biodiversity in Berkshire
biodiversity work in the local area concerns how to conserve and enhance biological diversity, and is a key test of sustainable living.
The main focus of the Biodiversity action plan, first published by the government in 1994, is on action plans for selected species and habitats:
- Internationally or nationally rare or threatened
- Locally rare or threatened
- Indicative of rare or threatened habitat
- Characteristic of the county
- Culturally valued
Three main threats to the natural environment have been identified:
- Direct habitat and species losses, through agricultural improvements, urban development, mineral extraction and afforestation;
- Fragmentation, or the splitting up of continuous blocks of habitat and species into disconnected pockets;
- Degradation, which occurs when a habitat is no longer managed in an appropriate manner, for example overgrazing on upland moors and undergrazing on lowland heaths.
However, it is clear that this is not just a challenge for Government, although we clearly look to it for leadership. It is a task for all sections of society from local authorities, community groups, to individuals of all ages.
Despite the rapidly changing nature of our countryside, Berkshire still holds an immense diversity of plants and animals including over 1000 species of flowering plant, more than 200 species of birds and a broad range of invertebrates.