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The Biodiversity Action Plan

What is biodiversity?

Otter looking on from rocks

Biodiversity means the variety of living organisms or "biological diversity". The natural diversity of plants and animals on the planet is increasingly under threat, largely as a result of the actions of man. Human activities are changing or destroying habitats and this obviously affects the species that depend upon them for food and shelter. Over the latter part of the last century, there was a rise in the level of concern and recognition that biodiversity should be treated as a global resource that should be protected and conserved.

But conserving biodiversity is not just about rare or threatened species like the rhino or panda. It is about retaining the rich variety of life in any one particular area, however small or large. This can be best achieved through protection and conservation of existing natural habitats and species. Sometimes, this can be complemented through the restoration/re-creation of habitats and re-introduction of species that have been lost.

What is The National Forest Biodiversity Action Plan?

Biodiversity Plan

At the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the UK signed the Convention on Biological Diversity. This committed us to take action to protect biodiversity and work to reverse the decline in our species and habitats. In the UK this is delivered through Biodiversity Action Plans (or BAPs), which are "strategies" or "handbooks" to focus nature conservation work. They set out what needs to be done, who is responsible for these actions and set targets to be achieved.

BAPs exist on a number of levels:

  • the UK BAP addresses national priorities and targets;
  • the three counties that cover The National Forest each have their own Local Biodiversity Action Plan (or LBAP) that address action on a more localised level; and
  • the National Forest BAP guides our actions within the Forest and contributes to the three county LBAPS.

Launched in 1998, The National Forest BAP was one of the first LBAPs to be produced. At the time, the National Forest BAP was unique, as it was the first BAP to be prepared for an area which already had its own intrinsic conservation interest but which was also creating a major new landscape and adding a whole new layer of conservation opportunities. This 1st edition of the BAP (and the subsequent editions) was produced by the National Forest Company with the support of the partner organisations that make up its Nature Conservation Working Group.