Monday, 29 September 2014

September issue of BSBI News is published

It's that time again. Gwynn Ellis tells me that he started mailing out copies of BSBI News #127 to all our members this morning, so tomorrow you may hear the distinctive thrice-yearly sound of the latest issue dropping through your letterbox. The difficult bit is always keeping your hands off it until there's time to read it properly. If you can take a peek during teabreak and then put your copy of News away until after work, you have more willpower than me!

Gwynn has once again allowed News & Views a sneak preview of the contents, and among the delights to look forward to are:

A report by Mike Chalk of Sawfly Orchid Ophrys tenthredenifera on the Dorset coast rather than its usual hang-outs much nearer the Med! Mike's pic also graces the front cover.

A report on a volunteer survey of Parnassia palustris on the Sefton Coast - as previewed in News & Views last year. Thanks to Mary Dean for that sneak preview - now you can read the whole story. With tables! 

Volunteer recorders from ENHS helped Michael Braithwaite
at Brander Heugh, Berwickshire
Another Michael - this time our former President Michael Braithwaite - talking about how his project to repeat-record every square in Berwickshire fed into his Berwickshire BSBI botanical site register. 

The good news is that Michael's excellent work mapping plant distributions at a finer scale across his vice-county is attracting considerable media attention in his homepatch. The bad news is that Michael's previous findings - that individual populations of rare and scarce plants are being lost at an alarming rate - are confirmed and refined to an average rate of about 14% decline per decade. We are getting very good at recording, mapping and monitoring the decline in our wild plants - if only halting it were as achievable! The new England Red List may be a useful tool here... 

Pete Stroh and David Allen (BSBI historian
& author 'The Botanists') snapped at ERL launch
So it's great to see Pete Stroh reporting in News on the new England Red List and we can read the results of applying the ERL threat categories to relevant species in the Cornish dataset and comparing with the same species under the 2005 Red List for Great Britain. Does Colin French think the new England Red List will be better suited to the needs of wildlife conservation in Cornwall? You can read Colin's conclusions on pages 47-51 of BSBI News #127. A glimmer of hope?

Click on the image below to enlarge it and read more about the decline of wild flowers in Berwickshire. This may tide you over until your copy of BSBI News arrives. It is from a recent edition of Berwickshire News - they gave over a full page to Michael Braithwaite's Flora and to the decline of wild plants in the county. Anyone spending £25 on Michael's Flora is getting 37 years worth of local plant knowledge, including the results of an unpaid decade spent repeat-recording Berwickshire's wild plants at a finer scale. And anyone clicking on this link benefits from Michael's incredible generosity in making a version of his Flora available free to everyone. What a nice man!