The last issue had rather a theme of fascinating plant discoveries made by BSBI members but in this latest issue, there's something of a conservation theme. Kevin Walker, BSBI Head of Science, has authored the lead article 'The BSBI and plant conservation', setting out the background to - and rationale behind - our recently-published policy on nature conservation, which you can read in full here. As Kevin says, BSBI has never been a campaigning organisation but it has, over time, worked with environmental NGOs to gather the evidence that underpins their conservation work. We have collaborated with partners to produce Red Lists, Biodiversity Action Plans, State of Nature reports and Rare Plant Registers but "given the pressures that wildlife is currently facing, evidence alone is not always enough". He goes on to set out a list of actions whereby BSBI can play a greater role in influencing policy, promoting best practice and supporting plant conservation.
Several other articles in this latest issue of BSBI News pick up the same theme and help reinforce Kevin's message. There's a summary of recent amendments to the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain, and a note about the new UK biodiversity indicator for plants of the wider countryside; it uses data collected by volunteer recorders and will provide statutory bodies with reliable evidence for reporting biodiversity change, shaping policies around habitat management and monitoring the successes and failure of such policies.
There are also articles about the first Sussex record of Great Pignut, and the first UK mainland record of Jersey Pink - both these "firsts" thanks to sharp-eyed BSBI botanists and a reminder, if one were needed, of the contribution that our members make to the botanical recording that underpins evidence-based plant conservation.
For those just starting out on their botanical journey, Hazel Metherell's article 'When is a Dandelion not a Dandelion: a beginner's guide to yellow composites' will be essential reading while Bob Leaney's notes on separating agrimonies and hybrids of three common willows are aimed more at the intermediate level botanist. With six pages of botanical news from across Britain and Ireland, six pages of book reviews, pavement plants of the Wirral and the 14-page 'Adventives and aliens' sections, there really is something for everyone in BSBI News!
Tucked inside their copy of BSBI News no. 147, BSBI members will also find news of the latest BSBI Handbook and how to claim their exclusive membership discount and save £5 when they buy the book, but more about that later this week, when we will also be bringing you the latest free sampler issue of BSBI News and a full article that members can share with friends who are thinking of joining BSBI but haven't taken the plunge yet. Watch this space!