What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity includes all species of plants and animals, their habitats, and the complex ecosystems that sustain them. Plants and animals are essential to our lives. It is our responsibility and in our self-interest to look after biodiversity now and for future generations as biodiversity provides food, medicines, water, and even the oxygen in the air that we breathe. During the past 50 years, there has been an unprecedented rate of loss of wild plants and animals across the UK. If the pollution of the air, land and sea, and the destruction of habitats continue, people are ultimately the losers.
International and National Action
The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at the Earth Summit in 1992 and the UK was one of the first signatories to the Convention to produce a biodiversity strategy. 'Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan' outlines the broad strategy for conserving and enhancing biodiversity in the UK for a 20 year period.
Biodiversity in Hampshire
The Hampshire Biodiversity Partnership was set up to advance biodiversity conservation and enhancement and one of their first tasks was to produce The Biodiversity Action Plan. This Biodiversity Action Plan for Hampshire was produced in response to the resultant growing concern for biodiversity in the UK and throughout the world. Hampshire is one of the richest areas for wildlife in England; the county contains a landscape of remarkable contrasts and a diversity of habitats unparalleled in other parts of south-east England. However these are under threat from agriculture, development and climate change. The plan highlights the habitats, plants and animals that are particularly important in Hampshire and sets out individual action plans for different species and habitats including urban, ancient semi-natural woodland, shingle, road verges and marine habitats.