England’s rarest wildlife species

This video says about itself:

Cutting edge techniques and seabed mapping data provided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been used to create a three dimensional model of the North West’s undersea grand canyon, helping to identify its special habitats that are vital for marine life and explore the mysterious landscape which exists underwater off the Lancashire Coast as never before! The Lune Deep is a relic from the last Ice Age, a natural channel scoured into Morecambe Bay by melting glaciers over 20,000 years ago, as long as a half-marathon and at points as deep as Nelsons column. Due to the depth, turbulent currents and muddy water, it has been previously impossible to see what the Lune Deep looks like. The film shows the rocky reefs, cliffs and steep slopes of boulders tumbling down to the bottom of the channel and the home these provide for weird and wonderful creatures such as squat lobsters, dead mans fingers and the peacock worm.

The Lune Deep is an important feature of our coastal heritage, and this film provides a fantastic opportunity for the public to be able to explore it with us. Natural England will be proposing the site as a Special Area of Conservation to the UK Government as part of the Marine Protected Area network later on this year.

From Wildlife Extra:

Last refuges of England’s rarest species revealed

15/02/2011 12:38:29

SSSIs are havens for UK’s threatened wildlife

Ten of the most important wildlife sites in the country, the last refuges of some of our rarest species, have been disclosed by Natural England. They range from romantic islands and royal parks to ancient fenland and spectacular dales.

All are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the best examples of wildlife and geology that Britain can offer. The list is published alongside a new report by Natural England – Protecting England’s Natural Treasures – which details how the hard work of landowners, farmers and volunteers has transformed the fortunes of England’s SSSIs, halting or reversing the long process of decline suffered by most over recent decades.

Without these wildlife havens a number of fragile species clinging to survival would disappear from the UK and some would become globally extinct.

* The Durham Dales harbour survivors of the Ice Age. Upper Teesdale SSSI is something of a botanical time capsule where the Teesdale rock-rose and Teesdale sandwort have existed in splendid isolation for 12,000 years.
* Rarer still is the Derbyshire feather-moss. An aquatic profusion of green, just one square metre of it exists in the world at a secret location in Cressbrook Dale SSSI.
* The Sussex emerald moth‘s last toehold in Britain is in Kent, where its larvae can be found on Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SSSI. Equally threatened is another moth – the reddish buff moth – which is confined to a single site on an SSSI on the Isle of Wight.
* Avon Gorge is home to two trees that grow nowhere else on Earth – the Bristol whitebeam and Wilmott’s whitebeam – while an undisclosed location in Norfolk has a colony of pool frogs reintroduced in 2005 after the species died out in Britain in the 1990s.
* The most elusive arachnid in Britain – the ladybird spider – is so rare that it is found in just one SSSI in Dorset, although a recent reintroduction programme is attempting to safeguard its future. The queen’s executioner beetle, named in a Natural England competition last year, only lives in Windsor Forest and Great Park SSSI. Similarly, the Lindisfarne helleborine is an orchid growing solely on the historic island.
* Rather more prosaic is the fen ragwort and its unprepossessing surroundings. Cousin of the common ragwort, the native fen variety in England is limited to a drain in Cambridgeshire. It had been extinct for more than a century but burst back into life in the 1960s when the ditch was dug, exposing dormant seeds in the peat.

Government announces panel to decide the fate of UK forests: here.

Britain: Cuts will destroy rarest habitats in Britain, warn conservationists: here.

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