Our native species are at risk - here's how to help

British wildlife is at more threat than ever before. Here's what's happening, and how you can play your part.

The RSPB’s latest State of Nature report brings together information from over 60 researchers and conservation organisations, and gives us the most up-to-date and accurate picture of how our native wildlife is doing.

Sadly, the findings make it very clear that the nature we love is in crisis.


How British wildlife is suffering

Almost 1,500 species in Great Britain are now at risk of being lost completely, with an average decline of 19% since 1970, making the UK one of the most nature-depleted places in the world. With such a vibrant range of native wildlife species and habitats, it’s devastating to consider that we might lose these forever.

Invertebrate species are found in 13% fewer places now than in 1970, with strong declines in insect groups with important roles, like bees and hoverflies.

More than half of the plants in Great Britain have been lost from areas where they used to thrive, and only one in seven (14%) of the UK’s important habitats for wildlife were found to be in good condition. Farmland bird species in the UK have fallen by more than a half since 1970.

Why is our nature in decline?

Changes in the way we manage our land for farming, along with the wider impacts of climate change, are widely cited as being the biggest causes of wildlife decline across our land, rivers and lakes.

At sea and around our coasts, unsustainable fishing, climate change and marine development are harming wildlife and the marine ecosystem.

The UK’s nature has been depleted by centuries of habitat loss, development and persecution, well before widespread data gathering began in 1970.

We’re building more houses, roads and towns than ever before, and all of this takes away vital habitats from the nature that makes our country so special.

What can we do to help?

The State of Nature report does offer hope, by showing us that when we take action to protect and restore nature, it works. 

Great examples of this include increasing the number of species in the Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area by banning trawling in 2008, expanding Natterjack Toad populations through conservation management, and benefitting woodland species through large-scale restoration projects like Cairngorms Connect.

You can help, too - to combat the decline in nature, you can donate, campaign or volunteer your time for great organisations like RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts, as well as plenty of smaller conservation groups who rely on local support to keep going.

Creating a space for nature allows native species to find a safe home; we love this guide from National Trust on how to build a wildlife-friendly garden, as well as these tips on how to encourage more bats and bees into your green space.

Lastly, spreading the word about the findings of the report, and why we need to prioritise nature and our natural habitats, will help more people to understand how at risk our wildlife is.