Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
JNCC is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and
international nature conservation. Its work contributes to
maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving
geological features and sustaining natural systems. JNCC delivers
the UK and international responsibilities of the four country
nature conservation agencies - Council for Nature
Conservation and the Countryside, the Countryside Council for
Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural
JNCC launches Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies
Nature Conservation Award. There are many examples of incredible
work being done to conserve biodiversity in the Overseas
Territories and Crown Dependencies by the local populations.
Most of this work is carried out without any blaze of publicity to
show others what is possible. JNCC wants to help address
this. We are launching an annual award for nature
conservation work undertaken by an individual, or group of
individuals from an Overseas Territory or Crown Dependency, who
have made a valuable contribution to nature conservation in their
area. it is known as the 'Blue Turtle Award'.
Marine scientists from JNCC and their project partners have
just discovered new deep-water coral reefs in UK waters. The reefs,
consisting of dense colonies of the cold-water coral species
Lophelia pertusa, contained a huge diversity of marine
life, including gorgonians, anemones, seastars and fish.
One of our flagship publications, it details our project work
across a variety of subject areas, as well as containing our full
accounts for the year. Read it online or request your own
A supplement to the SSSI Selection Guidelines has recently been
published dealing with the distinctive assemblages of fungi
associated with certain unimproved and semi-improved grasslands.
These types of fungus-rich grasslands are commonly known as
‘waxcap grasslands’ after their most colourful and noticeable
constituents – the waxcap fungi of the genus Hygrocybe.
They can be found in both upland and lowland situations, but
the best examples usually occur where management has been
traditional, with no recent ploughing, re-seeding or applications
of inorganic fertilisers. Their significance has only started to
be recognised in recent years, and there have been huge losses of
this type of habitat, especially in Europe.
Conservation action in the UK has been impeded by the lack of
suitable SSSI selection guidelines - often these grasslands are
quite poor in flowering plants and would not qualify for SSSI
selection on the basis of their botanical composition alone. To
remedy this situation the Country Agency Chief Scientists asked the
Inter-Agency Plant Conservation Working Group (PCWG) to produce
supplementary SSSI guidelines. The task was undertaken by a small
working group consisting of David Genney (Scottish Natural
Heritage), Alan Hale (Countryside Council for Wales) and Mark
Wright (Department of Environment Northern Ireland). Ray Woods from
Plantlife also had significant input, and the wider mycological
community were consulted.
The UK is of international importance for waxcap grasslands: the
publication of these supplementary guidelines should facilitate the
protection the best remaining sites.
It is twenty years since the last International Rivers
conference in the UK, which set the agenda for much progress. The
2010 conference is a chance to set a dynamic new agenda for the
The JNCC publication UK Seabirds in 2008, just
published, shows that the total number of seabirds breeding in the
UK has declined by around 600k or 9% since 2000 following an
increase during the 1970s, 80s and early 1990s. Not all species
have declined, but those showing the steepest declines since the
mid 1990s are those that feed on small shoaling fish such as
sandeels. Seabird breeding success and over-winter survival has
been lowered by a shortage of food, caused by climate driven
changes to the food chain. These impacts are likely to worsen as
the UK’s seas continue to warm up. In mitigation, it is possible to
reduce other substantial pressures from fishing and from
Nature conservation has always been a global concern,
but until 20 May 2009 there has been no determined effort to
share information between the UK-based practitioners and
contributors to the various conservation Conventions. In late
2008, several Conventions met and reflected on the current global
conservation crisis. The UK contributed actively to all these
On 20 May 2009, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
hosted a conference in London called “Global Biodiversity
Mechanisms”, to put plans in place following recent
decisions from these Conventions.
The conference also hosted the launch of The
Wader Atlas, published by Wetlands International.
Waders are relatively small waterbirds, including species like
lapwings, plovers, godwits, curlews and sandpipers.