Endangered wildlife given a boost

SUFFOLK'S threatened wildlife is set to thrive today thanks to a bumper funding injection.

SUFFOLK'S threatened wildlife is set to thrive today thanks to a bumper funding injection.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) has been given £129,416 for its Reconnecting Suffolk's Farmland project, which aims to reverse the decline of the county's hazel dormouse, great crested newt, tree sparrow and species rich grassland.

The reasons for the decline include the linkage of hedgerows and a lack of livestock and willingness of landowner to enter into sympathetic management.

The project is one of several key conservation schemes in the East of England which been awarded more than £1 million of the £5.5m under Natural England's Countdown 2010 biodiversity action fund, which aims to help some of England's most threatened biodiversity.

Christine Luxton, SWT development manager, said: “The fragmentation of habitat has isolated critical populations of these species leaving them more vulnerable to the effects of habitat loss and climate change.

“Specialist advisors will work proactively with landowners and community groups to establish the habitat networks, small and large, needed for each species to disperse, re-establish and re-colonise. We will use the successful model developed for water vole and barn owl which are both now showing positive signs of recovery.

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“In restoring, recreating and reconnecting habitat for the target Biodiversity Action Plan species, the project will create a living landscape which will create a more permeable landscape with landscape scale networks and micro-networks of habitat through which they can disperse and re-colonise and respond to factors such at habitat fragmentation and climate change.”

The funding announcement coincides with the launch of The Wildlife Trusts' vision of 'A Living Landscape'. This involves enlarging, improving and joining-up areas of land on a vast scale to help wildlife adapt to climate change but also to benefit people.

Dr Helen Phillips, Natural England's chief executive, said: “Clean water, flood management and carbon storage are all delivered by a healthy natural environment and we all benefit from these improvements.”

Do you think enough is being done to protect Suffolk's wildlife? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk