The NHBS Guide to UK Hoverflies: Part 1

With approximately 7,000 species, the Diptera (true flies) are one of the biggest insect orders in Britain and Ireland, second only to Hymenoptera (the bees, wasps and ants). Of these species, over 280 belong to the family Syrphidae, the hoverflies. Known as ‘flower flies’ in other parts of the world, hoverflies are frequent visitors to flowering plants and are a familiar sight in our gardens and woodlands, and a wide range of other habitats. You would be forgiven for mistaking a hoverfly for a bee or wasp, as some species are amazing mimics in terms of both their appearance and behaviour, although some are more convincing than others.

Hoverflies are important, and often overlooked, pollinators, and their larval stages are incredibly diverse. Some larvae are predatory, feeding on aphids or eating grubs within the nests of ants, social bees or wasps, while others feed on the roots, stems or leaves of plants, or on dead and decaying organic matter, such as rotting wood or material collected in rot holes in trees.

Although many hoverflies are brightly coloured or distinctively patterned, there are plenty of inconspicuous species that resemble flies in other families. The first step is therefore to determine that a fly is in fact a hoverfly. In general hoverflies lack the strong bristles we see in other flies, such as the house fly, but the key characteristic is their wing venation. Unlike other flies, hoverflies have a ‘false vein’ on their wing, and although this is a difficult feature to get an eye for initially, it can be obvious in good photos and becomes easier to spot with practice. Another clue is in the name; hoverflies are remarkable fliers and many species are able to hold their position in flight for an incredible length of time.

Hoverfly identification can be difficult, and in some cases it is necessary to inspect a specimen under a microscope for a positive ID. There are many garden visitors that are more straightforward, however, and with a good field guide, a hand lens and a camera to take clear photos with, you can easily get started in learning more about this attractive group of insects. There are fantastic resources online too, such as the UK Hoverflies group on Facebook, which provides help with identification and allows members to share their observations.

This is the first of two hoverfly identification guides, and in both of these blogs we will be covering the more common species that you are likely to encounter in your garden or local patch.

Eristalis tenax

Distribution: Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland. E. tenax is thought to be the most widespread hoverfly species in the world.
Habitat: A wide range of habitats including gardens, woodlands and meadows.
What to look for: A convincing honey-bee mimic that can be easily told from other species of Eristalis by three obvious characteristics: a thickened, curved hind tibia; a broad, dark facial stripe; and vertical stripes of dark hairs on the eyes.
Months active:
Present throughout the year, but most frequently recorded between February and April, and June and November.
Did you know:
Females hibernate over the winter, and males are increasingly being recorded hibernating during warmer winters in southern England. The aquatic larvae, or ‘rat-tailed maggots’, live in wet, decaying vegetation

Eristalis tenax by gailhampshire via Flickr

The Eristalis genus includes a number of common species that are likely to be encountered in gardens, such as E. pertinax and E. arbustorum. The May issue of British Wildlife magazine includes an article by Roger Morris and Stuart Ball that provides an introduction to the Eristalis genus, and includes an identification key to the ten Eristalis species that occur in the UK.

Myathropa florea

Distribution: Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
Habitat: A variety of habitats, but found in woodlands especially.
What to look for: Similar to some Eristalis species, Myathropea florea is a distinctive black-and-yellow species with a bat-like pattern on its thorax, although this can vary and cause confusion in less clearly marked individuals.

Months active: April to October.
Did you know: Like other species in the Eristalini tribe, M. florea larvae are known as ‘rat-tailed maggots’ and are found in wet hollows containing decaying vegetation, although they have been reported making use of any containers holding water and dead vegetation, such as buckets or water butts.

Myathropa florea by Alastair Rae via Flickr
Syrphus ribesii

Distribution: Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
Habitat: A number of habitats including woodlands, gardens and hedgerows.
What to look for: Females can be easily identified by their completely yellow hind femora, although males are harder to distinguish from two other common Syrphus species, S. torvus and S. vitripennis. Male S. ribesii can be separated from S. torvus by their bare eyes, but a microscope is needed to reliably separate males of S. ribesii and S. vitripennis

Months active: From March to November, with peaks in May–June and July–September. 
Did you know: Male S. ribesii will emit a noticeable humming noise from tree canopies, caused by vibrating their wings at a high frequency when resting. 

Syrphus ribesii (Female) by Martin Cooper via Flickr
Merodon equestris

Distribution: Widespread in Britain and Ireland, but less abundant in parts of Scotland.
Habitat: Often recorded in gardens and urban areas.
What to look for: A hairy bumblebee mimic that has swollen hind femora with triangular projections – a characteristic unique among bumblebee mimics. M. equestris can occur in a range of colour forms to mimic different bumblebee species. 
Months active: Between April and September, with a peak in late May and early June.
Did you know: The larvae develop in the bulbs of many different bulb-forming plants, but they are especially associated with daffodils and can be a pest in some cases. They are thought to have been introduced to Britain in the 19th century in daffodil bulbs. 

Merodon equestris by Orangeaurochs via Flickr
Platycheirus albimanus

Distribution: Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
Habitat: Woodland edges and hedgerows, and often seen in gardens.
What to look for: Females are easier to recognise due to their yellow legs and silver spots on their black abdomen. Males tend to have bronze-coloured spots, a front tibia that is significantly broader at the end, and front femora that have distinctive clumps of long hairs. It is possible to confuse males with similar species such as P. aurolateralis, P. scutatus, and P. splendidus, and so close examination of the legs is required. 
Months active: Between March and November, with peaks between May and June, and July and August.
Did you know: A common garden visitor, particularly in spring, P. albimanus is often found in low vegetation such as nettles or brambles.

Platycheirus albimanus (female) by S. Rae via Flickr
Platycheirus albimanus (male) by Martin Cooper via Flickr
Eupeodes corollae

Distribution: Widespread in Britain, although less abundant in northern Scotland.
Habitat: Recorded in almost any habitat, from gardens to mountain tops.
What to look for: Males and females are quite different in appearance, but both have broad yellow markings that reach the edges of the abdomen. The males also have an obvious genital capsule. 
Months active: March to November, with a peak between July and August.
Did you know: E. corollae is found in a wide variety of habitats. An influx of migrants or a mass emergence of individuals results in a peak in numbers in midsummer.

Eupeodes corollae (male) by S. Rae via Flickr
Eupeodes corollae (female) by gailhampshire via Flickr
Melanostoma mellinum

Distribution: Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
Habitat: Grasslands. 
What to look for: It is easy to confuse this species with M. scalare, and so close examination is required. In females, the top of the head is a shining black with very narrow dust spots by the eyes, while the abdomen has distinctive yellow markings. Males have a relatively short abdomen and the second and third segments are as wide as they are long. 
Months active: April to October, with peaks in May–June and July–August. 
Did you know: This is one of the most common hoverfly species in the UK and is often recorded from grasslands, although it can also be found in high numbers in the uplands such as on moorland or mountainsides. 

Melanostoma mellinum by Martin Cooper via Flickr
Chrysogaster solstitialis

Distribution: Widespread in Britain and Ireland, but rare in parts of northern Scotland.
Habitat: Woodlands, road verges and hedgerows.
What to look for: A small, dark hoverfly (even the wings are dark) with bright red eyes. Confusion can occur with other Chrysogaster species, or even small house flies.
Months active: May to October, with a peak in July and August.
Did you know: A common woodland species, particularly in damp and shady locations. C. solstitialis is often seen in concentrated numbers on umbellifers such as Hogweed and Angelica. 

Chrysogaster solstitialis by Lukas Large via Flickr
Rhingia campestris

Distribution: Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
Habitat: Woodlands and field edges, but found in a variety of habitats.
What to look for: The long snout and orange abdomen make this an unmistakable species. The only potential for confusion is with the UK’s other Rhingia species, R. rostrata, but the dark edges of the abdomen and overall darker colouration of R. campestris are distinctive.
Months active: April to October, with peaks between May and June, and August to September. 
Did you know: The long snout allows R. campestris to feed on plants with deep tubes, such as bluebells, which other hoverflies cannot use. The larvae breed in cow dung, although other breeding habitats are also thought to be used as adults can occur in high numbers where there are few or no cattle. 

Rhingia campestris (male) by S. Rae via Flickr
Sericomyia silentis

Distribution: Widespread in Britain and Ireland, although absent from central England and scarce in south-east England.
Habitat: Acidic, boggy habitats, such as wetlands and heathlands.
What to look for: A large wasp mimic with distinctive black-and-yellow banding – it is very unlikely that this species would be confused with any other hoverfly. 
Months active: May to November, with a peak in July.
Did you know: This is a very mobile species, which is often found far from breeding sites. It visits a range of plants, but seems to have a preference for red or purple flowers, such as Devil’s-bit Scabious. 

Sericomyia silentis by Frank Vassen via Flickr
Ferdinandea cuprea

Distribution: Widespread in Ireland, Wales and southern England, but rarely occurs in high numbers.
Habitat: Woodland.
What to look for: Easily recognisable, F. cuprea has a metallic, brassy abdomen with grey longitudinal stripes on the thorax. The thorax also has strong bristles on its side, which is quite uncommon for a hoverfly.
Months active: March to November, with a peak in June.
Did you know: F. cuprea is rarely seen visiting flowers, and is more likely to be seen basking on tree trunks, wooden posts or even telegraph poles.

Ferdinandea cuprea by Frank Vassen via Flickr



Suggested reading and equipment:

Britain’s Hoverflies: A Field Guide

£24.99

 

 

 

 

British Hoverflies: An Illustrated Identification Guide

£37.50 

 

 

 

60ml Collecting Pots

£0.35

 

 

 

 

Opticron Hand Lens 23mm 10x Magnification

£12.95 £14.95

 

Sweep Net

£31.99

 

 

 

All prices correct at the time of this article’s publication.

Environmental DNA for Ecologists

In the Spring 2022 issue of Conservation Land Management (CLM) Dr Helen Rees, Director of the Biotechnology group at ADAS, provides an introduction to environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis and its potential uses in conservation. Here you can read a summary of the article.

Animals naturally shed DNA into the environment via, for example, faeces, saliva, urine and skin cells, and this DNA (collectively known as eDNA), can be extracted from environmental samples, such as water, sediment and soil, for genetic analysis. It is possible to screen for species-specific DNA in these samples, and its successful detection determines the recent presence of the target species at the site from which the sample was collected. eDNA analysis therefore offers a non-invasive method for ecological surveys, and as DNA can persist in the environment from a few days to a couple of weeks, it can be used to indicate that a species has visited a site even after it has moved on.

Pros and cons of the technique
30ml ladle used to collect water samples. Image credit: Claire Baker

One of the main advantages of eDNA analysis is that the target species does not have to be caught, disturbed or even seen to get a positive identification. Not only is this method less invasive for the animal, but it also saves the surveyor a great deal of time in the field when monitoring species that are elusive, rare or require a licence to survey. It can also be a cost-effective method in comparison to traditional techniques, mainly due to the simplicity of collecting samples and the low-cost sampling equipment used.

eDNA analysis has proven to be a robust technique, but errors can occur. If there is any cross contamination between samples either in the field or the laboratory, for instance, this can lead to false-positive results, and so a carefully controlled laboratory set up is imperative to prevent contamination during the different stages of eDNA analysis.

How eDNA analysis is used – great crested newts
Water samples added to tubes of preserving fluid. Image credit: Claire Baker

One of the most well-known examples of how eDNA is being used in the UK is for the detection of the great crested newt. A study commissioned by Natural England and led by the Freshwater Habitats Trust demonstrated a detection rate of 99% for eDNA testing, but only 76%, 75% and 44% for bottle trapping, torching and egg searching respectively. eDNA techniques are particularly useful when used on ‘borderline’ ponds where the presence of great crested newts is unlikely based on the habitat. In this instance, a negative eDNA result quickly confirms this assumption, but traditional bottle-trapping/torching surveys would need to be repeated multiple times to confirm that newts are absent.

In the full article Helen describes how eDNA analysis works behind the scenes in the laboratory, including an explanation of how the polymerase chain reaction – a key part of eDNA analysis – works and how its results are interpreted. The advantages and drawbacks of using eDNA are discussed in greater detail, and further examples of how this technique is applied to the survey of other species are also given.

Image credit: Helen Rees
ADAS eDNA kits

NHBS has partnered with ADAS to provide you with the kits and analysis you need for the 2022 season. ADAS is the only laboratory to correctly identify all samples in every great crested newt eDNA proficiency test to date, and can also provide analysis to identify bat species from collected droppings. A range of services are available under a tiered pricing system to ensure that you get your results when you need them. Take a look at the kit options below to find out more.

Great Crested Newt eDNA Kit
Each kit includes:

  • Protocol sheet
  • Sterile 30ml ladle
  • Sterile bag
  • Sterile plastic pippette
  • 2 x Sterile gloves
  • 6 x Conical tubes, 2/3 full of preserving fluid

Bat Genotyping (eDNA) Kit
Each kit includes:

  • 8 x Screw top Eppendorf tubes
  • 4 x Sterile forceps
  • 4 x Sterile gloves
  • Sample record sheet
  • Return postage label
Other articles featured in the Spring 2022 issue include:
  • Habitat translocations: risks, advantages and key considerations, by John Box
  • Conserving breeding goldeneye in Scotland through nestbox construction, by Peter Cosgrove, Kate Massey, Dawn Anderson and Donald Shields
  • Godney Marshes: small-scale rewilding in the Somerset Levels, by Alasdair Cameron
  • Consideration for tree management in urban areas, by Steve Cox
  • Review: Author’s update – The new Environmental Land Management scheme

In this and every issue you can expect to see Briefing, keeping you up to date with the latest training courses, events and publications, and On the ground which provides helpful tips or updates on products relevant to land management. Other features that regularly appear in CLM include Viewpoint, a similar length to our main articles, but here authors can voice their own views on various conservation issues, and Review, which can include letters from readers or updates from our authors.

CLM is published four times a year in March, June, September and December, and is available by subscription only, delivered straight to your door. Subscriptions start from £22 per year. Previous back issues are also available to purchase individually (subject to availability).

If you are involved in a conservation project and think your experiences could be useful to other practitioners, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in writing for CLM feel free to contact us – we will be happy to discuss your ideas with you.

2022 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting: Part 1

Invasive non-native species cost the UK approximately £122 million per year and are a huge driver of biodiversity decline worldwide. There are a surprising number of non-native reptile and amphibian species in the UK, from non-breeding released pet terrapins to established populations of midwife toads, although the impact of some of these species on our native wildlife is not yet fully understood.

The first part of the 2022 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting included a number of talks that discussed the latest research on introduced reptile and amphibian species in the UK, including the Aesculapian Snake in Wales and the Alpine Newt in Northern Ireland. We were pleased to be able to attend and take part in this event again this year, and below is summary of some of the fascinating talks from what was an interesting and informative afternoon.

The Aesculapian Snake

The Aesculapian Snake Zamenis longissimus is a non-venomous species found across southern and central Europe, with relic populations in northern Europe. Although not native to the UK, there are two known introduced populations, one on the grounds of the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay, Wales, and another along Regents Canal in London. There is also a possible third population in Bridgend in South Wales, but this is unconfirmed as of yet. Tom Major from the University of Bangor is using radio telemetry to study the population at Colwyn Bay to understand how this species is surviving, and he has gained some incredible insights into the ecology of the Aesculapian Snake over the past year.

Aesculapian snake by Mircea Nita via Flickr

While tracking nine adult individuals he found that on average the snakes travel the distance of approximately three and a half rugby pitches, and tend to visit one particular place where they stay for roughly four days before setting off again. This seemed to be anywhere that was warm and dry, from a chapel roof to a compost heap. By the end of the tracking period four individuals were still alive. Buzzards, stoats and cars were the reasons behind a few of the deaths, but one interesting cause was cannibalism – one tracked snake was recorded being eaten by another tracked individual, the first known occurrence of this behaviour in this species.

Turtle Tally

Reptiles and amphibians are becoming increasingly popular pets, but a lack of knowledge of their complicated care requirements or an unexpected change in an owner’s circumstances, amongst other reasons, can lead to the intentional release of these exotic animals into the wild. In order to gain an understanding of the distribution and impact of released pet terrapins in the UK in particular, Turtle Tally UK is a nationwide citizen science project that calls for the general public to submit their own terrapin sightings and photos. During her talk, Turtle Tally project lead Suzie Simpson shared some of the findings since the project began in 2019. Each year since has seen an increase in the number of sightings submitted, and hotspots have become apparent in London, Cardiff, Swansea and Liverpool. Yellow-bellied and Red-eared Slider were amongst the most frequently recorded species, and generally only one individual was recorded per sighting.

Red-Eared Slider by Jim, the Photographer via Flickr

When they are out of water, terrapins are usually spotted on logs, rocks and even litter – any raised platform in a water body that they can use for basking. This also includes the nests of waterbirds, but so far there has been no evidence that these terrapins show signs of aggression to waterbirds, or that they predate on chicks. Some species, such as snappers and soft shells, would be more of a concern, however, and the Turtle Tally UK project aims to continue to collect data to further our understanding about the impacts of released pet terrapins on native wildlife. Egg laying has been observed on occasion, but due to the UK’s cooler climate, reproduction is very rarely successful. However climate change could result in more suitable conditions for breeding in the future.

The Alpine Newt in Northern Ireland

The Smooth Newt is Ireland’s only native species of newt and, with its distinctive orange belly and spotted pattern, it is easily recognisable. In September 2020, a strange looking newt was found in Northern Ireland during a bat survey. With a similarly orange belly, but without the spotted markings on its underside and darker in colour, this particular individual did not match the description of a Smooth Newt. It was soon confirmed that this was an Alpine Newt, a species found in Europe but not native to the UK. The discovery of this species is a particular concern as the Alpine Newt is a known vector of chytrid fungus. Rob Gondola, Ryan Boyle and Éinne Ó Cathasaigh provided an update of the consequent Alpine Newt surveys that took place during the following summer in 2021. Thankfully, all the swabs that were taken to test for diseases have come back negative, and they were able to determine the presence of two established populations. Further surveys and testing are hoped to continue in 2022.

Alpine newt by stanze via Flickr
Our thoughts

There were a number of other talks throughout the conference, from the ongoing study of midwife toads in the UK (another non-native species that was introduced over 100 years ago) to the impact of climate change on UK herpetofauna. This was an enlightening and fascinating afternoon and we look forward to Part 2 of the 2022 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting later on in the year. The date and location of the event will be confirmed at a future date, but any details will be made available on the ARC or ARG UK website. A recording of Part 1 will also be made available – keep an eye on the ARC website for further details.

Cardboard tree guards: a suitable and sustainable alternative to plastic?

In the forthcoming Winter 2021 issue of Conservation Land Management (CLM) magazine Jenny Price and Lyndsay Wayman-Rook describe how the Old Chalk New Downs project in Kent has been trialling biodegradable cardboard tree guards as an alternative to plastic. Here you can read a summary of the article.

The main purpose of a tree guard is to protect newly planted trees from browsing, but they also provide other benefits; they create a more favourable microclimate that helps to promote the growth of young trees and protect the plants from wind, competing vegetation, herbicides and water loss. Wooden and wire tree guards have been in use since the 1820s, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that plastic versions were first used. As a cheaper material compared to alternatives, plastic is now widely used for guards in planting schemes.

It has been predicted that between 1980 and 2020 over 200 million plastic tree guards were used, and with the UK government’s ambitious target to increase woodland cover by 19% by 2050, the rate of tree planting is sure to increase, as will the number of tree guards used. It is recommended that plastic tree guards are removed 2–3 years after their installation, but they are often left behind to degrade in the landscape, which can be both damaging to the wider environment (although the impacts of this are not yet fully understood) and to the tree itself. It is possible to recycle plastic polymer guards, but not if they have already started to break down or are contaminated.

Cardboard tree guards offer a viable alternative to plastic. Lyndsay Wayman-Rook and Hannah Simmons

The Old Chalk New Downs project, hosted by Kent County Council and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has been exploring alternative options to plastic tree guards. It first compared the costs of different materials, including plastic, cardboard and biodegradable plastic, and looked at the pros and cons for each guard type. For instance, one of the advantages of a cardboard guard is that it does not need to be removed after installation, but it may deteriorate a lot faster than other guard types, especially in particularly wet areas.

Biodegradable tree guard options Lyndsay Wayman-Rook

It was decided that cardboard guards would be used for this particular project, owing to their no-plastic design and availability. Between autumn 2019 and spring 2021, more than 9,000 trees with cardboard guards were planted across seven hedgerows at three different sites. How these fared was closely monitored, and the success rate of planting was high. One key aspect of this project was to gather feedback from landowners and contractors involved in sourcing and using the cardboard guards, and overall the comments were positive.

In the full article Jenny Price and Lyndsay Wayman-Rook discuss how the cost of tree guards made from plastic, biodegradable plastic and cardboard compare, and provide an in-depth overview of how cardboard guards performed when used for hedge planting, both in this project and in examples from elsewhere. They also include a summary of the feedback received from landowners and contractors, and clearly describe the advantages and disadvantages of different tree guard options.

Plastic tree guards are commonly used in planting schemes. Lyndsay Wayman-Rook

Other articles featured in the Winter 2021 issue include:

  • RSPB Nigg Bay: Scotland’s first coastal realignment
  • Helping to make and document conservation decisions: the Evidence-to-Decision tool
  • The Stage Zero approach – lessons from North America on restoring river, wetland and floodplain habitats
  • Viewpoint: Plant fewer, better: good tree and shrub establishment

In this and every issue you can expect to see Briefing, keeping you up to date with the latest training courses, events and publications, and On the ground which provides helpful tips or updates on products relevant to land management. Other features that regularly appear in CLM include Viewpoint, a similar length to our main articles, but here authors can voice their own views on various conservation issues, and Review, which can include letters from readers or updates from our authors.

CLM is published four times a year in March, June, September and December, and is available by subscription only, delivered straight to your door. Subscriptions start from £22 per year. Previous back issues are also available to purchase individually (subject to availability). Current subscribers can expect to receive their copy of the Winter 2021 issue in the next couple of weeks.

If you are involved in a conservation project and think your experiences could be useful to other practitioners, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in writing for CLM feel free to contact us – we will be happy to discuss your ideas with you.

British Wildlife Book Reviews

British Wildlife has featured book reviews since the very first magazine back in 1989. These reviews provide in-depth critiques of the most important new titles in natural history publishing, from nature-writing bestsellers to technical identification handbooks. They are all authored by experts in relevant subjects, which ensures an honest and insightful appraisal of each book featured.

Since 2018 every review included in the magazine is available to read on the British Wildlife website. Here are ten titles that have featured so far in some of the recent issues of British Wildlife, all with links to take you directly to the full review.

1. Beak, Tooth and Claw: Living with Predators by  Mary Colwell

“She walked and travelled through the farms and uplands of Britain and Ireland. She talked to people on both sides of the divide – sheep-farmers, salmonfishers, raven-tamers, writers, scientists, conservationists, gamekeepers. She watched her chosen predators in the field and noted how they ‘fit into the landscape’.”

Reviewed by Peter Marren in the June 2021 issue (BW 32.7) – read the review here

2. Broomrapes of Britain & Ireland by Chris Thorogood & Fred Rumsey

“This monograph has been meticulously proofread, and is neatly laid out, well printed and generally excellent. I am particularly grateful to the authors for finally nailing down a violet-coloured broomrape which I found, years ago, growing on the seashore near Sandwich.”

Reviewed by Peter Marren in the August 2021 issue (BW 32.8) – read the review here

 

3. Much Ado About Mothing: A Year Intoxicated by Britain’s rare and Remarkable Moths by James Lowen

“Most of his literary energy lies in individualising the moths. He is a generous and imaginative, and, yes, ‘intoxicated’ describer. The quest has barely got going before we are introduced to the Pale Tussock’s ‘shag-pile furriness’ and the male Muslin Moth’s ‘grey mad-professor hair’.”

Reviewed by Peter Marren in the August 2021 issue (BW 32.8 – read the review here

 

4. Butterflies by Martin Warren

“In summary, I have nothing but praise for this book. Anyone interested in butterflies, and especially those involved with sites where butterflies are a significant presence, should read it. It is beautifully produced and printed.”

Reviewed by Bob Gibbons in the August 2021 issue (BW 32.8) – read the review here

5. International Treaties in Nature Conservation: A UK Perspective by David Stroud et al.

“It is therefore authoritative and densely packed, yet commendably succinct, well paced and easy to read. Inevitably specialist, it is nevertheless a compelling read and will become a worthy source of reference for years to come.”

Reviewed by Anthony Fox in the October 2021 issue (BW 33.1) – read the review here

 

6. Why Nature Conservation Isn’t Working: Understanding Wildlife in the Modern World by Adrian Spalding

“We deliberately choose big, glamorous species to release simply because we like them. Spalding thinks that all this is wrong, that wild species have an existence entirely separate from Homo sapiens in time and space, in their lives, in their habitat, and in their evolutionary and historical past (and future).”

Reviewed by Peter Marren in the October 2021 issue (BW 33.1) – read the review here

7. Human, Nature: A Naturalist’s Thoughts on Wildlife and Wild Places by Ian Carter

“As Ian Carter puts it, the many and varied connections he has with nature play a significant part in making his life feel worthwhile. They have provided the material for the journals he has kept over three decades, and form the substance of this book. His thoughts on the conundrums and contradictions in the way humans interact with wildlife build into a thoughtful and timely look at contemporary relationships between people and nature.”

Reviewed by James Robertson in the October 2021 issue (BW 33.1) – read the review here

8. Ecology and Natural History by David M. Wilkinson

“Although it is clearly written, and eschews mathematics, it is dense with concepts and facts, with a strong whiff of university teaching. It is therefore one of the more technical New Naturalists. But where does it say that nature has to be simple? Its complexity is surely part of its fascination.”

Reviewed by Peter Marren in the October 2021 issue (BW 33.1) – read the review here

 

9. Freshwater Snails of Britain and Ireland by Ben Rowson et al.

“This is a terrific book: a ‘must have’ for anyone who wants to learn how to identify, accurately, freshwater snails in Britain and Ireland.”

Reviewed by Jeremy Biggs in the November 2021 issue (BW 33.2) – read the review here

 

 

10. Britain’s Insects: A Field Guide to the Insects of Great Britain and Ireland by Paul D. Brock

“Its structured approach offers a general illustrated guide to insect orders (such as mayflies, or dragonflies and damselflies), including some larvae. Then, when you reach an order, there is a good introduction and the species accounts are further broken down into sections…”

Reviewed by Bob Gibbons in the November 2021 issue (BW 33.2) – read the review here


Since its launch in 1989, British Wildlife has established its position as the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiasts and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Individual back issues of the magazine are available to buy through the NHBS website, while annual subscriptions start from just £35 – sign up online here.

 

Conservation Land Management: Autumn 2021

The Autumn issue of Conservation Land Management (CLM) covers a variety of themes relevant to those involved in managing land for conservation, from the creation of bare ground habitats to incorporating climate objectives into the management of wildlife sites. Here, Assistant Editor Catherine Mitson provides a summary of the articles featured in this latest issue.

Ingleborough National Nature Reserve (NNR) covers a huge expanse of limestone grassland and pavement, acidic grassland, blanket bog and heath in the south-western Yorkshire Dales. Previously, the land had been grazed by sheep, numbers of which had doubled from the late 1960s to the 1980s while the number of cattle halved. The negative impact of sheep grazing was evident, especially in heavily-grazed areas where grasses dominated, and the only plants remaining in significant numbers were hardy species such as thyme, clovers and daisies. But an opportunity arose to reduce sheep numbers and to promote cattle grazing, and in this article Andrew Hinde, Peter Welsh and Bill Grayson describe the success of the reintroduction of cattle grazing to Ingleborough and outline the NNR’s conservation objectives going forward.

The next article brings us to Havergate Island in the Alde–Ore Estuary SSSI in Suffolk. Since 1997, spoonbills have been trying to colonise the estuary but breeding attempts failed, mainly due to the presence of and predation by foxes. But over on Havergate Island, a more secluded site with little human disturbance, spoonbill numbers were increasing. To encourage breeding on Havergate, RSPB set up elevated nesting platforms and, owing to the presence of foxes and other predators on the island, installed predator-exclusion fences. Vivienne Booth, Aaron Howe and Adam Rowland describe how the predator-exclusion fences were designed and installed, leading to the return of breeding spoonbills to Suffolk.

Christopher du Feu and Michael Gillman take us to Treswell Wood in north-east Nottinghamshire. In 2014 Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust purchased an area of the wood that had previously been cleared for agriculture, known as the assart. Instead of planting trees, it was decided to let nature take its course and leave the assart to return to woodland naturally. Monitoring of woodland regeneration began in 2016, but in 2017 ash dieback struck the assart. In this article the authors report the results of this ongoing monitoring, and demonstrate the remarkable effect that ash dieback has had on natural regeneration.

With COP 26 fast approaching, many of us have noticed increasing news coverage of the climate and biodiversity emergencies. But on nature conservation sites, can climate objectives and biodiversity-related priorities co-exist? Heathlands, for example, are managed by techniques such as burning, a contradictory approach from a climate perspective. John Bacon addresses this dilemma, and takes a look at some initiatives in Shropshire to demonstrate how climate objectives are being incorporated into habitat management, with biodiversity still being the top priority.

The final article encourages us to appreciate the importance of bare ground habitats. Many species of spiders, ground beetles, wasps, bees and reptiles (to name a few) depend on the warm microclimate that bare ground provides for hunting, basking and nesting. Using examples from south Staffordshire, Katie Lloyd describes the process of bare ground creation, including the design, type and size of scrapes; how to maintain and manage newly-created bare patches; mitigation and other considerations to be aware of before undertaking such a project; and the benefits that this overlooked habitat provides.

In this and every issue you can expect to see Briefing, keeping you up to date with the latest training courses, events and publications, and On the ground which provides helpful tips or updates on products relevant to land management.

Other features that regularly appear in CLM include Viewpoint, a similar length to our main articles, but here authors can voice their own views on various conservation issues, and Review, which can include letters from readers or updates from our authors.

CLM is published four times a year in March, June, September and December, and is available by subscription only, delivered straight to your door. Subscriptions start from £22 per year. Previous back issues are also available to purchase individually (subject to availability).

If you are involved in a conservation project and think your experiences could be useful to other practitioners, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in writing for CLM feel free to contact us – we will be happy to discuss your ideas with you.

COP 26: The road to Glasgow… and beyond

In just a few weeks, the UK will host the UN’s 26th Climate Change Conference, COP 26, in Glasgow. In an editorial in the October issue of British Wildlife, David Stroud, former Senior Ornithologist at JNCC and co-author of International Treaties in Nature Conservation: A UK Perspective, describes the build-up to the conference and what we can expect from the event itself. The editorial is shared in full below.

Psychologists tell us that humanity evolved to focus on immediate threats – the sabre-toothed tiger lurking in a cave – rather than to ‘over the horizon’ challenges that will affect us only at some distant time in the future. That, at least, is the suggested justification for humanity’s failure to address seriously the problem of anthropogenic climate change over the last half-century, despite increasingly definitive evidence of the existential threat it poses. The frequency of extreme weather events in recent years, however, no longer allows lack of immediacy to be used as an excuse: from flooding and wildfire to sea-level rise, the consequences of climate change are apparent here and now and they are part of the lived experience of people across the world.

The effects of global heating are not restricted to weather catastrophes. As naturalists, we are ever-more familiar with changes to our flora and fauna, as documented elsewhere in this issue (pages 13–20) and previously in British Wildlife. This presents significant challenges to national conservation policies, which have traditionally relied on essentially static networks of protected areas and protected species lists. Despite the announcement of various welcome (but limited) projects, UK governments are yet to promote or implement climate-change adaptation at the scale required to make a meaningful impact.

The October 2021 issue of British Wildlife

In August, the Sixth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provided the starkest of stark warnings yet (IPCC 2021). This report was described by the UN Secretary-General as nothing less than ‘a code red for humanity’ (UN 2021). He noted that the internationally agreed threshold of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels of global heating is ‘perilously close… The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold… is by urgently stepping up our efforts, and pursuing the most ambitious path. We must act decisively now…’ With the 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) soon to be held in Glasgow, the international community has an immediate opportunity to act on this latest science, and to use it as a solution. But will the response be adequate?

The nearly 30-year history of UNFCCC COPs is chequered and has been (rightly) dominated by issues of international development. Essentially, when the UNFCCC was negotiated, developing countries highlighted the need for developed nations – those with the largest economies and the greatest greenhouse-gas emissions – to take primary responsibility for the global issue they had (albeit unwittingly) created by more than two centuries of carbon-driven industrialisation. For this reason, the UNFCCC’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol (of COP 3) was framed on the basis of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’, placing the primary obligation to address the problem on developed countries (it also, importantly, recognised the contributions to climate change of greenhouse gases other than CO2).

The UNFCCC’s 2015 Paris Agreement (COP 21) made the progressive step of moving away from Kyoto’s top-down assignation of national targets, and instead established a bottom-up approach to delivering objectives through ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ or NDCs. In essence this allows each country to put on the table what it pledges to do, hoping that this is collectively adequate. Importantly, the NDC approach was agreed by, and thus brought on board, the developing countries – still recognising ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ while acknowledging that low- and especially middle-income countries also have individual contributions to make to the global solution.

The human development needs of the poorest countries, however, are yet to be met, as recognised by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thus, for affluent nations such as the UK there are actually two requirements for an effective Paris Agreement: not only to offer an adequate NDC, but also to contribute to the ‘financial mechanisms’ that allow developing countries to skip dirty, greenhouse-gas-emitting industry and move directly to green economies. ‘Resource mobilisation’ from the developed world will therefore be a central focus of COP 26.

Media commentators have been calling recently for binding quotas to be agreed in Glasgow. While theoretically desirable, this will not happen and it misunderstands the complexities of the global political process. Should there be a World Government at some point, such a prescriptive approach might be achievable – but for now it lives in fantasyland (along with alternative economic systems). The reality is, regrettably, much messier and is here for the foreseeable future.

At COP 26, the UK has a unique responsibility to ensure a successful outcome. Not only does it have to contribute an NDC of significant ambition as one of the world’s largest economies, but as conference chair the UK has a crucial cheerleader role, with an onus to encourage all other countries to deliver ambitiously, too. Decisions at the COP will, as is the norm for such meetings, be taken by consensus, which leaves a real risk of lowest common denominator decision-making because all countries effectively hold a veto. The role of the UK diplomatic services here is critical to build momentum, impetus and pressure (as was that of France ahead of 2015’s COP 21). They also have a vital job in gaining prior intelligence from other countries and working to fix problems and issues ahead of time through face-to-face dialogue in other capitals. As at all intergovernmental COPs, most of the content of decisions is developed well beforehand, while the conference itself is used to finesse the details and formally sign off the final texts. With (we hope) all 197 Contracting Parties attending and just a few days available together in Glasgow, there is no time to do otherwise.

Parties will already have prepared their broad national negotiating positions over the course of the last year, not least because for a meeting of such significance these will typically need to be agreed by the head of government. Many parties work together, giving them greater collective influence. National positions further evolve within regional and other negotiating blocks, including the 27 member states of the EU; the G77 (a coalition of 134 developing countries) and China; the African Group; and the multiple Small Island Developing States which, faced by pressing existential impacts from rising sea levels, have become an increasingly influential political force in climate negotiations.

Yet ultimately, while civil servants can prepare much of the ground, at the COP the tough, final negotiations and trade-offs will be undertaken by heads of government and their ministers. In this, simple peer pressure is important: no national politician likes to be presented as internationally unambitious. And personal relationships, as in any negotiation, are key to success.

Public pressure can also play an essential role by creating a political climate in which it is easier to commit to difficult things when they are presented as ‘the desire of the people’. The last few years of school strikes and other radical actions have demonstrated great public concern, rendering it increasingly difficult, for European leaders at least, not to engage. Hence, the environmental community has an important lobbying role, reminding politicians of what is expected from them, not just ahead of the COP but crucially after it as well, and holding governments globally to account. Commitments are easy to make, but also easy to forget (especially when they involve tough policy changes), and an important agenda item at COP 26 will be the first global stocktake on progress in implementing the measures agreed in Paris.

Beyond governments, contributing to the necessary profound societal change involves all of us. The latest form of climate-change denial is to accept the reality but to make no consequential alterations to one’s lifestyle: ‘business (and life) as usual’. Yet everyone will need to make changes – not least to rediscover the much-anticipated (but so far elusive) ‘new normal’ that was predicted to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. This will include switching urgently to more sustainable modes of transport, insulating our homes, changing diet and, critically, reducing consumption and having simpler lifestyles: buy less and live more. In promoting such behavioural changes, the environmental community has an important leadership role within society. Gandhi stressed the need to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. Exactly.

References
IPCC. 2021. Sixth Assessment Report.
UN. 2021. Secretary-General’s statement on the IPCC Working Group 1 Report on the Physical Science Basis of the Sixth Assessment.

Subscriptions to British Wildlife start from £35 – for more information or to subscribe, visit the website. Individual back issues are available to purchase through the NHBS website.

 

International Treaties in Nature Conservation: A UK Perspective
By David Stroud et al.
Paperback | Published May 2021 | £19.99

Read our interview with the author.

 

 

All prices correct at the time of this article’s publication. 

Thermal imaging for ecologists

In the new Summer 2021 issue of Conservation Land Management magazine (CLM) Dan Brown, ecologist and founder of Wild Discovery, provides an overview of thermal imaging technology and how it can be applied in wildlife surveys. Here you can read a summary of the article.

Thermal imaging was originally developed for military purposes but has since been deployed in a variety of fields, including increasingly so in conservation and ecology. It works by using medium- and long-wave infrared radiation to create a heat image called a thermogram – the varying temperatures can be displayed either as different colours, shades or as a monochromatic image. In light of its growing popularity in ecology, this article discusses how this technology can be used in wildlife surveys and what needs to be considered when doing so.

Field applications

One important benefit of using thermal imaging is that species that are usually difficult to survey, particularly cryptic or nocturnal species, can be readily detected. Ptarmigan, for example, can be tricky to spot in scree and boulder fields, and so the use of thermal imaging can be an efficient way to monitor an elusive species such as this with greater accuracy. Also, as this is a non-invasive surveying technique, the behaviour of wildlife can be observed with little disturbance.

Thermal-imaging technology has already been trialled in surveys of a number of different species. In the Forest of Dean, for example, the Forestry Commission uses thermal imaging to monitor wild boar, and the Mid Wales Squirrel Partnership uses it to monitor active red squirrel dreys. This technology can also complement acoustic monitoring for bat surveys – the species of bat can be determined using a bat detector, while thermal imaging can help to identify potential roost sites and enables the surveyor to count the number of individuals present.

Another advantage of thermal-imaging technology is that it works both during the day and at night. Studies of woodcock and nightjar have put this to good use – researchers have been able to locate day-roosting birds and also monitor their nocturnal activity, such as foraging behaviours and flight patterns, with minimal disturbance to the birds.

Night time image of a woodcock (5x magnification) by Simone Webber

Potential for other uses in the field

But what else can thermal imaging be used for in species monitoring? Elsewhere in the world, thermal-imaging systems have been fitted to farm machinery to help detect ground-nesting bird species, a method that could be applied in the UK to monitor curlew, lapwing and stone-curlew. Similarly, attaching thermal-imaging equipment to drones could provide an opportunity to survey inaccessible species and areas.

And it doesn’t have to be just warm-blooded animals either. There is huge variation in heat signatures across the landscape, even between different tree species, and so using thermal imaging could aid searches for potential locations for roosting owls, for example, or help to identify possible basking spots for invertebrates and reptiles. There is also potential for this technology to be used to search for insects that display a distinct heat signature in low ambient temperatures, such as queen wasps and bumblebees or larger moths.

Night time image of standing deer (5x magnification) by Simone Webber

Considerations and limitations

When planning and designing surveys and fieldwork, there are a number of factors that need to be considered when using thermal imaging. For instance, its effectiveness can differ depending on the season or weather – the heat signatures of birds and mammals can be masked on sunny days, whereas these signatures are more detectable during overcast days when the ambient temperature is lower. In order to use this equipment effectively, adequate practice and training is required and although there are some training courses available, there is not a huge amount of published guidance on using thermal imaging for wildlife surveys. And even before choosing a thermal imaging scope, it is important to consider its intended use, its detection distance (as this varies between different models), and cost.

In the full article Dan Brown describes how thermal technology works, provides more detail on how thermal imaging can be applied to wildlife surveys and the benefits of doing so, and describes the resources and training that are currently available for ecologists using thermal imaging. Other articles that featured in the Summer 2021 issue include:

  • River restoration in the Avon catchment of the Cairngorms National Park
  • The Pirbright Red Deer Project – Surrey’s last ‘wilderness’?
  • Bats in churches: a complex conservation challenge
  • Insecticide-free agriculture – a sustainable approach for nature and farming

In this and every issue you can expect to see Briefing, keeping you up to date on the latest training courses, events and publications, and On the ground which provides helpful tips or updates on products relevant to land management.

CLM is published four times a year in March, June, September and December, and is available by subscription only, delivered straight to your door. Subscriptions start from £22 per year. Previous back issues are also available to purchase individually (subject to availability).

If you are involved in a conservation project and think your experiences could be useful to other practitioners, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in writing for CLM feel free to contact us – we will be happy to discuss your ideas with you.

 

British Wildlife book reviews

British Wildlife has featured book reviews since the very first magazine back in 1989. These reviews provide in-depth critiques of the most important new titles in natural history publishing, from nature-writing bestsellers to technical identification handbooks. They are all authored by experts in relevant subjects, which ensures an honest and insightful appraisal of each book featured.

It can be helpful to read a review before deciding to buy a new book, and so since 2018 every review included in the magazine is available to read on the British Wildlife website. Here is a selection of books that have featured so far in the current volume of British Wildlife, all with links to take you directly to the full review.

1. Woodland Flowers by Keith Kirby

“In Woodland Flowers Keith Kirby invites us to look at the ‘wood beneath the trees’ and to consider what its flora can tell us. The focus of this, the eighth volume of Bloomsbury’s British Wildlife Collection (which I have contributed to myself), is on the vascular plants of the woodland floor; to this end Kirby embraces ferns as honorary flowers, but for the most part he steps aside from considering other elements of woodland ecosystems (including the ‘lower’ plants, fungi and fauna).”

Reviewed by Clive Chatters in the October 2020 issue (BW 32.1) – read the review here

2. Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

“This is Sheldrake’s first book, and, while his expertise means that the readers should feel that they are in safe hands from the off, in truth the experience is more like being whisked down a burrow by a white rabbit, or on a tour of Willy Wonka’s research facility: a trippy, astonishing, and completely exhilarating ride.”

Reviewed by Amy-Jane Beer in the November 2020 issue (BW 32.2) – read the review here

 

3. His Imperial Majesty: A Natural History of the Purple Emperor by Matthew Oates

“Part autecology, part monograph and part impassioned love poem to a species that has captured the author’s heart, the pages offer an enjoyable blend of the Purple Emperor’s recorded history, biology, ecology and conservation.”

 

Reviewed by Simon Breeze in the December 2020 issue (BW 32.3) – read the review here

 

4. Britain’s Habitats: A Field Guide to the Wildlife Habitats of Great Britain and Ireland (second edition) by Sophie Lake, Durwyn Liley, Robert Still and Andy Swash

“But do we really need a field guide to habitats? Possibly not. I certainly will not be taking my copy into the field. Yet this perhaps misses the point. What this book does is remind the users of other field guides that their organisms of interest do not live in isolation – they are nothing without their habitats. So, make this book an essential companion to your species guides.”

Reviewed by Anthony Robinson in the February 2021 issue (BW 32.4) – read the review here

5. Beetles of Britain and Ireland. Volume 3: Geotrupidae to Scraptiidae by Andrew G. Duff

“Anyone interested in identifying and studying beetles simply cannot afford to be without [these books] and any quibbles can only be minor. Andrew cannot be too highly commended for his diligence and hard work to make so much information available to all.”

Reviewed by Richard Wright in the April 2021 issue (BW 32.5) – read the review here

 

6. The Bumblebee Book: A Guide to Britain & Ireland’s Bumblebees by Nick Owen

“This is the latest book to enter the now relatively crowded marketplace of bumblebee guides, which may leave one wondering what it can offer to the more seasoned hymenopterist – read on! The author’s intention is to provide a book at the ‘entry level’ of bee study, Owens stating from the outset that he ‘aims to provide an easily accessible introduction for those with little or no previous knowledge of bumblebees’.”

Reviewed by Adrian Knowles in the April 2021 issue (BW 32.5) – read the review here

7. Bringing Back the Beaver: The Story of One Man’s Quest to Rewild Britain’s Waterways by Derek Gow

“There is no better place from which to view the tragi-comic events which unfold, and no better person to describe it than Derek Gow, a man of action as well as a powerful Beaver advocate. This account is unexpected, oddball, and, despite its serious side, enormously entertaining.”

Reviewed by James Robertson in the May 2021 issue (BW 32.6) – read the review here

 

8. Heathland by Clive Chatters

“He has written an ecological masterpiece, generous in its sympathies, awe-inspiring in its breadth of knowledge, and genuinely enticing in its journey around heathland Britain. This is a book that ought to influence policy.”

Reviewed by Peter Marren in the May 2021 issue (BW 32.6) – read the review here

 


Since its launch in 1989, British Wildlife has established its position as the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiasts and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Individual back issues of the magazine are available to buy through the NHBS website, while annual subscriptions start from just £35 – sign up online here.

 

Conservation Land Management: Summer 2021

Conservation Land Management (CLM) magazine is designed for those involved in managing land for conservation, and is an invaluable source of information on good conservation management practice. Here, Assistant Editor Catherine Mitson provides a summary of the range of articles featured in the new Summer issue.

Monitoring and surveying techniques in conservation and ecology are constantly changing and improving. The use of thermal imaging is one example of a non-invasive method that is becoming a popular choice for those involved in wildlife surveys. Dan Brown, ecologist and founder of Wild Discovery, provides an overview of thermal imaging and the potential for its wider application in species monitoring, surveying and ecological consultancy, while still keeping some of its limitations in mind.

Citizen science also plays an important role in species surveys, and Claire Boothby, Training and Surveys Officer for the Bats in Churches project, describes an opportunity for the public to get involved in bat surveys. Bats can often be found roosting in churches, but due to the open roof structure of many of these buildings, the architecture and items housed inside are susceptible to damage from bat droppings and urine, to the despair of church users. The Bats in Churches project is trialling mitigation measures to enable both humans and bats to use churches harmoniously. This article showcases some churches where these mitigation measures have been implemented successfully and describes how the public can take part in the Bats in Churches Study to improve our current knowledge of how bats use churches.

Also in this issue, James Adler and Steve Proud describe the Pirbright Red Deer Project. The Pirbright Range Danger Area (RDA) in Surrey is one of the most extensive and least disturbed tracts of heathland in southern Britain but as this is an active firing range, traditional means of heathland management are not practical. Instead, red deer have been used for conservation grazing to keep vegetation in check, to the benefit of the rarities found at Pirbright. This article discusses the importance of Pirbright and the development, rationale, and results to date of the Red Deer Project.

Jos Milner takes us north to the Cairngorms National Park where the Our Water Environment project, delivered by the Tomintoul & Glenlivet Landscape Partnership, has set out to restore and enhance the river Avon catchment. Here the river bank has suffered from bank erosion and sedimentation as a result of overgrazing and loss of riparian tree cover. This article explains how green engineering techniques, which use natural materials such as logs or coir matting as a form of bank protection, have been implemented on the River Avon, and how these could provide an opportunity for landscape-scale river restoration.

The final article in the Summer issue looks at how one farmer changed the way he farms to benefit wildlife. Martin Lines is a third-generation farmer and contractor, and with the advice provided by Farm Wildlife, he no longer uses insecticides on his land and has instead shifted to an Integrated Pest Management approach. Kathryn Smith and Martin Lines discuss what this has meant for practical farming operations, and the impact this has had on both crop yields and wildlife.

In this and every issue you can expect to see Briefing, keeping you up to date on the latest training courses, events and publications, and On the ground which provides helpful tips or updates on products relevant to land management.

Other features that regularly appear in CLM include Viewpoint, a similar length to our main articles, but here authors can voice their own views on various conservation issues, and Review, which can include letters from readers or updates from our authors.

CLM is published four times a year in March, June, September and December, and is available by subscription only, delivered straight to your door. Subscriptions start from £22 per year. Previous back issues are also available to purchase individually (subject to availability).

If you are involved in a conservation project and think your experiences could be useful to other practitioners, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in writing for CLM feel free to contact us – we will be happy to discuss your ideas with you.