Surveying and monitoring of species increases understanding of what happens when a habitat changes. An example is woodland being cleared and surveying allows us to monitor the affect of the changes on birds, animals and plant populations that are present. Over the next few years regular surveying of habitats and species populations will be undertaken to guide future conservation management decisions, with great crested newts and butterflies being recorded to name just a few species.
It is of great importance that we share information on the species surveyed to help gain a wider understanding of plant and animal trends across the UK. For this reason all information gathered from surveying and monitoring undertaken by the rangers is submitted to the National Biodiversity Network using the Greenspace Information for Greater London
Great crested newts
Great crested newts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Habitat Regulations 1994 and it is an offence to handle, disturb or kill the species or population without permission from Natural England. Some rangers are trained to undertake great crested newt surveys and there are several ponds in the borough that contain great crested newts. All records are then sent to the London, Essex and Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Trust (LEHART). Great crested newts are a UK BAP species.
We have a number of volunteers who undertake the UK Butterfly monitoring scheme at Horsenden Hill, which involves walking a transect once a week from the first of April through to the end of September. All records are then sent to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.
The monitoring of butterfly populations is important because they are excellent environmental indicators. This means they can be used to measure changes in the areas where they are recorded. Butterflies have short life cycles and rely on certain plants for food therefore populations can react quickly to changes in climate and changes in their habitat.
Monitoring butterfly distribution across the UK over long periods provides vital information relating to butterfly conservation and population changes as well as the overall biodiversity status in the UK.