Trees for Life joins the UN's Decade on Biodiversity
Following on from the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) in 2010, the United Nations has declared 2011-2020 the UN Decade on Biodiversity, because of the crucial importance of protecting all the Earth's species. Trees for Life was an active participant in the International Year of Biodiversity, holding a special public event at Dundreggan on Biodiversity Day in May 2010, and reporting on biodiversity discoveries at Dundreggan throughout the year.
With ongoing surveys revealing more of the diversity of species at Dundreggan, and our forest restoration work providing an increased habitat for many plants, animals, insects and fungi, we've signed up as a partner in the UN's Decade on Biodiversity and are pleased to tie in our work with this global initiative. We’ve also applied to a grant-giving trust for a grant for training and equipment, so that we can add biodiversity surveying and identification to our Conservation Holidays programme, thereby increasing the skill and effectiveness of our volunteers.
Meanwhile, following the recent sighting of a Scottish wildcat near Dundreggan, we've arranged to borrow an infra-red camera trap from one of our local supporters, to see if we can get some photographs if it's also using our land. This is potentially quite significant, as Scottish wildcat numbers are now estimated at just 400, and it is a priority species for conservation on both the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan and Scottish Natural Heritage's Species Action Framework. To help address the concerns about the future of wildcats in Scotland, David Hetherington has been appointed to the special post of Cairngorms Wildcat Project Manager, and we're liaising with him about how best to go about setting up the camera trap as he's had considerable success with them in the Cairngorms.
We are continuing to make additions to the list of species found at Dundreggan, with some recent ones being the greater butterfly-orchid (Platanthera chlorantha), which was spotted near the main road at Dundreggan in June, a bright orange rust fungus (Triphragmium ulmariae) that grows on the stems and leaves of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and a micro-moth (Stigmella lapponica) that makes mines in the leaves of birch trees. We've also found some possible evidence of the presence of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in the commercial plantation on the western side of the estate, and we're hoping that some detailed survey work by a local person will confirm that. Thanks to the generous support of the Audrey and JJ Martindale Foundation, there's another series of biodiversity surveys under way at Dundreggan this summer, including a follow-up one to the sawfly survey in 2010 which produced some significant results. One of the species recorded in that survey, the juniper sawfly (Monoctenus juniperi), is classified as Rare in the UK’s Red Data Book of endangered species, but was found in abundance on Dundreggan, and is shown here in the photographs in both larval and adult forms.
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