AMIGA «Assessing and Monitoring the Impacts of Genetically modified plants on Agro-ecosystems» is a newly started EU project, funded by the FP7, aiming at producing scientific data related to the possible environmental and economic impacts of cultivation of GMPs, relevant to European environments.
Canada’s tar sands lobbying gets murky
A row has broken out over a Canadian lobbying mission to the British Foreign Office that opposes the EU’s proposed Fuel Quality Directive.
Hungry goats improve habitat for rare native species in Iowa project
At the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt in Polk County, researchers have developed a novel tool for restoring biodiversity to a landscape choked by invasive species: Set loose a herd of hungry goats.
Over 400 rhinos poached in South Africa this year
The number of rhinos poached in South Africa has risen sharply this year with more than 400 killed, the South African National Parks said on Tuesday.
Nisshin Maru on the move
The Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru has left port today in what Sea Shepherd believes is the departure of the whaling fleet for the Antarctic.
“Indigenous knowledge must to protect biodiversity”
Biodiversity plays a major role in bringing basic necessities to the people but as it has been taken for granted, finding an economic value to it has become a necessity, said Balakrishna Pisupati, Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), on Sunday.
Scientific meetings discuss global nitrogen cycle
Researchers are attending two scientific meetings hosted by the Royal Society this week to discuss issues relating to the global nitrogen cycle.
Urban ecology model 'needs to change'
The way researchers assess urban ecology needs to change in order to take into account the way modern cities are developing, a study suggests.
Insecticides an increasing problem in future for streams in Europe
Europe's streams will in future be more heavily polluted with insecticides than before.
Spain ... to designate 41 marine Special Protection Areas
On 18 October, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM), published a proposal designating 41 marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Spain.
EU signals flexibility on demand for climate treaty deadline
The European Union signaled it may be open to a different deadline for a new global warming treaty yet to be negotiated, widening the scope for an agreement at United Nations climate talks this week.
U.S. climate stance is ‘blowing negotiations apart,’ envoy declares
The U.S. view that no new global climate deal is possible before 2020 is derailing negotiations aimed at slashing the world’s oil and coal emissions, according to an envoy at the talks.
Australia, New Zealand say no Kyoto extension without larger climate deal
Australia and New Zealand, which sponsor the most developed carbon markets outside Europe, say they won’t agree to remain part of the Kyoto treaty unless other countries bolster efforts to curb emissions.
U.N. Climate Conference close to deal on Green Fund
Negotiators are close to agreeing the shape of a Green Climate Fund, which is designed to help poor nations tackle global warming and nudge them towards a new global effort to fight climate change.
Warning on climate impact on Pacific
Pacific islands can expect more extremely hot and wet days, saltier oceans killing off coral reefs and rising sea levels, a new report on climate change reveals.
Sweden, UK and Germany rank most active on climate
Sweden, the UK and Germany are doing the most to tackle global warming, according to this year's Climate Performance Index. Brazil has lost top honors and no nation is doing enough to avoid 'dangerous' warming.
Forest change risks climate goal
Brazil's new Forest Code means it will struggle to meet its targets on curbing greenhouse emissions, according to a former environment minister.
IPCC's Dr Rajendra Pachauri: Himalayan glaciers are undoubtedly melting
Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the international scientific body on climate change, has said the Himalayan glaciers were "undoubtedly" melting.
French Alpine glaciers in retreat
Glaciers in the French Alps have lost a quarter of their area in the past 40 years, according to new research.
Ruling on airline carbon limits expected soon
The European Union's highest court is expected to give its final ruling on Dec. 21 on a European law that would force all airlines to pay for their carbon emissions, an EU source said yesterday.
Dropping CCS threatens UK climate goals - report
Britain urgently needs to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology if it is to achieve its climate targets, and failure to do so would require unforeseen technology breakthroughs and behaviour changes instead, a report said on Wednesday.
Buses should run on cooking oil to meet carbon targets
Buses should be run on cooking oil to help Britain meet its pledge to cut greenhouse gases, the Government’s climate advisers have said.
Public support for tackling climate change declines dramatically
There has been dramatic decline over the past decade in the public's support for tackling climate change in Britain.
Human factor huge on climate change
It is "extremely likely" that human activities are "by far the dominant cause of warming" in Earth's climate since 1950, according to a study published this weekend in the journal Nature Geoscience.