The State of Nature in the BCN Area

The State of Nature in the BCN Area

Ryan Clark

Ryan Clark updates on two exciting projects using vast amounts of data to reveal how wildlife is faring in our area -
a local State of Nature report and a database of all species recorded on our reserves

Back in November, I introduced two new exciting data-driven projects that the Monitoring and Research team are working on. Firstly, we were embarking on the first-ever State of Nature Report for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire area. Secondly, we were producing a database of all of the species recorded on our reserves. This blog post outlines the exciting progress we have been making.


State of Nature Report for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire

The State of Nature report is progressing well and are pulling together some really important insights into the wildlife of our three counties. With the help of county recorders, the local experts in each group, we are assessing which species should be listed as Local Species of Conservation Concern. This could be because a species is rare or declining locally or species for which our area holds important populations. This analysis will allow us to assess the threats facing these species and to highlight the special place that Beds, Cambs and Northants is.

The report will also give a brief tour of some of the important habitats that our area holds, the key species associated with them and the threats these habitats face. Another key finding of the report so far is the importance of Local Wildlife Sites. These special sites are essential for supporting species through the variety of habitats they hold. They are also vital components of a network of wildlife-rich sites, providing stepping stones for species to move throughout the landscape as the climate changes.

We still have space for more case studies in this report so please do get in touch if you have any suggestions. We would like this report to be a celebration of conservation that works, alongside highlighting the local state of nature.

Fly Orchid - Ryan Clark

In Bedfordshire, the Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera) is only known recently from a few scattered locations at the top a chalk escarpment towards the southern end of the county

Database of Species on Our Reserves

We will shortly be starting work on building our database of species recorded on reserves. This will be based on information held by the three Local Environmental Records Centres. This is really exciting and we enable us to streamline the process of feeding species data into the management plans for our reserves. It will also mean that for the first time we hope to be able to answer questions such as:

  • Which reserve has the most species recorded on it?
  • How many species have been recorded on our reserves a whole?
  • Where are the largest gaps in our knowledge?


Gathering more biological records

At the heart of both of these reports are biological records. These records tell us which species are found where and when and are incredibly useful for informing conservation. Our findings so far are highlighting the need for more wildlife data as for many species, we just do not know if they are rare or just under-recorded, let alone know how their populations are faring. Later this year we will be running an online training workshop on biological recording and how to make the most of your wildlife sightings. Keep an eye out on our Wildlife Training Workshops page to find our more and book your place. If safe and permitted to do so, we also hope to do some face-to-face events on some of our reserves later in the year to gather more information on these important sites.

Find out more about our Wildlife Training Workshops and book your place

We are really excited about these projects and hope you are too. They ensure that data is at the heart of our conservation work. These projects have been made possible thanks to a generous legacy from Hubert Bean which is helping the Trust to ensure that our three counties are a haven for wildlife. If you would like to know more about these projects or have any questions, please email

Aulacobaris picicornis - Ryan Clark

Aulacobaris picicornis is a beautifully shiny weevil species that is reliant on wild migonette. This nationally scarce species was photographed at our Totternhoe Knolls reserve. But how many beetle species have been recorded on our reserves? This project aims to find out.