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Our exciting plans for Natur am Byth, Wales’ flagship green recovery project, were fully developed during 2022/23, paving the way for the initiative to begin in earnest in summer 2023.
We were delighted to become one of 10 partners responsible for taking forward Natur am Byth. This recovery programme will span the next 4 years and aims to save vulnerable species from extinction.
The past 12 months have been filled with creativity and hard work as we developed and refined our ideas for Plantlife’s contribution to this groundbreaking programme. Our focus has been on Eryri (Snowdonia) and the Welsh Marches. Here, we will liaise with partners to deliver outreach programmes designed to save threatened species while reconnecting people with nature.
Robbie Blackhall-Miles, our Vascular Plants Officer, has kicked off this important work in Eryri. During 2022/23, he developed an imaginative and forward-looking work programme which aims to save 12 of our most vulnerable species. This includes Tufted Saxifrage Saxifraga cespitosa and the Snowdon Rainbow Beetle Chrysolina cerealis.
Robbie also gave our delivery a headstart by collecting seed under licence from some of the rarest plants. He is now cultivating them so that we can establish wild populations in newly-restored habitats later in the project.
To the east in the Welsh Marches, Lichens and Bryophytes Officer John Spill has been working with NRW. Together, they have developed plans to restore bryophytes in threatened droughted grasslands and lichens and invertebrates on Powys’ veteran trees.
As atmospheric nitrogen pollution is one of the threats we hope to address, we also worked with Radnorshire Wildlife Trust and CEH to install monitoring equipment at Gilfach Nature Reserve. This will help us to better understand and address the impact of pollution on its vulnerable lichens.
Natur am Byth will get fully underway in summer 2023. It will focus on saving 67 species which face the greatest threat of extinction in Wales, including the shrill carder bumblebee, pink sea fan and spotted rock rose. We also hope it will give more people the chance to reconnect with nature by offering engagement and volunteering opportunities.
The programme will support 11 project areas across Wales. Each will tackle the root causes of species decline, working with landowners and community volunteers to deliver positive change.
The ambitious £8m Natur am Byth programme is being made possible thanks to £4.1m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has also contributed £1.7m.
The remaining £1.4m has been secured from Welsh Government, Arts Council of Wales, charitable trusts, foundations and corporate donors.
We will be working in some of Wales’ most spectacular landscapes, and with some of our most vulnerable species. This project gives us the opportunity to reverse the fortunes of those species and ensure that they not only survive, but thrive.
Lizzie WilberforcePlantlife Cymru Lead
We’re using the introduction of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) to advocate for wild plants and fungi and their protection.
We’re working in partnership to tackle the threats which nitrogen pollution and peat sales pose to wild plants and fungi.
Our 4-year Building Resilience project came to an end in January 2023 after successfully shining a light on the south west’s temperate rainforest and the lichen, moss and liverwort communities it supports.