Periodic comprehensive overviews of the status of the diverse organisms that make up wildlife are essential to determining trends, threats and future prospects. Just over 25 years ago, leading authorities on different kinds of wildlife came together to prepare an assessment of their status of a wide range of organisms in Great Britain and Ireland in The Changing Flora and Fauna of Britain, also edited by Professor David L. Hawksworth CBE. Now, in The Changing Wildlife of Great Britain and Ireland, he has gathered together some of the original and also new contributors to review changes since that time and look to the future. Contributions range from viruses, diatoms, fungi, lichens, mites and nematodes; through butterflies, dragonflies, flies and slugs; to flowering plants, ferns, mammals, birds and fish. The state of knowledge in different groups is assessed, and the effectiveness of statutory and other measures taken to safeguard wildlife considered.
The picture is far from bleak, ameliorating sulphur dioxide levels have benefited sensitive lichens and mosses in a dramatic way, water quality improvement has been beneficial, there have been few certain extinctions and rediscoveries of species thought to have been lost. Biodiversity Action Plans have also benefited targeted species, but habitat restoration and management for some is not always good for others.
But there are worrying trends in declining populations, with an increasing number being regarded as threatened or endangered, especially in agricultural areas, and where woodland management has changed, particular threats from introduced species, and concern over the effects of climate change. Some of the smaller organisms remain poorly known, a situation unlikely to change as expertise in many is scant or being lost. This stock-check and look to the future will be a key source book to conservationists, naturalists, and professional biologists for many years to come.
1. Fifty Years of Statutory Nature Conservation in Great Britain Earl of Cranbrook 2. Flowering Plants Timothy C.G. Rich 3. Ferns and Allied Plants Christopher N. Page 4. Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts Anthony J.E. Smith 5. Larger Fungi Roy Watling 6. Microscopic Fungi Paul F. Cannon, Paul M. Kirk, Jerry A. Cooper and David L. Hawksworth 7. Lichens Brian J. Coppins, David L. Hawksworth and Francis Rose 8. Terrestrial and Freshwater Eukaryotic Algae David M. John, Allan Pentecost and Brian A. Whitton 9. Cyanobacteria (Blue Green Algae) Brian A. Whitton and S.J. Brierley 10. Diatoms Elizabeth Y. Haworth 11. Viruses Roger T. Plumb and J. Ian Cooper 12. Protozoa Bland J. Finlay 13. Freshwater Invertebrates John F. Wright and Patrick D. Armitage 14. Nematodes Brian Boag and David J. Hunt 15. Mites and Ticks Anne S. Baker 16. Flies Alan E. Stubbs 17. True Bugs, Leaf- and Planthoppers, and their Allies Peter Kirby, Alan J.A. Stewart and Michael R. Wilson 18. Butterflies and Moths Richard Fox 19. Grasshoppers, Crickets and Allied Insects Judith A. Marshall 20. Dragonflies and Damselflies Stephen J. Brooks 21. Land Slugs and Snails Robert A.D. Cameron and Ian J. Killeen 22. Birds David W. Gibbons and Mark I. Avery 23. Mammals Gordon B. Corbet and D.W. Yalden 24. Fishes Alwyne Wheeler 25. Tracking Future Trends: the Biodiversity Information Network Keith Porter 26. Prospects for the next 25 Years David L. Hawksworth and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff, UK, Chris N. Page, Formerly of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK, Anthony J. E. Smith, University of Wales, Bangor, UK, Roy Watling, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK, Brian J. Coppins, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK, David L. Hawksworth CBE, MycoNova, London, UK, Francis Rose, Elizabeth Haworth, Freshwater Biological Association, Ambleside, UK, Roger T. Plumb, IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden, UK, J. Ian Cooper, CABI Bioscience UK Centre, Egham, UK, Bland J. Finlay, Institute of Freshwater Ecology, Ambleside, UK, John Wright, The Institute of Freshwater Ecology, Wareham, UK, Patrick Armitage, The Institute of Freshwater Ecology, Wareham, Brian Boag, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, UK, David J. Hunt, CABI Bioscience, Egham, UK, Ann Baker, The Natural History Museum, London, UK, Alan Stubbs, Michael R. Wilson, National Museum and Gallery Cardiff, UK, Allan J. A. Stewart, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, Peter Kirby, Richard Fox, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Wareham, UK, Judith Marshall, The Natural History Museum, London, UK, Stephen J. Brooks, The Natural History Museum, London, UK, Robert A. Cameron, University of Sheffield, UK, Ian J. Killeen, Malacological Services, Felixstowe, UK, David W. Gibbons, The Institute of Freshwater Ecology, UK, Mark Avery, The Institute of Freshwater Ecology, Wareham, UK, Gordon. B. Corbett, University of Manchester, UK, Derek W. Yalden, University of Manchester, UK, Alwynne Wheeler, The Natural History Museum, London, UK, Keith Porter, English Nature, Peterborough, UK, Brian Whitton, University of Durham, UK, S.J. Brierly, Environment Agency, Leeds, UK, Paul Cannon, CABI Bioscience UK, Paul Kirk, CABI Bioscience UK, Jerry Cooper, CABI Bioscience UK, David John, The Natural Museum, London, UK, Alan Pentecost, Kings College London, UK