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


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Wildlife 
Northern prongwort
Prongwort discovery 'unique' to the Highlands
A nature reserve in the Scottish Highlands is the only place in the world where a type of liverwort plant has been found growing.
Pine forests threatened by the invasion of giant moths
Scotland’s woodlands are at risk from a giant Russian moth whose caterpillars can cause large-scale damage to pine forests over thousands of acres, Forestry Commission officials have warned.
Hen harriers 'reach 20-year high' on Orkney
The population of hen harriers on Orkney has reached a 20-year high, RSPB Scotland has said.
Protesters gather in bid to save Windermere Canada Geese from cull
The picturesque postcard setting of The Glebe at Bowness was swarmed by an army of placard-bearing protesters on Saturday.
Rat poison linked to decline in birds of prey
The indiscriminate use of poisons to kill rats or mice has been linked to an alarming decline in some of Ireland’s most iconic birds of prey, such as barn owls and kestrels.
€56,413 to be spent on natterjack toad project
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has confirmed that it is spending €56,413 to carry out a monitoring project on the natterjack toad that is found mainly in Co Kerry.
Forget the zebra, watch out for the toad crossing
As darkness descends the verge comes alive. Blades of glass rustle as hundreds — if not thousands — of toads spring forth from hibernation, each one a bloated, wart-ridden, writhing mass of arms of legs.
Foresters plan pleasant surprise for sleeping dormice
Dormice sleeping in a Monmouthshire woodland can look forward to a pleasant surprise when they wake from their hibernation in the spring after Forestry Commission Wales transformed their home as they slept.
Butterfly conservation project success
A conservation project underway in Cornwall aimed at securing the future of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies is proving to be a success, thanks to the creation of special ‘butterfly corridors’ and the revival of traditional woodland management.
Increased strandings on Irish coast
Numbers of cetaceans stranded on the Irish coast remain high compared to previous years.
British Isles
£20m Steart wildlife plan wins go-ahead
A spectacular £20million wildlife habitat will be built on the Steart Peninsula after planners gave the scheme the green light.
'No fishing zones' call as Bill hits Assembly
‘No take’ zones are crucial if Northern Ireland’s rich marine wildlife is to be protected, a wildlife expert said yesterday as the Marine Bill hit the Assembly.
Drought-hit England announces first wave of emergency measures
The first emergency measures to support the drought-hit south of England were announced today in an attempt to preserve dwindling water supplies.
Environment Agency Wales water supply complacency warning
Wales should avoid being too complacent about its water supply levels, the Environment Agency Wales (EAW) has warned.
Wildlife criminals on camera
Police are launching a major operation in Devon to catch bird of prey poisoners and egg thieves.
RSPB is criticised over link to earl who owns ‘bird-poisoning’ Hopetoun estate
The RSPB has been criticised for holding an event celebrating Scottish birdlife at the stately home of a lord who also owns a grouse shooting estate that has been linked to bird of prey poisoning.
Powys council opposes wind farms for Llanbadarn Fynydd and Carnedd Wen
Powys council says it will formally object to two large wind farm applications due to be decided on by the UK government.
Achieving renewable targets through reliance on wind would be a ‘Pyrrhic victory’
The John Muir Trust has repeated calls for an independent national Energy Commission to examine the technical and economic aspects of current UK and Scottish policy and to consider the viability and costs of energy production and transmission.
Dredging transition extended
The British government has decided to extend the current one year transition period for low risk maintenance dredging activities for a further two years in English waters.
Environment Agency:
Drought warning for East Midlands
Drought conditions are highly likely to affect large parts of the East Midlands if dry weather continues, the Environment Agency says.
Safeguarding future of river for angling and wildlife
Wildlife and anglers are to benefit from a project to improve and protect an important wildlife and course fish habitat on the River Nene.
Global
Ocean
Oceans will not survive ‘business as usual’
Our oceans face a grim outlook in the coming decades. Ocean acidification, loss of marine biodiversity, climate change, pollution and over-exploitation of resources all point to the urgent need for a new paradigm on caring for the earth’s oceans—"business as usual" is simply not an option anymore, experts say.
Saving biodiversity: a $300 billion-a-year challenge
Saving biodiversity -- the vast and essential variety of the natural world -- will be expensive, at an estimated $300 billion a year for the next eight years.
Common North American frog identified as carrier of deadly amphibian disease
Known for its distinctive "ribbit" call, the noisy Pacific chorus frog is a potent carrier of a deadly amphibian disease, according to new research published today in the journal PLoS ONE.
Increased honey bee diversity means fewer pathogens
A novel study of honey bee genetic diversity co-authored by an Indiana University biologist has for the first time found that greater diversity in worker bees leads to colonies with fewer pathogens and more abundant helpful bacteria like probiotic species.
Eco-conservation zone built near Three Gorges Reservoir
Authorities in southwest China's Chongqing municipality have finished creating an ecological conservation zone near the Three Gorges Reservoir, said a spokesman from the Chongqing Municipal Forestry Bureau on Monday.
A growing illicit trade threatens Jamaica's wildlife
News of Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo's newest attraction shocked Jamaican authorities. The unlikely stars: a flock of 45 endangered Jamaican Amazon parrots, hatched from eggs smuggled out of the island in rum-cake boxes.
Greek volcanic island of Santorini shows activity
The Greek island of Santorini is showing increasing signs of volcanic activity, a U.S. researcher says.
Germany blows warm on hydrogen power
Germany is investigating the potential of converting wind power to hydrogen as an energy source in the wake of the country’s decision to move away from nuclear power.
Half the world's seabirds are in decline, says report
The populations of almost half of the world's seabirds are thought to be in decline, according to a study published in Bird Conservation International.
Climate
Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity
Many studies in recent years have investigated the effects of climate change on the future of biodiversity.
Atmospheric CO2 levels hit 800,000-year high: CSIRO
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years, while the last decade in Australia was the warmest on record, CSIRO scientists say.
ADB: Climate change could spawn mass migrations
The Asian Development Bank is warning countries to prepare for influxes of people fleeing natural disasters as climate change exacerbates rising sea levels, soil degradation and seasonal flooding.
Long-distance gene flow and adaptation of forest trees to rapid climate change
Forest trees are the dominant species in many parts of the world and predicting how they might respond to climate change is a vital global concern.
Report: Solar, wind and biofuel markets smash revenue records
The global market for solar PV, wind energy, and biofuels grew 31 per cent during 2011 to almost $250bn (£160bn), according to new figures from analyst firm Clean Edge Inc.
Renewables industry urges government to clarify post-2020 targets
The renewables energy industry has again called on the government to urgently clarify its plans for low-carbon energy development after 2020, following the release of a controversial submission to the EU, which argues the bloc should abandon specific renewable energy targets post-2020.
EU will back down on airline carbon after ICAO plan, SocGen says
The European Union will probably back down on including aviation in its carbon market once theUnited Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization proposes a global program, said Societe Generale SA.
Hedegaard hails 'first step' towards rural CO2 emissions rules
The EU executive has proposed new harmonised rules to account for greenhouse gas emissions from forests and agriculture within the EU’s climate policy.
Climate-change skeptics paid by U.S. think-tank
Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent refuses to comment on revelations that climate-change skeptics in Canada are getting money from an American think-tank funded by corporations.
Land ownership boosts climate resilience in India
Efforts to secure land ownership for tribal people in one of India’s poorest states are bolstering their economic security in the face of climate-induced hardships ...