The Large Blue butterfly, formerly extinct in the UK, was successfully
reintroduced over two decades to sites in south-west England. New research
at the University of Oxford has greatly improved its conservation status
and identified key factors that determine the ability of this extreme
specialist to survive, especially in the context of climate change. Since
2008 this has led directly to new, larger and more stable populations, to
significant expansion of the butterfly's range into cooler regions, and to
new `races' with greater environmental tolerance. The research has thus
contributed directly to the positive upgrading of this species' global
Conservation of migratory bird species is an inherently international
endeavour, because the fate of these species depends upon the actions of
nations throughout their migratory ranges.
Research into migratory wading bird populations by Jennifer Gill and
colleagues at UEA has had the following impacts:
Scientists at the Institute of Zoology (IOZ) led the development of the
IUCN Red List, the foremost tool for assessing species extinction risk. We
further developed systems to evaluate the status of biodiversity at the
national level (National Red Lists), quantify population changes (Living
Planet Index) and robustly measure changing biodiversity (Sampled Red List
Index), and global indicators of the status of biodiversity for the
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). These are used to drive
conservation policy and public engagement by Inter-Governmental and
Non-Governmental Organisations, and national governments, and underpin
measurement of adherence to CBD Targets for 2010 and 2020.
Drs Peck and Stewart are actively engaged in conservation projects in
Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Ecuador and have established conservation areas
that are now protected from logging and which provide a sustainable income
for local communities. These impacts are:
Research from the Department of Zoology has been instrumental in
identifying residues of the veterinary painkiller diclofenac in cattle
carcasses as responsible for catastrophic declines in vulture populations
across the Indian subcontinent. As a result, the drug has been banned for
veterinary use in the relevant countries, and an international
conservation effort (SAVE) to Save Asia's Vultures from Extinction has
been set up. Declines have since slowed, captive breeding programmes have
been introduced, and local people have been trained in monitoring work and
advocacy. There has also been inter-government collaboration to support
conservation efforts, the first example of such collaboration on the
Impacts: I) Improved provision of environmental services in
Belize, including the creation of plant
reference collections / databases and the training of conservation
professionals and students.
II) Land-management policy formation by the Government of Belize and NGOs.
Significance and reach: Over the period 2009 - July 2013 there has
been a step-change in the
quality of biodiversity monitoring carried out by NGOs and the Government
of Belize; including the
latter being better able to meet international reporting requirements.
Over the same period, 40
conservation professionals have been trained in Belize.
Underpinned by: Research into savanna plant diversity, led by the
University of Edinburgh (1996 -
The Sinai Baton Blue is the world's smallest butterfly, and is restricted
to the St. Katherine Protectorate in the South Sinai region of Egypt.
Research by Francis Gilbert's group on climate change and biodiversity in
Egypt surveyed populations of the butterfly for the first time and ensured
it received IUCN Critically Endangered status. The butterfly became the
focus of biodiversity awareness campaigns in Egypt: appearing on a stamp,
in Government-backed educational programmes in schools, and as the
flagship species for conservation in Egypt's most important National Park.
Current work contributes to international conservation of this extremely
rare species and its host-plant, respecting indigenous Bedouin knowledge,
benefitting their tribal community, and ensuring international
conservation strategies incorporate local pastoralist traditions to
sustain the genetic diversity of the planet.
Identification of rare plant species on nature reserves at Malham
(Yorks.) and Morvich (W.
Scotland) led to site managers developing sympathetic management
approaches to ensure the
species' conservation. These are detailed in management plans and include
reduction in grazing
and introduction of population census to assess management success. In
addition, incorporation of
the discoveries into plant guides has led to increased awareness of the
two species which in turn
has drawn naturalists to view and photograph them. Thus the research at
Edge Hill has led to the
conservation of and increased awareness of a rare component of the UK
This case study describes how innovative new survey protocols for amphibians and reptiles in the
UK are already changing conservation and planning practice in the UK. The new protocols,
developed by a team led by Professor Richard Griffiths at the University of Kent, make surveys
more effective and provide guidance for obtaining better data on trends for these species. Thanks
to a series of engagement workshops held in 2011-12, the team's research has already informed
best practice amongst ecologists, consultants and fieldworkers involved in professional practice
and national recording schemes. Moreover, the revised and science-based survey protocols,
published in March 2013, are in the process of being adopted within policy, best practice and
statutory guidance in England, Wales and Scotland.
Prior to this research, survey protocols for amphibians and reptiles had changed little for some 20
years, and were not science-based. Consequently, the amount of survey effort required to reliably
determine population status was controversial. With developers forced to spend up to £125 million
per year to mitigate impacts on some species, this issue was particularly pressing within the
commercial sector. Using statistical models, Griffiths' team derived recommendations that resolved
how much effort was required to reliably detect whether a species was present or absent from a
site. If it were not for this research, these important protocols would not have changed, and
surveys would not have been as cost-effective or as reliable. Indeed, despite several decades of
intensive recording activity, there were insufficient data to provide a meaningful statement on long-
term trends of UK species for the recent National Ecosystem Assessment.
Conservation activities must be well grounded in solid science to be
effective. Our research
identified specific threats to the survival of threatened species in
Sichuan Province, China.
Research outcomes were used to create, maintain and monitor nature
reserves, ensuring species
survival. The revelation that human cultural and subsistence activities
were adversely affecting
threatened species led to successful promotion and adoption of beneficial
alternatives to these
behaviours. Our research provided the basis for technical support to local
capacity building and community development, empowering indigenous ethnic
to protect forest habitat for wildlife. LJMU-led research identified the
factors which adversely
impacted breeding success of threatened birds, creating opportunities for
the amelioration of these
threats and promoting conservation of threatened species.