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Dr. Catalina Estrada

Project summary

Just a few months ago The WWF's Living Planet Report showed there has been an unprecedented 60% decline in global wildlife populations in our lifetime - 40 years. Yet, our existence and all economic activities depend on natural systems.  Although the most dramatic drops have been in tropical developing regions, declines in vertebrate populations in Europe reach an average of 31%.  Most of this lost can be attributed to habitat degradation or loss due to the pressure of urbanisation and consumption. As the authors of this report wrote: "we are the first generation that has a clear picture of the value of nature and our impact on it. We may be the last that can take action to reverse this trend".

Similar to most people that live in UK urban and suburban areas, the residents of Ascot and Sunninghill value the quality of life and property value that our surrounding green areas provide; clean air, tranquil environments, healthy gardens and many other ecosystem services.  This was recognised in the Parish Neighbourhood Plan, and so with the aim of retaining a viable reservoir of as wide a range of wild flora and fauna as possible, the Wildlife in Ascot group (WiA) identified the remaining natural areas that provide connectivity for wildlife across the villages. These 'Green Corridors' not only join several of the Parish Local Wildlife Sites and safeguard streams, but also connect three significant natural reserves namely The Great Park, Swinley Forest and Chobham Common, hence increasing the impact of any efforts on these sites to preserve and enhance their biodiversity. 

With the support of Sunninhill and Ascot Parish Council, WiA and Silwood Park are collaborating to describe the diversity of habitats and species that currently use the green corridors and create guidelines for management that would enhance their value for wildlife. The assessment of the habitat and species diversity along the green corridors will be achieved by the completion of diversity surveys of key groups of species and the collection of independent and opportunistic sighting records of wildlife.

 

Ascot&Sunnighill green corridors

April in Cascade Marsh, Silwood Park

Hollow tree in The Rookery, Silwood Park

Bluebells in Nash's Copse, Silwood Park

Woodland stream at Sunninghill Park