Chair's Introduction

Welcome to the Spring 2011 edition of Nature News. I’m delighted to report that Peter Bridgewater, Chair, JNCC © JNCCthe St Helena Millennium Forest Project has been presented with JNCC’s Blue Turtle Award for nature conservation in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. As one of the judges, I want to congratulate all involved with this innovative and community-based project, which provides important lessons for the management of our forests globally.


As the last issue was released, I was attending the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya. At the conference JNCC joined the Consortium of Scientific Partners to the CBD - an event which was especially significant for the organisation. JNCC is in good company here, working alongside some of the world's leading scientific institutes to help consolidate the scientific base of the CBD. The Nagoya meeting established a new set of targets for biodiversity and ecosystem services to be achieved by 2020, and good science will play a crucial role in helping the UK and other countries to meet these targets. Also since the last edition the UNGA and UNEP's Governing Council endorsed the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services. This new body, to have its first meeting later in the year, will be an important element in the science support for CBD policy decisions - and JNCC is ready to help how we can.


In this issue we highlight Green Infrastructure (GI) – a strategically planned and interconnected network of high quality green spaces which provide social, economic and environmental benefits close to where people live and work. JNCC is advising the UK Government on European policy developments in this area. We have undertaken detailed assessments of several GI strategies to help us to understand what GI might have to offer in future planning. This is also on the international agenda of the CBD, through the Programmes of work on protected areas. A very good technical report was issued by the CBD in 2010 entitled Making Protected Areas Relevant, which is available at the CBD website.


In spite of the reductions all public bodies must face, I’m pleased to report that Defra has provided JNCC with a significant increase to our marine funding for the forthcoming financial year. This will support Government priorities such as the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the identification of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).  A recent development in our marine work is the launch of a UK Marine Protected Area interactive map, which I encourage you to visit.


JNCC is committed to making biodiversity data more available and of the highest quality - to this end we're working alongside partner organisations to make species data more accessible. Flowering plants and ferns are the most recent group for which this resource has been developed through the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora, produced by the Biological Records Centre (BRC) and the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI). This work, partially funded by JNCC, is part of the BRC's work to support the many schemes and societies that record data on the UK's wildlife.


Although the issues in this edition seem very different they all in a way interact, and certainly all reflect the way JNCC is helping to build the evidence base for sound conservation decisions across the UK. I hope you enjoy this issue, and please feel free to contact the relevant project managers about our featured work.


Peter Bridgewater, Chairman, JNCC



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