Biodiversity - From Agreement to Action
In celebration of the UN’s International Biodiversity Day, Sarah Wood, our Biodiversity Manager takes a look at NRW’s work to protect and enhance Wales’s natural environment, and to reflect on this year’s theme: “Biodiversity - From Agreement to Action.”
“Wales is blessed with picturesque landscapes - from the rugged coastlines and rolling hills to the ancient woodlands and vibrant wetlands, breath-taking seas to the weathered mountains. And these offer sanctuary to a range of wildlife. Or so you would think.
“Biodiversity is not faring well, so much so that Wales is in a nature emergency - the scale and rate of nature loss across the nation is accelerating, impacting on species who depend upon our natural resources and the very foundation of our existence. Our own State of Natural Resources Report, along with a host of other reports from across the sector, underline the perilous state of our wildlife and that we have very little resilience to change.
“Wales has demonstrated its commitment to biodiversity conservation through various international and national agreements, and here we have the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which places a legal duty on public organisations to work to maintain and to enhance biodiversity.
“But these agreements alone are not enough. The task of preserving and restoring biodiversity requires more than this — it demands decisive action by everyone – in the way we work and the way we live.
“For a nature-rich Wales, we need to think big - scaling up our efforts to keep carbon locked up in peat deposits, restoring and improving habitats for our native species, and working to increase the population of some of our most threatened wildlife.
“The journey from agreement to action in biodiversity conservation is a challenging one, but here at NRW we’re committed to turning words into tangible results.
- Our expert teams are working hard to restore and improve habitats for our native species and working to increase the population of some of our most threatened species, including the curlew, salmon and sea trout, the native oyster, marsh fritillary butterfly, shrill carder bee and red squirrel.
- The Welsh Government’s Nature Networks programme is enabling us to design and deliver projects that improve the condition and connectivity of our protected sites creating resilient ecological networks which will allow our most endangered habitats and species to thrive.
- We’re scaling up efforts to keep carbon locked up in peat deposits through the National Peatland Action Programme, and we have ambitious targets for restoring nature’s most effective carbon sinks.
- Our five NRW led EU LIFE projects – DeeLife, Sands of Life, 4Rivers4Life, Life Quake and New Life for Welsh Raised Bogs – together total over £27m that we spend on direct conservation work and raising awareness of these crucial habitats.
- We’re expanding Wales’ green canopy by supporting woodland creation projects across the nation.
“These projects are delivered in partnership with a range of organisations and environmental bodies as well as farmers across Wales and demonstrate how together we can make a real difference to the health of our environment.
“Despite some progress, Wales still faces challenges in biodiversity conservation. Climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, and pollution continue to impact our ecosystems. To address these challenges, we have to adopt a holistic approach that integrates biodiversity conservation into various sectors, including agriculture, forestry, and urban planning.
“Without a healthy and valued natural environment, we suffer. When we threaten the environment, we are threatening our food supply, our health, our jobs, our economy, and our sense of place. Which is why restoring nature for nature’s sake is in everyone’s interests.
“But ensuring that nature thrives must be a shared endeavour across government, business and society. It is only together that we can put Wales on a solid footing on the path to nature’s recovery.
“And it is only by turning agreement into action that we will see a nature rich Wales once again.”