State of Nature report 2023

Author(s): Burns, F., Mordue, S., al Fulaij, N., Boersch-Supan, P.H., Boswell, J., Boyd, R.J., Bradfer-Lawrence, T., de Ornellas, P., de Palma, A., de Zylva, P., Dennis, E.B., Foster, S., Gilbert, G., Halliwell, L., Hawkins, K., Haysom, K.A., Holland, M.M., Hughes, J., Jackson, A.C., Mancini, F., Mathews, F., McQuatters-Gollop, A., Noble, D.G., O’Brien, D., Pescott, O.L., Purvis, A., Simkin, J., Smith, A., Stanbury, A.J., Villemot, J., Walker, K.J., Walton, P., Webb, T.J., Williams, J., Wilson, R. & Gregory, R.D.

Published: September 2023  

The State of Nature 2023 report documents how human impacts are driving sweeping changes in wildlife in the UK. As well as an overarching assessment of UK flora and fauna, there are separate reports for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to look at each country in more depth. The reports pool data and expertise from more than 60 nature conservation and research organisations, a partnership unparalleled in UK conservation.

The UK, like most other countries worldwide, has experienced a significant loss of biodiversity. The trends in nature presented in this report cover, at most, 50 years, but these follow on from major changes to the UK’s nature over previous centuries. As a result, the UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth.

The main causes of these declines are clear, as are many ways in which we can reduce impacts and help struggling species. The evidence from the last  50 years shows that on land and in freshwater, significant and ongoing changes in the way we manage our land for agriculture, and the effects of climate change, are having the biggest impacts on our wildlife. At sea, and around our coasts, the main pressures on nature are unsustainable fishing, climate change and marine development.

More broadly there has been growing recognition of the value of nature, including its role in tackling climate change, and the need for its conservation among the public and policymakers alike.

With each report our monitoring of change improves and we have never had a better understanding of the state of nature. Yet, despite progress in ecosystem restoration, conserving species, and moving towards nature-friendly land and sea use, the UK’s nature and wider environment continues, overall, to decline and degrade.

The UK has set ambitious targets to address nature loss through the Global Biodiversity Framework, and although our knowledge of how to do this is excellent, the size of the response and investment remains far from what is needed given the scale and pace of the crisis.

We have never had a better understanding of the State of Nature and what is needed to fix it.

The Full Report can be downloaded from the State of Nature website, as can reports for EnglandWalesScotland, and Northern Ireland.

The State of Nature 2023 report cover, showing an aerial view of arable farmland and an isolated hedgerow, by Chris O'Reilly / RSPB
Staff Author(s)

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