Strategy for Nature ‘needs substantial financial support’

PROTECTING our natural and native environment is essential in Guernsey to support biodiversity.

Guernsey Conservation Volunteers group coordinator Angela Salmon. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28973368)
Guernsey Conservation Volunteers group coordinator Angela Salmon. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28973368)

Prime minister Boris Johnson said the UK’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution would mobilise £12bn of government investment, with possibly three times more from the private sector, to create 250,000 jobs.

It includes the aim of protecting 30% of England’s countryside by 2030 and increasing UK tree planting to 30,000 hectares of trees yearly by 2025.

‘Protecting and restoring the natural environment is essential in Guernsey too,’ said Angela Salmon, Guernsey Conservation Volunteers group coordinator.

Guernsey’s 2020 Strategy for Nature aims to build and manage long-term resilience.

‘For the strategy to be successful it needs substantial funding to support it.

‘There needs to be financial support for action to happen; we need boots on the ground rather than just words on the page.’

Invasive non-native species, such as sour fig, are a threat to on-island habitat loss and need a concerted effort to remove them.

Sour fig presence increased by 123% between 2010 and the 2018 Habitat Survey for Guernsey.

‘We do not want the next survey to state that it has increased further and more habitats have been lost, we must not sit back and watch this happen, said Ms Salmon. ‘The time to act is now, but the financial backing needs to be available to support the necessary action.’

Education on native tree and hedging species should be prioritised, she said, as non-native species do not support wildlife.

‘Species such as English oak, elder, ash, hawthorn and blackthorn should be considered to enhance and support biodiversity.’

Removing plastic tree guards in a timely manner too is vital in tree after-care to avoid further plastic pollution.

Responsibility is not just on the States of Guernsey to protect and restore the island’s natural environment.

‘Every individual can play their part.’

How to manage natural space

. Plant native flowers to support pollinating insects.

. Plant native trees or hedging.

. Cut and manage hedge banks carefully rather than scalping to bare soil.

. Avoid pesticides and herbicides.

. Leave some or all of your garden untidy – fallen autumn leaves provide homes for small insects and food for birds.

. Avoid artificial turf.

. Provide water or a pond for wildlife.

For those without their own outdoor space, you can help maintain and enhance Guernsey’s environment with regular GCV work parties.

. Visit: gcv.org.uk for more information.

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