A radio tracking survey in the Park revealed a fourth maternity roost for Bechstein’s bat and a record count of 64 bats in one roost.
The Bechstein’s is one of the UK’s rarest bat species and in 2005 experts had only discovered six breeding populations. Intensive research and survey work by experts is improving our knowledge of the species and revealing the importance of high-quality old woodland habitats such as those found in the New Forest.
A new roosting site for grey long-eared bats was also discovered this year. Past estimates of population have shown as few as 10,000 individuals in the UK.
Supported by the New Forest National Park Authority and funded by public donations to the Natural History Museum, a team has started collating a New Forest inventory of the area’s wildlife and environment.
This will provide a snapshot in time of the New Forest against which changes over the next 10 years can be mapped.
The New Forest is one of the most important areas for wildlife in the UK as it is home to a wide range of species and habitats including New Forest ponies who roam the ancient woodlands and heathlands as part of a traditional commoning system. Yet there are still huge gaps in our knowledge about the species that can be found here and how widespread they are.
In the summer of 2009 a three-year £35,000 project began to fight the invasion of the forest by non-native species.
Many invasive species were introduced to the UK as ornamental plants for gardens or, in the case of New Zealand pygmyweed, as an oxygenator in garden ponds. However many have now jumped the garden fence and invaded our countryside. They grow vigorously, spread rapidly and elbow-out our native wildflowers which provide important food and nectar for invertebrates.
Non-native species being tackled under the scheme include:
This service was established in February 2010 to promote biodiversity and provide:
To date 173 customers have asked for and received advice from the service.
The New Forest is home to: