Cornwall LIFE Project
A preliminary batch of results from the
LIFE Project was used to launch our
Habitat Appeal in October, and shows
that wildlife habitat is still being lost at
an astonishing rate of more than 3% a
decade. This means that urgent action
is needed by the Wildlife Trust.
The final results from the project will
be available early in 1997 and the
system will be used extensively in die
first six mondis of the year to analyse
trends and examine specific cases of
loss of wildhfe habitat.
Data capture, checking & editing
As I write. two thirds of Cornwall have
been mapped and analysed for land-
cover chance. Viv. Sarah and Nick are
spending long hours making sure that
the information is of a high standard and
sutable for detailed analysis.
An assessment earlier in the year of gaps
in our data led to the commissioning of
further capture of graphic data sets.
These include National Trust land (both
freehold and covenanted). tree
preservation orders, Cornwall Wildlife
Trust nature reserves. Woodland Trust
nature reserves and RSPB nature
reserves. They will be used in an
assessment of the degree of protection of
wildlife habitat across Cornwall, and
will be supplied in digital and paper
form to the organisations providing the
data. In particular. the National Trust
has spent a "reat deal of time helping us
to get its data into a suitable format.
Customising the system
Customisation is now complete. and a
rance of menu-driven facilities is
available. One of the most powerful
facilities is "land-cover change
analysis". which allows users to choose
categories of habitat gain and loss: to
see where the gain/loss occurred: and to
see what designation applied to that
land. For example. you can choose loss
of wetland and gain of agricultural land.
and see where that pairing of gain/loss
occurred within Cornwall Nature
Conservation Sites as compared to the
rest of the countryside. Another
powerful facility. "squares query".
allows you to select 1km squares that
meet user-specified conditions, e.g.
greater than 25% broadleaved woodland.
This is invaluable for identifying areas of
Cornwall that have specific combinations
and densities of wildlife habitat.
Members of the Trust who would like to
see the system in action are welcome to
contact me at the Triist to arrange a
Using the system
Detailed discussions have started with
the County Council on the development
plan applications ,of the system. These
include auditing the effectiveness of
existing development plan policies
using the "land-cover change analysis"
facility described above. and drawing
revised versions of policy boundaries
using the "query squares" lacility.
Other uses include the Trust's analysis
,of trends in habitat loss hr the Habitat
Appeal and for the recently established
Cornwall Local Biodiversitv Initiative.
Providing an up-to-date information
service on butterflies. moths. dragonflies,
damsel flies etc.. Insect Line - 0891
700250 - will be re-established in spring
1997. to offer information, or request
further details of the service. call (01565)
Veryan Wildlife Watch
A bat workshop was held at the
beginning of August. and at the end of
the summer holidays we met to learn
about the lives and adaptations of owls.
Barn owl pellets were dissected at half-
term and yielded skulls of the predictable
field vole. wood mouse. common shrew
and bank vole. This is always an
exciting event. It is less well known that
birds of prey are not the only ones to
have developed this strategy to reduce
unnecessary body weight and hence
promote economy of energy. Many other
birds have similar strategies. e.c.
blackbirds regurgitate the coral-pink
seeds of ivy berries. Rooks too.
especially when eatine larce quantities of
grain. regurgitate Fibrous straw-coloured
pellets consisting of seed coats and the
occasional beetle and earthworm
remains. together with "izzard stones.
Under trees. the stones remain in small
clusters following the disintegration of
the pellet and are quite easy to spot with
practice. Curlews go one Step further
and regurgitate the gizzard lining as well
- has anyone ever found any? We would
be interested to know.
For the first time ever. information on the
wildlife of the South West has been
drawn together in a single document.
Entitled "The biodiversity of the South-
West: an audit of the South-West
biological resource". it has been prepared
by a partnership including the RSPB.
The Wildlife Trusts and the South West
Regional Planning Conference (an
alliance of local authorities).
The document is essential to everyone
interested or involved in conservation.
including Government departments and
acencies. local authorities. gron psand
individuals. It will be used to inf()rm
generally. and to guide biodiversity work
programmes. Details are included of:
over 30 key habitats, their current status.
and an assessment of threats and
conservation opportunities: 34 UK
endemic species, of which 11 are found
only in the South West: over 20 globally
threatened species,' over 700 species of
Copies are available at £15 including p&p
(payable to RSPB) from Helene
Jessop. RSPB, 10 Richmond Road, Exeter, Devon EX4 4JA.
From the conservation office |
The harvest mouse