Somerset State of Nature Report paints mixed picture


The Somerset State of Nature Report 2023 has revealed mixed fortunes for the county's wildlife with many species in decline – although some, including certain waterbirds, are thriving.

The report – the first of its kind published by Somerset Wildlife Trust – showed that butterfly numbers were crashing in the county, chiefly due to habitat loss.  According to report, the reduction in grassland sites is a key factor.

Some species, such as Western Cattle Egret, are thriving in Somerset (James Gibbs).

However, some species were doing well, including wetland birds, which are benefiting from the creation of reserves and the extension of reedbeds. Among them are Great and Western Cattle Egrets – the former having a bumper 2023 in Somerset – as well as Western Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit.

Simon Clarke from Somerset Wildlife Trust said: "[The report] tells us what we already know. The ecosystem functions that provide us clean air and water are waning, and with them, populations of precious wildlife.

"The state of Somerset's nature is for us all to own, and this new report provides us with a baseline; a reference point for the actions we take going forwards."