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Chalk Grassland Appeal
A third of Surrey’s nature is either extinct or in danger of heading that way. Wildlife is at risk in our woods, our heaths and on our Downs. That is why over the next five years Surrey Wildlife Trust is setting out to recover Surrey’s nature in some of the most endangered areas.
Let’s take the North Downs. This beautiful ridge of chalk hills stretches from Farnham to the White Cliffs of Dover. They are also home to a very rare habitat – chalk grassland – which has been steadily declining in the UK for over 50 years.
The North Downs was once covered in flower-rich chalk grassland. The beauty of a wildflower meadow – alive with the humming of bees alongside beautiful butterflies dancing from flower to flower – is a truly wonderful summer sight. Before the Second World War, chalk grassland was widespread, but this habitat has seriously declined. We have LOST more than 80% of our chalk grassland since WWII. This is partly due to changes in the way we use our land.
For instance, intensive farming can change the nature of the soil with herbicides and fertilisers so that many chalk grassland species can’t survive. There has also been a huge reduction in traditional grazing, which affects the diversity of plants which are able to grow.
Chalk grassland supports such an incredible range of different species that it has been referred to as Europe’s tropical rainforest. Many of these are what we call specialists – they do not grow anywhere else – including stunningly delicate orchids. Sadly, the beautiful green-winged orchid is now a very rare sight
Your support is vital in helping us recover Surrey’s nature. Please help with a donation if
State of Surrey's Nature Appeal
Can you help us recover Surrey’s nature?
Following the - frankly worrying - results from the UK wide State of Nature Report in 2016, we wanted a local picture of what was happening in Surrey. So when Mike Waite, our Living Landscapes Manager, produced the State of Surrey’s Nature report it made alarming reading.
Sadly, Surrey’s flora and fauna appears to be faring particularly badly and we have suffered a far higher rate of loss in species than the nation as a whole. In fact, this is 12% compared to the national 2%, a quite shocking statistic.
Add that to the fact that of a total of 404 priority species (of national conservation concern), almost 31% are already locally extinct in Surrey, while 37% are threatened and/or remain in worrying decline. This leaves just 32% considered ‘stable’ or ‘recovering’.
Although this is far from good news it can serve as a wake-up call for all of us. We are determined to make Surrey a place for nature to recover and we’re asking for your support.
Can you help us halt the decline by making a gift today?
We need to invest in reversing the poor management and neglect of many of Surrey’s beautiful woods, which has caused the decline of many woodland species like the threatened wood white butterfly. One of our most threatened mammals, the Hazel dormouse, also needs properly managed woodlands to survive. Management techniques. such as coppicing, benefit the dormouse as well as other woodland species at risk including Nightingales.
We need to restore mismanaged or long neglected hedgerows, which provide food and shelter for hedgehogs and formerly-common farmland birds like yellowhammers. Hedgerows can also be wildlife havens in urban areas, providing vital links for all sorts of species to move about freely and keep populations healthy.
There is much to do, but we know you care as much as we do about Surrey’s natural environment. Surrey has a number of pressures – developments, housing, roads – but its natural beauty has to be one of its most precious features, so please help us do all we can to recover Surrey’s nature.