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Sheffield State of Nature report highlights need to protect our stunning wildlife and wild spaces now more than ever

[lead]A new report – Sheffield State of Nature 2018 – has brought together a wealth of information on Sheffield’s many natural assets. As well as showcasing the city’s impressive array of natural habitats, the report highlights a pressing need to do more to protect local wildlife whilst recommending ways to achieve this.[/lead]

The report reveals that:

  • Over a third of Sheffield is covered by sites that are designated (i.e. protected to some extent), with the amount positively managed or in a favourable condition for wildlife consistently increasing. Over 100 Local Wildlife Sites, however, are still in need of better management.
  • An impressive 16% of Sheffield is wooded, far higher than the UK average of 10%, and over 90% of Sheffield’s residents have access to a large area of woodland within 4km of their home.
  • Sheffield’s woodland birds are doing well but farmland birds represent 4 of the 5 most severe declines in local bird species, mirroring a national trend.
  • 26 out of Sheffield’s 31 fish species have recolonised or been reintroduced to the city’s rivers and otters have returned to the Don, thanks to tireless efforts to improve its water quality.
  • There is a need to better understand how local wildlife and habitats are faring in the long term. Despite having a wealth of information, gaps in the data make it difficult for us to identify and report, with confidence, changes over time. Many areas of additional priority habitat are known but unmapped, and so unprotected, leaving them vulnerable to degradation.
  • Ongoing collaboration between local groups, landowners and land managers – as well as cementing the value of wildlife to the public – is key for the future protection of Sheffield’s wildlife and wild spaces.

The new Sheffield State of Nature 2018 report – the first of its kind and the exciting culmination of the two-year Nature Counts partnership project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund – represents the coming together of many organisations and individuals to show what we know – and don’t know – about Sheffield’s wildlife an