A shocking 40% of our 1 million insect species are teetering on the brink, and human activities are to blame. From bats to hedgehogs, butterflies to bumblebees, iconic species of British wildlife could face extinction within a decade if action is not taken to halt their decline.
The ARC 2031 study unveils 10 precious native species most at risk of vanishing from our shores, for the most part, due to the industrialisation of food production and, with that, the excessive use of harmful pesticides.
Developed in partnership with Principal Curator of Natural Sciences, Jo Hatton, from the renowned Horniman Museum, the ARC 2031 research has been released to mark the first day of Organic September, a month-long celebration shining a spotlight on the significant benefits organic food and farming practices offer to increasing and protecting biodiversity.
The shocking ARC 2031 list is further evidence that, despite more people than ever showing interest in nature and the environment, we can all still do much more to protect wildlife – even on our own doorstep.
The list offers a stark reminder of what we stand to lose and includes some of the nation’s most beloved creatures – all of which could be pulled back from the brink if we make some small, and easy, changes. Simplest of all? Swapping a few products in our regular shop to organic means supporting those businesses, farmers and producers working with nature to protect our wildlife and biodiversity and care for our planet.
Organic means working with nature, not against it. Organic is designed to respect nature and takes a balanced approach, using natural methods to create and maintain healthy soils, take care of animals and support more wildlife, rather than the overuse of less natural interventions like pesticides which have contributed to the steep decline of our ARC 2031 species, edging them towards extinction.
As a result, organic farms are, on average, home to up to 50% more wildlife, and 30% more species. Choosing organic to protect our wildlife really is a no-brainer!
Here is the The ARC 2031 list of the 10 native species most at risk of extinction over the next 10 years:
|Species Name||UK Conservation Status||Benefits to our Ecosystem|
|1||Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)||UK Red list - Declined by 92% between 1970 and 2005||Grey Partridges help control insects and other invertebrate (animals with no backbone) crop pests. Nature’s pesticides!|
|2||Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)||UK Red list - Declined 89% between 1970 and 2003.||Corn Bunting are good pest controllers, managing their populations as they feed their young|
|3||Grey Long-eared Bat (Plecotus austriacus)||UK Red list - Endangered||Bats help control pests by eating insects, protecting crops from bugs.|
|4||Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)||UK Red list - Vulnerable||Hedgehogs control pests such as slugs and snails and are an important indicator species (they reflect the quality and changes in the environment) – meaning that their population declines can be used by scientists to identify drops in the quality of our environment.|
|5||Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)||2010 Butterfly Red list under increased threat||Adult butterflies (and moths) are important pollinators, and their caterpillars are vital sources of food for farmland birds.|
|6||Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)||2010 Butterfly Red list under increased threat||Adult butterflies (and moths) are important pollinators, and their caterpillars are vital sources of food for farmland birds.|
|7||Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)||Under increased threat||Wild bees are vital pollinators and are essential cornerstones of all agriculture. It would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion to pollinate their crops without bees.|
|8||Hoverfly (Cheilosia cynocephala)||UK Red list - Nationally scarce||Hoverflies act as both pollinators and pest controllers. The adult hoverfly feeds on nectar and pollen, and their larvae prey on insect pests including aphids.|
|9||Necklace Ground beetle (Carabus monilis)||UK Red list - Endangered||Ground beetles are important biological control agents and predate many invertebrates that feed on farm crops as well as consuming the seeds of many annual plants we consider to be weeds.|
|10||Hop flea beetle (Psylliodes attenuata)||UK Red list - Endangered||Leaf beetles are another essential pollinator; another species offering essential ‘free labour’ to the nation’s farmers.|