We need to do much more to ensure our National Parks are packed full of wildlife

Dr Jo Smith is the chief executive of Derbyshire Wildllife Trust and a member of our council. She blogs about the need to make sure our National Parks are packed full of wildlife.

I feel very lucky to live near the Peak District National Park. We visit regularly, and especially when I need to relax or re-energise. The feeling you get when you are in relative wilderness surrounded by nature and wildlife is unbeatable.

And I am not the only one – the Big Conversation about National Parks run last year by Campaign for National Parks demonstrated that wildlife is one of the top priorities for people and one of the top reasons people visit and love our National Parks.

BUT we need to do much more to ensure our National Parks are packed full of wildlife.

Why? Well – it’s simple. Our wildlife is struggling – just look at the latest State of Nature report. The report reveals that over half (56 per cent) of UK species studied have declined since 1970, while 15 per cent are under threat of disappearing altogether. We have lost grassland habitat equivalent to 1.5 times the size of Wales, and our kids no longer recognise a simple buttercup.

The report makes for a grim read, but it won’t help wildlife to dwell on the negatives. For me there are two clear positives.

Firstly, it is important to celebrate the thousands of dedicated and expert volunteers, who have gathered the data that makes up this report. The people who care about wildlife, REALLY care about wildlife. But we need to reconnect more people to that deep rooted love for nature. Secondly, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are many inspiring examples of conservation actions that are making a big difference. The report clearly demonstrates how, when we work together, we can achieve great things.

National Parks have a key role to play in improving the state of nature. Wildlife rich National Parks are essential not only for nature but for countless rural communities whose economic well-being depend on the goods and services provided by a sustainable, functioning natural environment which also provides communities with clean drinking water and flood protection.

It’s now time for renewed collective energy and action to improve the role our National Parks play in ensuring our wildlife populations recover and flourish.

Find out about Campaign for National Parks work to make National Parks more beautiful here.

Please note, the opinions expressed in all our blogs are of the author, and not endorsed by Campaign for National Parks. We are hosting blogs on a variety of subjects to provoke thought and discussion about National Parks.