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New survey in Tracking Mammals Partnership 2007 update


The wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) is one of our most common and widespread native mammals. It is an important prey species and potential indicator of environmental change, and is included in the small mammals pilot survey. © naturepl.com
The Tracking Mammals Partnership (TMP), an initiative coordinated by JNCC to provide population trends and distribution information for UK mammals, is entering its fifth year. The TMP continued to grow in 2006 with 25 organisations now participating. The newest member is Defence Estates, the land management agency for the Ministry of Defence, one of the largest land owning bodies in the UK.  Defence Estates has about 170 conservation groups actively contributing to national schemes in support of their Biodiversity Action Plan, so they are a very welcome addition to the TMP.
The TMP website, hosted by JNCC, experienced a major update in 2006 with the addition of new reports on individual schemes, information on surveys and volunteer participation and a summary results page.  A 2007 update on surveys will be published shortly.
The TMP continues to provide widespread coverage of more than 50% of terrestrial mammals, and to enhance species coverage where possible.  JNCC, in partnership with The Mammal Society, is trialling a two-year small mammal surveillance pilot, which could deliver trend information for up to 14 species of shrews, voles and mice. Small mammals have potential to act as indicators of environmental pressures and surveillance of this group would enhance the new JNCC strategy for surveillance, reporting and research. We are also continuing to support surveillance of species of conservation concern and await the recommendations of a two-year pilot assessing the best structure and methods for a UK red squirrel surveillance scheme.
Other schemes continue to deliver good data on a range of species. We are not detecting any dramatic changes at present, but building a comprehensive picture of mammal population changes over time. With the increasing body of data from mammals, in conjunction with other species and potentially habitat surveillance we will be in a good position to not only say what is happening to biodiversity, but to begin to explain why changes might be occurring.
TMP results have been very useful in informing other areas of work in 2006, contributing greatly to decisions on which mammals are conservation priorities in the extensive UK Biodiversity Action Plan priorities review and informing the reporting on conservation status of European protected species.
For further information www.trackingmammals.org
Contact file:
Jessa Battersby
Tracking Mammals Coordinator/ Species Adviser
Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866808