Archives for category: Biodiversity

Biodiversity data collected in Hastings is currently being prepared to be uploaded onto the NBN gateway so that it is publicly accessible. Until then some of the data and check lists for Hastings are available on the Hastings Biodiversity Data google site.

More datasets and check lists will gradually be added.

So what biodiversity projects are going on in Hastings at the moment?

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve Restoration Project

The largest and most significant project is the Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve restoration project. We are restoring heathland and coastal grassland, improving farmland for wildlife and have a busy schedule of biodiversity monitoring underway.

Marline Valley Nature Reserve and St Helens Park Nature Reserve Invertebrate Survey

The field work for the invertebrate survey of Marline Valley Nature Reserve and St Helens Park Nature Reserve has just been completed and the project report is currently in progress. This will give us valuable information on the invertebrate fauna of some of the best grassland in Hastings and some baseline data on the gill stream in Marline Wood.

Habitat Improvements within Alexandra Park

The Rangers have been undertaking work with Ian Standivan, local ornithological consultant, and a great team of volunteers to improve the Buckshole Reservoir catchment ponds for wildlife. A bird ringing study has also been started at Shornden Meadow with some subsequent habitat management to improve the meadow and pond edge scrub for birds.

Hastings Weald Landbird Migration Study

A Hastings Weald Landbird Migration Study is being coordinated by local naturalist Andrew Grace to put together some coordinated data on the bird migration that takes place in the skies over Hastings every autumn.

Climate change is now considered a bigger threat to the loss of biodiversity than habitat loss. It is not necessarily the case that if you create or enlarge habitat species will re-colonise as larger scale climatic factors can outweigh localised ecological factors such as population size, recruitment and habitat connectivity.

New research is trying to assess the conservation status of a species by climatic factors and not just ecological factors. A species maybe widespread and common but if it’s survival is confined by narrow climatic parameters such as a very narrow thermal or humidity range then it maybe at greater risk than a species with a fragmented distribution but one that encompasses a much wider climatic range.

This is a very interesting new perspective on assessing conservation status and can be developed locally to assess what species in Hastings may become rare or eventually become locally extinct and which species may colonise the Borough. It may also help us understand why in some cases even though we have created habitat the species that we expected to colonise have not colonised or grown in population.

Hastings is a great place for wildlife with 7 nature reserves, 3 SSSIs and a SAC and another nature reserve due to be declared soon. With all this land decorated with nature conservation designations as well as the towns wildlife rich parks and gardens and the marine wilderness of the English Channel bordering the Borough my job as the Hastings Nature Reserve Officer is very busy.

The changing climate and coastal location contribute to a very dynamic biodiversity within the Borough. New species are colonising, rare species are becoming common and common species becoming rare, the conservation of species and managing habitats is a complex and constantly changing task.

What does ‘Biodiversity’ mean?

Biodiversity literally means all life on earth but also eloquently includes in it’s meaning the complex interactions and dependancies between the planets lifeforms. Conversely to the words nature and wildlife, which make a distinction between humans and wild nature, biodiversity also includes human species in it’s meaning and therefore fully acknowledges the dependance on human survival of the other species we share our world with and the effect humans can have on the planet.