From the conservation section


Our Senior Conservation Officer writes...

The work of the conservation section continues to develop and expand. The Records Centre is a key part of this, as is the Countryside Advisory Service. There is always a danger, however, of becoming too inward-looking and not being adventurous or imaginative enough in our future plans. The Biodiversity Initiative and The Wildlife Trustsí Conservation Plan have both been produced recently, and give plenty of food for thought about what we should be doing for wildlife in Cornwall. It is up to us to set our local priorities for action accordingly.To achieve this, a "Membersí Conference" will be held at the end of March, which will help us set our priorities for the year 2000 and beyond. Speakers will include Simon Lyster, Director General of the Wildlife Trusts, on his first visit to Cornwall. A leaflet with details of the conference is enclosed with this edition of Wild Cornwall. You are are encouraged to come along and have your say!

Cornwall Local Records Centre
Following the transfer of the former Cornish Biological Records Unit (CBRU) to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust last year, all species, habitat, site and subject files on paper have been incorporated into a single system. The CBRU library and the Trustís library now form a single resource that will be put onto a library database soon. Special thanks are due to Stella Turk for all the work she has done in these areas.
Electronic biological records were held on the ERICA database at the CBRU. This ran on a minicomputer at the University of Exeter. The database has now been rewritten by Colin French, as a consultant to the Trust, to run on a personal computer. It is installed and operational at the Trust, and works alongside the Trustís other systems such as Recorder and the ArcView Geographical Information System.
An operations manual and development plan is currently in draft form and a consultation process is taking place. This will guide the operation of the Records Centre for the foreseeable future and will also allow fund-raising priorities to be determined.
Close links have been established with the newly formed Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation of Biological Recorders (CISFBR).

Countryside Advisory Service
Between 1st May 1997 and 31st October 1997, 46 site visits were undertaken, including 27 farms, five schools and four churches. Twenty-one telephone enquiries were answered, with information and advice being sent out or given over the telephone.
The Trust helps landowners with grant applications wherever they are available and appropriate. In the last six months, eight have been successful, including four Countryside Stewardship applications, and the Trust has a further 11 schemes lined up.

Cornwall Heathlands
Project

Work continues on this joint project with the RSPB, which aims to achieve positive management on at least 45 heathland sites across Carrick and The Lizard, as well as substantial areas in Dorset and Brittany. Trust staff are carrying out a programme of site visits and preparing site statements. Efforts are made to persuade landowners to enter their land into Countryside Stewardship, with the Trustís assistance.

Heath


Cornish heath - a rarity whose habitat is expanding thanks to our work with the RSPB.
Illustration: Sarah McCartney



Cornwall Biodiversity
Initiative

Since the successful launch of Cornwallís Biodiversity Volume 1: Audit and Priorities in June 1997 (reported in the last newsletter), plenty of activity has continued. Volume 1 contained 12 specific recommendations that would address the 119 species and 11 habitat priorities. Each recommendation is being progressed by a small focus group, aiming to agree actions for implementation by the initiative partners. By mid-1998, all agreed actions will be published as an action plan for Cornwall - just two years on from the launch in June 1996.
The approach to biodiversity action planning in Cornwall has been praised by organisations in other counties in the UK, and is seen as a practical way of achieving agreement and action in a relatively short time.



The Wildlife Trusts
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust is part of a national network of Wildlife Trusts working towards common goals. We play our part in setting national priorities through regional and national meetings of The Wildlife Trusts.
A recent development has been the publication of a national Conservation Plan for The Wildlife Trusts, setting out for the first time our national priorities and providing a common point of reference for all Wildlife Trust work. The Cornwall Wildlife Trust is committed to playing a significant role in implementing the national priorities in the plan.
The National Director General of The Wildlife Trusts, Simon Lyster, will address our Members' Conferencein Cornwall on 29th March - see diary.
Simon Lyster

Dormouse - one of the focal speciesprioritised in the Wildlife Trusts' Conservation plan. Illustration: Sarah McCartney
Membersí Conference
Coastguard A very exciting suggestion by the Trustís Executive Committee, after discussing The Wildlife Trustsí Conservation Plan and the Cornwall Biodiversity Initiative, was to hold a one-day Membersí Conference. The aim would be to set, in the light of the the national plan and the Biodiversity Initiative, the Cornwall Wildlife Trustís priorities for future action.
The conference will be held at the end of March, with key national and local speakers and plenty of opportunity for members to have an input through discussion and workshop sessions.
Christopher Howe

Conservation and Education- Caradon Country Service commissioned these boards, lavishly illustrated by Sarah McCartney, to promote the Looe Voluntary Marine Consesrvation area. Photo: Mark Nicholson Apologies for my slight (!) editing error in the last issue. In fact, Cornwall lost 71/2% of its wetlands between 1988 and 1995, not 72% as stated. Thatís still an awful lot of this precious habitat to lose though. Mark


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