We set up one of Britain's first online recording projects (www.harlequin-survey.org)
to track the spread and study the effects of an invasive alien species
(IAS), the harlequin ladybird. We used this as a model to develop a
recording programme for other IAS (www.nonnativespecies.org/recording/).
The main areas of impact are: (i) Informing conservation policy
through collecting and analysing wildlife data (e.g. GB non-natives
surveillance and monitoring system stemmed from our work; long-term trends
data used to address Convention on Biological Diversity targets); (ii)
Utilizing `citizen science' and (iii) Changing public attitudes
to IAS (e.g. by engaging the public, changing the way that IAS are
recorded; educating and training the public).
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
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), a conservation charity launched
at the University of Stirling in 2006, was aimed at bridging the gap
between research findings and conservation practice. BBCT now has 11
staff, offices and staff based in England, Wales and Scotland, 8,000
paying members, and has involved >12,000 people in bumblebee recording
or conservation. Other impacts include awareness raising through extensive
media coverage for bumblebee conservation, creation of an education pack
for primary schools, joint initiatives with a nationwide Garden Centre
chain (Wyevale) and a supermarket (Morrisons), helping to create >2,000
ha of flower rich habitat, involvement in a reintroduction attempt for the
locally extinct short-haired bumblebee, political lobbying and influencing
national and international policy.
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:
Research by Oxford University has led to the development of a
biodiversity assessment tool based on three biological indices, that has
been used in many parts of the world to prioritise and protect
biodiversity hotspots, particularly in landscapes that are at major threat
from logging or conversion to agriculture. In Ghana these methods have led
to the protection of ~2,300 km2 of forest reserves (13% of the
total forest network) and were codified in a simple field guide. In
Liberia a multinational mining company made important conservation
decisions based on the application of these methods. Use of the tool has
led to the retention of substantial areas of high biodiversity forest in
West Africa, despite competing economic and political drivers, and amidst
a continuing general decline in forest condition across the region.
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 -
Research on the population biology of the stag beetle at Royal Holloway
has created impact on
the environment (species conservation through an increase in
available habitat and in known
breeding sites), impact on public policy (production of a species
action plan and an EU Directive
and the management of woodland habitats), and impact on society
(change in public
understanding). Using a `Citizen Science' approach, over 250 volunteers
have engaged with this
research in population surveys and over 1,000 have helped to create
breeding sites. The research
has helped to implement conservation policy decisions in the UK and EU and
has produced many
public information guides. It also has resulted in a radically revised
Joint Nature Conservation
Committee (JNCC) national Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for the species.
research has created impact on practitioners (through enhancement
of teaching practices) and
brought practical conservation biology into schools, improving the
teaching of the National
Curriculum at KS2 and 3.
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:
York research on the responses of species to habitat fragmentation has
led to a paradigm shift in
the approach to conservation that has permeated non-governmental
governmental agencies and intergovernmental bodies; the traditional
concept of protecting and
managing populations of species in isolated reserves has largely been
replaced by landscape-scale
conservation strategies, which increase the long-term survival of species.
This new approach
is now accepted government policy and has altered practical land
designation and management for
conservation over millions of hectares in the UK, as well as affecting the
strategies adopted by
most global conservation organisations and countries in the world.
Research conducted by the Biological Sciences Research group on sexual
selection, using bushcrickets as model organisms, has attracted a very
high level of media interest and has contributed to public engagement with
science. Evidence for this is provided by a considerable number of review
articles on the research in the media. There is also evidence of public
debate through social media such as twitter, blogs, sharing of articles
and individual comments on web articles about the research.