Government challenged to do more to restore degraded ecosystems and woodland, to assess the conservation status of UK species, and to increase efforts to meet the Achi Biodiversity Targets
During Question Time in Parliament today, along with other Peers, David Alton asked Ministers about the Achi Biodiversity Targets:
“With just 14% of UK species having had their conservation status assessed but 21% listed as threatened what are we doing to increase the collection of data and to accelerate remedial measures, not least the restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, including peatland and woodland, as we are urged to do in Aichi Target 15.”
Evidence suggests that a significant proportion of key habitats and ecosystems remain in a degraded state for wildlife in the UK.
Aichi Target 15 calls for the restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, including peatland and woodland restoration projects, But we don’t do enough to measure progress on this and other targets.
The significant proportion of inland and coastal waters that remain below high or good levels for ecological status also continues to cause concern with progress on Aichi Target 14 insufficient, to meet their degraded state.
Restoring habitats such as peatlands also acts as a carbon sink and manages the release of floodwater from uplands.
Achi’s Targets 12 and 13 urge action to halt widespread and significant decline across many species, such as farmland birds, specialist butterflies and other pollinating insects.
We need to increase the collection of data and take further remedial measures.
Open data policy means that Government data relating to biodiversity in the UK are available by default rather than by request.
On the credit side, the UK has made significant progress with data management and knowledge sharing systems, which continue to increase in size (for example the National Biodiversity Network includes over 219 million observations of wildlife)
Whilst declines have not been on the scale seen in the last Century, progress has not been sufficient to secure an overall improvement in their status.
Aichi Target 13 seeks progress on the genetic diversity of cultivated plants, on farmed, domesticated, and wild animals.
More should be done to implement strategies for the conservation of genetic resources, particularly seed conservation, and in reversing declines in the population size of some native animal breeds.