Chairman's Introduction

With our strong focus on biodiversity, it is sometimes forgotten that JNCC also has an important role in conserving geological diversity. I am pleased that we have recently taken opportunities to reinforce our involvement with the earth sciences.


At our June meeting in Northern Ireland, for example, not only were we able to get to know more of theHumpback whale©J.B.Reid Environment and Heritage Service staff and their work, but also to visit four key geological /geomorphological sites on the North Antrim coast: Binevagh Cliffs SAC, Magilligan Point NNR/SAC, Portrush NNR and the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site (SAC/NNR/ASSI).
Still on the earth science theme, since the last issue of Nature News, the JNCC has appointed two new committee members. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Professor Peter Doyle who has diverse research interests within the broad field of geology and earth history, and Professor Robert Dodgshon, who has considerable experience of teaching and researching the long-term human impact on environments and landscapes. We are fortunate to secure the appointments of two such respected academics.
This sixth edition of Nature News highlights many of the partnerships JNCC is currently involved in, both nationally and internationally, and the areas of work where we are making a unique and special contribution to nature conservation. For example:
JNCC representatives participated in a conference on conservation in the UK Overseas Territories held on Bermuda, while participating in the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) has given us a chance to extend our seabird expertise to an international stage.
The Tracking Mammals Partnership has now been formed with JNCC leading 23 organisations in a coordinated approach to surveying all mammal species throughout the UK. A 'Declaration of Intent' has been signed by all involved and a new website created to provide a focal point for enquiries and information
JNCC committee members©Deryck Steer/JNCCThe JNCC's Seabirds and Cetaceans Team have been involved in an eagerly awaited publication which maps dispersion patterns of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the seas around the UK.
We are delighted that David Stroud, Senior Ornithologist has been chosen to participate as a full member of the Ramsar Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel for the triennium 2003-2005.
JNCC advises Government on a wide range of nature conservation issues and is developing a new long term strategy. Consultation is about to start on this strategy, with meetings being arranged with our member agencies and government departments. Wider debate will take place in the autumn.
Katharine Bryan