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This autumn, help us find the Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
Plantlife’s Big Give Christmas Challenge 28 Nov- 5 Dec, make a positive impact in protecting remarkable lichens.
Go the extra mile and run wild for Plantlife
Become a Plantlife member today and together we will rebuild a world rich in plants and fungi
Plantlife is working with governments and landowners to protect and restore temperate rainforest along the Atlantic coast of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Characterised by the presence of unique lichens, bryophytes, mosses, and liverworts, rainforest habitats are highly fragmented and face threats from invasive non-native species, such as Rhododendron ponticum, alongside ash dieback, inappropriate grazing, and air pollution.
Temperate rainforests have some of the highest diversity and abundance of wild plants and fungi in Britain, with many sites qualifying as Important Plant Areas.
Protecting and restoring this ecosystem would speed up progress in meeting national and global targets to address the nature and climate emergencies, including the 2030 Global Biodiversity Framework. Investment in rainforest restoration would also build on past and present conservation actions, and help to build a green economy through employment, skills training and tourism.
The future of Britain’s temperate rainforest and its unique species depends on targeted action by the Scottish, UK and Welsh Governments to:
1. Establish national rainforest funds from both public and private sources to support long-term landscape-scale projects and other practical action.
a) The Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest has identified the cost of restoring the temperate rainforest zone in Scotland to be £500 million.
2. Increase protection of remaining rainforest sites and species through national strategy, policy, and legislation.
3. Provide advice and support for land managers to enhance and restore rainforest on their land.
4. Take urgent action to tackle key threats to rainforest including air pollution, invasive non-native species (INNS), and deer management.
a) More than 94% of the UK’s woodland is impacted by excess nitrogen deposited through air pollution and rainfall. Lichens are essential species in temperate rainforests, but they need clean air to thrive. Lichens provide food, shelter, and microhabitats for invertebrates, in addition to carbon cycling and water retention.
b) Invasive non-native species, like Rhododendron ponticum and ash dieback currently have the potential to wipe out much of the species diversity in Britain’s temperate rainforests. Funding projects that address this, in addition to making powers of enforcement more widely known and used where necessary, give rainforests to chance to thrive.
c) Deer are a natural part of thriving temperate rainforest areas; however, at their current population density, particularly within Scotland, their grazing prevents essential tree species from growing and this leads to a decrease in long-term regeneration of woodland areas.
Plantlife is calling on governments to invest in rainforest restoration and take urgent action to tackle the threats to this internationally-important habitat.
Discover how Plantlife is working with governments to protect and restore temperate rainforest along the Atlantic coast of Britain.
Our wild and wet woodlands and the species that live within them are facing severe threats which Plantlife will be tackling through the Species Recovery Project.
Temperate rainforest in south-west England is a globally rare habitat full of special lichens and mosses. Read about our work to protect them in the Building Resilience project.
In 2022 Lizzie Wilberforce took up the challenge of trying to learn some of Britain’s most common moss and liverwort species, near her home in damp, mossy west Wales.
‘Inspired by Lief Bersweden’s Couch to 10 Mosses on Twitter, I decided to give it a go and independently teach myself some mosses and liverworts out on my walks.
I have always been interested in identifying plants, even as a child. As an adult, I’m now able to identify most common species on my patch, but still with a huge amount still to learn. Bryophytes, known as mosses and liverworts, were even more of a mystery to me.
I’d always appreciated the aesthetics of their soft cloaks of green that envelop damp woodland, and the sheer resilience of the small, tufty species eking out a living in the harsh conditions of our sun-baked stone walls.
Naming them, however, always felt like an art that was out of my reach.
The first step is to spot just 1 or 2 interesting but abundant species when out for a walk, and to then bring home a very small piece of them to ‘key out’ – using an ID guide to identify the species.
Here are some tips which have helped me, for when you’ve spotted your first moss species.
Don’t be intimidated! Mosses and liverworts have a bit of a reputation for being tricky, but it’s great fun when you get into it. Looking a bit closer through a hand lens also reveals whole new levels of intricacy and beauty in these glorious plants.
These 2 publications have been incredibly helpful as ID guides: the British Bryological Society’s ‘Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland’ has been my go-to book for keying samples out, and of course a hand lens is vital.
I’ve also found that the Species Recovery Trust’s booklet ‘A Field Guide to Bryophytes’ has been helpful for quickly spotting some of the most common species I was likely to encounter based on habitat.
Going wrong and getting stuck has been an inevitable part of being a beginner. I’ve found that the Google Lens mobile phone app – whilst it does a poor job of species identification, can sometimes do enough to point me in a new direction if I’ve gone wrong early in the key.
A guidebook will take you to the right species, but it won’t always tell you which one or two features are the easiest to spot in the field – an expert will help you learn that shortcut much more quickly.
My county recorder, Sam Bosanquet, has been incredibly patient and helpful. Your local county recorder could have access to distribution maps such as Sam’s Carmarthenshire County Flora, which are a good sense check – find your county recorder here.
I’ve also recently joined the British Bryological Society, which gives me access to supportive recording groups and events.
I’ve also had to accept that my learning is seasonal – but one of the great things about mosses and liverworts is that it has provided me with new things to do in the tail ends of the year.
Sometimes it’s felt like one step forward and two steps back, with long names and complex features that I struggle to keep in my brain. However, embracing it as a slow process has meant it’s always stayed fun.
I’m gradually getting better at recognising some of the commoner species in the field, and every now and then, I’m even filling in a gap on the distribution maps – which help protect these species for the future.
Bryophytes desperately need more advocates and recorders. So, if you’ve ever thought about giving it a go, but thought them a bit intimidating- don’t! Set yourself a target of 10 and give it a go. Who knows where it’ll take you next?‘
Thuidium tamariscinum has a name that is a little tricky to commit to memory, but its wonderful complex fern-like structure is very distinctive. It’s abundant in my local woodlands and hedge banks, and is one of the first mosses I learned to recognise in the field.
Plagiochila asplenioides, a large leafy liverwort that was one of the first to catch my attention on local road verges.
Discover the names of temperate rainforest mosses which could be in woodlands near you!
Three Hagges Woodmeadow Site Manager Kara shares what volunteers do, from coppicing to nature surveys, and how you can get involved.
Discover the activities and work that our volunteers in the Cairngorms do with Sam Jones of the Rare Plants and Wild Connections Project.
For getting up close to our tiniest wild plants and fungi, you'll need a hand lens. Learn how to use one and get top tips on buying your own.
Plantlife is the global charity working to secure a world rich in plants and fungi. This Review sets out our progress in year two of the Plantlife Strategy to 2030, which aims to restore our biodiversity across every landscape and work towards a society that truly recognises the value of wild plants and fungi for the future of people and the planet.
Plantlife is the global charity working to enhance, protect, restore and celebrate the wild plants and fungi that are essential to all life on earth. With two in five plant species at risk of extinction, biodiversity loss is now the fastest it’s ever been and Plantlife’s work has never been more vital.
Plantlife champions and accelerates conservation action, working at the heart of a global network of individuals and organisations, to influence and inspire landowners and land managers, public and private bodies, governments and local communities. As time begins to run out, Plantlife’s position as the global voice for wild plants and fungi will help to bring lasting and positive change to our natural world – for everyone’s sake.
We run 24 nature reserves across the UK, covering 4,500 acres.
There are now 2,336 Important Plant Areas (IPAs) in place in 34 countries, with 165 in the UK.
days of support have been provided by volunteers.
Ian DunnChief Executive
David Hill CBEChair
“Society is increasingly recognising that we cannot deliver the benefits we seek for nature in isolation of the mitigation actions needed to address our climate challenges, nor indeed vice versa. We must also address these two challenges of nature and climate in a socially just way, actively listening to the voices around us. This is at the heart of our work, and I trust that the content of our annual review will inspire and engage you.I can say without hesitation that we have a superb team at Plantlife, individually and collectively contributing to the positive impact we strive for. We also work with so many insightful partners alongside whom we deliver for a world rich in wild plants and fungi. Our membership and finances are growing in numbers and providing a robust platform for our work. As you explore this review of the last year, please do dwell on our project outcomes and conservation impact; what the team has delivered is impressive. Across so many habitats, working with so many species and engaging with so many communities, we aim to be conservation organisation of choice; expert, impactful, agile and fun to work with and for. Our passion for the task at hand shines through the work of the last year and we can only achieve this with the support of so many.It is widely recognised that the environment sector lacks diversity and is seen as inaccessible to people with reduced mobility, from minority sections of society or those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. To address this, Plantlife is proud to be working with the Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) and Groundwork UK’s New to Nature scheme and are hosting a young person as a Partnership Trainee to work with us. We are also collaborating with other organisations to identify ways we can develop and promote the importance of equality and diversity in everything we do.Thank you if you are one of our supporters already and, if not, join us! Our vision for a world rich in wild plants and fungi is fundamental to the success of so much we must achieve as a society. If we get this right, together, we’ll really be able to address the challenges faced by nature and climate change with full societal engagement, thereby protecting and restoring this beautiful world we live in.”
“Society is increasingly recognising that we cannot deliver the benefits we seek for nature in isolation of the mitigation actions needed to address our climate challenges, nor indeed vice versa. We must also address these two challenges of nature and climate in a socially just way, actively listening to the voices around us. This is at the heart of our work, and I trust that the content of our annual review will inspire and engage you.
I can say without hesitation that we have a superb team at Plantlife, individually and collectively contributing to the positive impact we strive for. We also work with so many insightful partners alongside whom we deliver for a world rich in wild plants and fungi. Our membership and finances are growing in numbers and providing a robust platform for our work. As you explore this review of the last year, please do dwell on our project outcomes and conservation impact; what the team has delivered is impressive. Across so many habitats, working with so many species and engaging with so many communities, we aim to be conservation organisation of choice; expert, impactful, agile and fun to work with and for. Our passion for the task at hand shines through the work of the last year and we can only achieve this with the support of so many.
It is widely recognised that the environment sector lacks diversity and is seen as inaccessible to people with reduced mobility, from minority sections of society or those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. To address this, Plantlife is proud to be working with the Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) and Groundwork UK’s New to Nature scheme and are hosting a young person as a Partnership Trainee to work with us. We are also collaborating with other organisations to identify ways we can develop and promote the importance of equality and diversity in everything we do.
Thank you if you are one of our supporters already and, if not, join us! Our vision for a world rich in wild plants and fungi is fundamental to the success of so much we must achieve as a society. If we get this right, together, we’ll really be able to address the challenges faced by nature and climate change with full societal engagement, thereby protecting and restoring this beautiful world we live in.”
“It seems barely a couple of years since I took up the role of Chair back in 2015 – 8 years ago! During that time I have met many of you, our wonderful members and supporters, and most of our staff at various events and meetings. Our membership has grown from around 7,000 to approaching 23,000; income from around £2.5m to over £5.5m; total funds for conservation from around £4m to nearly £10m and FTE staff from under 40 to over 70. My lasting memory of my time at Plantlife will be one of being able to work with some of the most amazing people in the conservation world, and delivering really important work as we strive to recover nature in the UK and beyond. I give special thanks to all of our staff, to our highly effective Board members and of course to you all for your outstanding support.There is no doubt in my mind that we are starting to see a major change in attitudes across society, governments and corporate business in terms of the urgency of doing what needs to be done to restore global natural capital in addition to tackling climate change. According to the World Economic Forum and many others – professional economists as well as environmentalists, some 55% of global GDP relies on what nature provides. Without functioning ecosystems, corporate businesses will be unable to obtain investment and will ultimately collapse. While all in Plantlife have a passion for nature, this isn’t necessarily the position everyone holds. But now that nature is seen as business critical, it ought to stimulate corporates into putting finance into ecosystem restoration.A whole world of ecosystem markets has begun to open up in the past 18 months. I feel confident that private investment into private landholdings, as we are starting to see, will generate the scale and urgency that is needed to really shift the dial on biodiversity – at last! I’m delighted to say that Plantlife’s secure future will enable it to play its part in making that happen on the ground with our amazing projects.”
“It seems barely a couple of years since I took up the role of Chair back in 2015 – 8 years ago! During that time I have met many of you, our wonderful members and supporters, and most of our staff at various events and meetings. Our membership has grown from around 7,000 to approaching 23,000; income from around £2.5m to over £5.5m; total funds for conservation from around £4m to nearly £10m and FTE staff from under 40 to over 70. My lasting memory of my time at Plantlife will be one of being able to work with some of the most amazing people in the conservation world, and delivering really important work as we strive to recover nature in the UK and beyond. I give special thanks to all of our staff, to our highly effective Board members and of course to you all for your outstanding support.
There is no doubt in my mind that we are starting to see a major change in attitudes across society, governments and corporate business in terms of the urgency of doing what needs to be done to restore global natural capital in addition to tackling climate change. According to the World Economic Forum and many others – professional economists as well as environmentalists, some 55% of global GDP relies on what nature provides. Without functioning ecosystems, corporate businesses will be unable to obtain investment and will ultimately collapse. While all in Plantlife have a passion for nature, this isn’t necessarily the position everyone holds. But now that nature is seen as business critical, it ought to stimulate corporates into putting finance into ecosystem restoration.
A whole world of ecosystem markets has begun to open up in the past 18 months. I feel confident that private investment into private landholdings, as we are starting to see, will generate the scale and urgency that is needed to really shift the dial on biodiversity – at last! I’m delighted to say that Plantlife’s secure future will enable it to play its part in making that happen on the ground with our amazing projects.”
Underpinning the health of our environment, wild plants and fungi are the foundation upon which we can help resolve the climate, ecological and societal challenges we face. Our work spans four strategic areas:
Our ability to secure a world rich in plants and fungi is dependent on the generosity of grant givers, companies, institutions, individuals and thousands of our members. We continue to be inspired by the commitment and passion shown by so many in supporting our work.
We are extremely grateful to all our members, supporters, funders and other organisations that so generously supported us in 2022/23.
The Big Give Christmas Challenge helped us to raise nearly £100,000 to safeguard mountain plants at risk of extinction.
Helping rebuild a plant-rich world with the help of our generous supporters.
We’ve been awarded £1m to restore and conserve species-rich grassland across Wales and protect this vital habitat for the future.
We’re kickstarting an important research and education programme with the help of a £390,000 grant.
Lidl supported Plantlife by bringing wildflower survey to its customers.
2022/23 was another extremely positive year for Plantlife, making lasting positive change for wildflowers, plants and fungi whilst maintaining total funds in order to build resilience for the future. By joining forces with others we have ensured our money, influence and impact has a wider reach than we alone could effect.
The majority of our expenditure is spent directly on our conservation work and we increased conservation activity to £3,152k up from £2,975k last year.
This was across a range of projects covering our priority habitats of grasslands and temperate rainforest restoration as well as on threatened species with new projects in Wales and Scotland. We also increased our work on education and engagement, including ongoing campaigning against peat extraction, promoting a grasslands action plan and raising awareness of temperate rainforest.
We continue to make strategic investments in growing membership and other forms of fundraising to secure future income along with strengthening systems and processes to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness.
2022/23 saw income grow across all areas of activity and we are extremely grateful to everyone that contributed so generously to securing a world rich in plants and fungi.
We saw a 27% boost to funding for specific conservation projects compared to last year including funding from National Highways for a biodiversity enhancement programme on our own reserves and in partnership with other landowners along with work beginning on two major integrated species recovery partnership projects this year, Natur am Byth funded by Natural Resources Wales and Species on the Edge funded by NatureScot.
Membership continues to grow with over 20,000 Plantlife members now engaging in our work, helping to boost supporter income by 25%. We also received donations from a number of new funders in the year including a grant from Garfield Weston Foundation to support road verges work.
If you would like to know more about how you can support Plantlife and help us to continue our vital work for plants and fungi please contact Vickie Wood.
Nitrogen in the air is one of the greatest threats to our wild plants, lichens and fungi – yet few people have even heard about it.
Plantlife is working with governments, landowners and other partners to tackle its devastating impacts.
The evidence is clear. Nitrogen has built up in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels and intensive farming. Transport, power stations, industry, farm fertilisers and livestock are all major sources of nitrogen oxides and ammonia emissions.
Deposited directly from the air and in rain, this nitrogen is a form of pollution, creating acidic conditions and causing direct damage to our wild plants, lichens and fungi.
Over two thirds of our wild flowers, plants like Harebell Campanula rotundifolia and Betony Betonica officinalis require low or medium levels of nitrogen. Only robust species, such as Nettle Urtica dioica, Cleavers Galium aparine and Hemlock Conium maculatum thrive in soils with high nitrogen levels.
Species-rich grasslands, woodlands, heathlands and peat bogs are all under threat from air pollution. This even reaches remote mountain tops and the rainforest of Scotland’s west coast as they have higher levels of nitrogen-rich rainfall.
Alarmingly, 68% of sensitive habitat area in the UK has excessive levels of nitrogen – in England and Wales alone, this figure rises to more than 93% (Trends Report 2022, published on the UK-AIR website).
Reducing air pollution will have huge benefits for biodiversity as well as public health and our climate. Ammonia emissions from farming need particular attention as they have fallen so little in recent decades compared to other air pollutants.
Armed with powerful evidence and practical solutions, Plantlife is ‘talking about nitrogen’ with governments and partners across the UK to drive forward the action that is so urgently needed.
This report summarises current evidence and raises awareness of where nitrogen is coming from, the impacts on habitats, plants and fungi, and how it is recorded.
A call to protect Wales’ internationally important wild flora and fungi from air pollution. This report focuses on the less well-known issue of ammonia pollution arising from intensive farming.
This report presents the available evidence on atmospheric nitrogen deposition and its impacts on Scotland’s plants and fungi and the wildlife that depend on them.
Learn how you can make an impact on Scotland's new Natural Environment Bill, putting wild plants at the heart of plans for nature recovery.
Read how Plantlife is working with governments and landowners to tackle nitrogen – one of the greatest threats to our wild plants, lichens and fungi
Lisa Gardner, Plantlife’s Artist in Residence, shares her summer journey across some of our magical Plantlife reserves, the rare species she discovered and some top tips for aspiring botanical artists.
I always thought that I was someone who immersed themselves in nature. The entire ethos of my work is inspired by the natural world; it’s the seeds that allow my paintings to grow. However, my life-changing trip this summer exploring IPA sites across the UK has opened my eyes. It’s shown me what truly settling into stillness and absorbing the magic of nature really is.
As part of my Artist Residency for Plantlife – and supported by Arts Council England’s Developing your Creative Practice Fund – I set off on a wildflower treasure hunt back in May to uncover rare species; many of which are currently living on the edge.
I have always been fascinated by the juxtaposition of a wildflower, how its strength can rise through rubble and yet its fragility can break at the lightest of touches. A wildflower experiences birth, growth, transformation and decay, often in a thimble of time. It shows courage, hope, resilience, a contentment that is enviable.
Being amongst wildflowers I feel joy, strength, grief and an easeful glimmer of peace. With every wildflower season, I am able to experience this cycle of emotions. I am my raw, honest self, no hiding, nature welcomes you as you are, inviting you to be part of the purposeful chaos. My art helps me grow down through my layers and expand my roots.
My journey started at Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve in Kent. And what a start to the trip! I pulled up in the smallest of car parks where I was met by Ben, the site manager. He was excited to show me the incredibly rare Man Orchid: a handful of this endangered species had decided to make a verge on the side of a busy road their home.
If he hadn’t pointed them out, I would have walked straight past – but the moment you notice them, you cannot look away. Milky lime yellow with stripes of burgundy and tongues like snakes; they were utterly divine.
The juxtaposition of this rare, beautiful flower with the frantic hum of traffic continuously passing by felt like a metaphor for human nature. How much do we miss out on because we’re simply too busy?
My visit up to Scotland was the biggest part of my trip. The colours here were like a symphony; vibrant pops against a rugged landscape. Shades of storm grey into an icy blue, merging into crystalline greens. Soft lavender and silver ribbons. All these colours merged together against the textures of the flagstone rocks and the wildlife that burst from them.
And you had to work to find the rare species among this incredible palette! At one point, I had to lean right over a cliffside to spot the tiniest deep pink Scottish Primrose; it was so small and fragile – around 5cm tall – that you had to seriously tune your eye in to find it.
But I was so glad I made the effort. The Scottish Primrose can only be found in Orkney and the northern coast of Scotland. If it disappears from these sites, it’s gone forever. Our discovery, therefore, felt enormously poignant.
Become a member from £3.25 today.
Learn about why our Munsary Peatlands reserve is being put forward for inscription as the world’s first peatland UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plantlife’s Artist in Residence, shares her summer journey across our reserves and some top tips for aspiring botanical artists.
Spring is an exciting time to be on our nature reserves. This is the season when the meadows really burst into life, with lush growth and seasonal flowers.
Grasslands like meadows and parks are not just home to wildflowers, they are also an important habitat for a colourful type of fungi which prefer farmland to forests – waxcaps.
Every autumn one of the UK’s most colourful natural displays takes place: jewel-coloured waxcaps emerge through the grass across our countryside, cities and even some of our gardens. Let’s find them!
Waxcaps are types of mushrooms known for their shiny-looking caps. Together with other types of fascinatingly named fungi called pinkgills, earthtongues, club and coral fungi – they form a group called “grassland fungi”.
Waxcaps and grassland fungi come in a rainbow of different colours including vibrant violets, yellows, greens and pinks.
They also come in weird and wonderful shapes, which can help you to identify the species you’re looking at.
Chris Jones is the Warden at the Kenfig National Nature Reserve, one of our Dynamic Dunescapes sites, and has worked as a practical conservationist for over 25 years.
Kenfig is one of the largest sand dune systems in Wales and provides a unique habitat for a variety of rare and specialised species, including over 20 species of Waxcap fungi.
‘Waxcap fungi are commonly found in grasslands and meadows, and they are known for their ecological importance. They are often found in areas with short, grazed vegetation, but they can also occur in disturbed habitats, such as lawns and roadside verges.
Waxcaps are mostly found in the late summer and autumn, typically from September to November, depending on the local weather – but you can find them all year round.
The meadows where waxcaps are found are known as ‘waxcap grasslands’. These grasslands need specific conditions for waxcaps to thrive and are becoming rare.
On waxcap grasslands, waxcap fungi form partnerships with plants, where they exchange nutrients with the roots of host plants, benefiting both the fungi and the plants. This only happens in habitats with a high level of biodiversity, which the aims to identify.
Waxcap fungi are fascinating not only for their vibrant colours but also for their significance as indicators of healthy grasslands. Their conservation is important for maintaining biodiversity and preserving these unique and beautiful fungi for future generations to enjoy.
Many waxcap species are considered rare or threatened, primarily due to habitat loss and changes in land management practices such as tree planting and intensive agriculture. If you find any, please record them on the Waxcap Watch app.
I LOVE Waxcaps, they are AMAZING! It is ridiculously hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to choose it would be… all of them.’
This autumn, help Plantlife find Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
A new stock-take of the UK’s wildlife has revealed continued declines in our biodiversity, with over half of our flowering plants declining in their range since 1970.
The ‘State of Nature 2023’ report is the most comprehensive set of reports on nature across the four UK nations, based on the latest and best data collated by thousands of skilled volunteers.
The startling data has renewed calls from Plantlife and its partners for urgent action for nature’s recovery by governments and across society.
…have declined in distribution across Great Britain since 1970. Also:
The reports also show that nature restoration projects, such as those delivered by Plantlife, and the shift towards nature-friendly farming can have clear benefits for nature, people and planet.
15% of flowering plant and 26% of bryophyte species increased their distribution thanks to nature restoration projects such as Building Resilience and Restoring Fen Orchid.
We need more of this work, on a bigger scale, now.
Plantlife and its partners are calling on all governments and political parties to put nature’s recovery at the heart of their policies as a matter of priority.
Nature is in crisis. Time is running out.We can’t wait any longer: we know the solutions and our politicians must act now.Use your voice to call for action for our wild plants and fungi now.
Here are some actions you can take:
Nature can’t wait.
On 28 September, join Plantlife as we stand united alongside communities, world-leading experts and charities to ask our elected representatives, current and aspiring, to restore nature now.
Humans have put the planet on a path to a warmer world and now face urgent and interlinked climate and biodiversity crisis.
It is critical that world leaders strengthen not weaken green pledges and display meaningful climate leadership.
Healthy wild plants, fungi & other wildlife species and habitats provide essential solutions to the climate crisis and increasing resilience.
With 2/5 of the world’s wild plants at risk of extinction and only 3% of UK wildflower meadows surviving compared to 100 years ago, Plantlife are calling for ambitious action now.
On 28 September, join Plantlife as we ask our elected representatives, current and aspiring, to restore nature now.
We come together united alongside nature lovers, environmental groups, No Mow May-ers, young people, change-makers and world-leading experts to push for ambitious action for climate and nature.
MEET : Defra Seacole Building, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF (entrance Great Peter Street)
TIME : 28 September 8am-2pm
NEED TO KNOW : We will be celebrating the wild places and species we love; people, placards, flags, colour, costumes, speeches and music at the place where our united voice needs to be heard.
Learn more about how Plantlife and our partners are calling on the UK Government to prioritise grasslands and commit to developing a Grassland Action Plan for England.
It’s time for real action to make the most of our grasslands.
Plantlife Members, discover the wonders of lichens with experts Dr Oliver Moore and Dave Lamacraft.
On 28 September, join Plantlife to take action, standing united alongside the Restore Nature Now movement at the DEFRA offices in London.
Plantlife Members, join us in an engaging virtual journey through some fascinating British fungi species.
Number of IPAs:165 (47 in Scotland, 90 in England, 24 in Wales, 4 in Northern Ireland)
IPA area covered: 1.6 million ha
165 IPAs have been identified in the UK – 47 in Scotland, 90 in England, 24 in Wales and 4 in Northern Ireland.
Sitting at the edge of Europe and facing the Atlantic Ocean, the unique climate, geology and landscape of the UK conspire to foster exceptional plant communities. Major habitats, such as grasslands, heathlands, wetlands, woodlands and coasts, help define the biogeographic zone and characterise the countryside.
IPAs cover 1.6 million ha of land, or approximately 7% of the UK. Nearly all of the UK’s IPAs are afforded a degree of statutory protection, at least in part, thanks to the extensive network of protected sites such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). 60% of the UK’s threatened plants and lichens are listed as priorities for conservation.
A key feature in the identification of UK IPAs is the consideration of a wide range of taxonomic groups – with IPAs identified for lichens, bryophytes, marine algae, stoneworts, freshwater algae and vascular plants (including arable plant assemblages). Almost a third (32%) of UK IPAs have lichen features, 29% have bryophyte features and 16% have stonewort features. In total, 38% of UK IPAs have been identified for non-vascular plant features.
This wide taxonomic coverage has been critical to the establishment and acceptance of UK IPAs as a conservation tool, accurately reflecting the true importance of these areas. It provides a focus on often lesser known, understood or studied groups and highlights the diversity and complexity of sites and areas.
The identification of the UK IPA network was a major landmark in the UK for plant diversity, however it has been through subsequent focus and partnership action that IPAs have enabled targeted conservation action. The UK IPA network has influenced agri-environment schemes, the assessment of plant diversity within protected landscapes, and strategies such as National Park Action Plans and site management plans.
UK IPA features, and the threats to them, have provided the catalyst for developing partnerships of landowners and managers to deliver large scale conservation work. For example, the removal of Rhododendron ponticum at a catchment-scale from Atlantic woodland IPAs in Wales, and large scale dune conservation across England and Wales.
An ambitious Plantlife project to revitalise populations of Juniper in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire to prevent Juniper from becoming extinct.
Juniper berries, UK
Braunton Burrows Dunes, Devon, UK
Lichen growing in Dartmoor National Park, UK
Plantlife and NPMS staff tested 10 popular plant identifying apps out on the field and picked 3 of the best for you to take out on your next wildflower hunt.
These days it seems there is an app for everything, including finding out what creature critter or plant you are looking at. But are they useful? Are they accurate?
We tested 10 popular apps out on the field to put them through their paces, and picked 3 of our favourites. We looked at ease of use, accuracy, costs involved and what additional features they have.
Our favourite app from the ones tested, this is free to download with no intrusive adverts or other costs involved.
The aim of the Flora Incognita research project is mapping plants, therefore they record and use the location of where the plants are found.
That means using this app is not only beneficial to your learning, but also makes an important contribution to biodiviersity monitoring and research.
This app combines traditional plant identification with the latest methods of AI. To identify, simply click on the plus symbol which takes you through your options.
Ease of use 5/5Identification skills 4/5Range of features 4/5
Claiming to be ‘the botanist in your pocket’, this app uses advanced artificial intelligence and was accurate for a wide range of species, from Sea Thrift to trickier species such as Mouse-ear Hawkweed.
Advertised as £24.99 a year, you can use the app indefinitely to identify plants without paying: when you open the app you come to a pre-home screen where you click cancel.
Other benefits include the app’s ability to identify common grasses, sedges and fungi – but we recommend some caution with these due to the cryptic nature of IDing these species. Picture This also has common questions and answers for each plant, along with stories and other interesting facts such as flowering times.
iNaturalist was created with the aims of recording your observations and sharing them with the ability to crowdsource identifications. The app is free and has a range of handy features that make uploading a breeze, including an automatic location based on the photos’ GPS tag, and the ability to record other wildlife such as insects and birds.
We found the app very accurate to a plant’s genus, a group of similar species, and sometimes even down to the specific species when multiple photos are added. This makes it the perfect tool for you to take your plant ID knowledge further with a field guide.
Seek is a simpler version of iNaturalist with an easier interface for the family. We found Seek had less accuracy in the field, so if you’re looking for something more thorough, we recommend downloading iNaturalist.
Ease of use 5/5Identification skill 5/5Range of features 4/5
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