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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Green plan for suffering wildlife
A dormouse asleep
Milder winters are affecting the hibernation patterns of dormice
Grass-covered bridges could be placed across motorways to help the survival of wildlife.

Wildlife trusts are planning a network of green spaces linking existing habitats, so certain species can travel to join larger groups of their kind.

Animals such as dormice suffer the effects of climate change as warmer winters affect their hibernation.

Richard Moyse, from Kent Wildlife Trust, said the planned strategy would be released later in the year.

Mr Moyse, head of conservation and policy at the trust, told the BBC News website the idea came from Holland where a network was in use which included "green" bridges covered with undergrowth and placed across motorways.

The impact of climate change on small nature reserves can be quite intense
Richard Moyse

"Because wildlife habitats are isolated in our agricultural landscape, species have too much land to cross. We want to create corridors and stepping stones through the landscape so species can shift."

He said the idea was specifically designed to help land creatures, with reptiles, mammals and insects all suffering from the effects of climate change, and would take years to complete.

Areas such as wetland, wildflower meadows and hedgerows take decades to develop.

Silver-spotted skipper
The plans would help the silver-spotted skipper (Image: Jim Ash)

Mr Moyse said mild winters can be beneficial for birds, but they are detrimental to the welfare of hibernating animals like dormice.

"Warm weather in winter speeds up their metabolism and they die because it uses up their energy... the impact of climate change on small nature reserves can be quite intense."

'Generous benefactors'

Wildlife trusts also intend to expand existing nature reserves, which would help insects such as butterflies.

South-facing reserves would need to have an area which was north-facing if summers became too hot for butterflies, said Mr Moyse.

Butterflies which thrive on chalk land would also be catered for, with more reserves containing chalk grass created to allow species such as the adonis blue and silver-spotted skipper to move around.

Howard Park, Wildlife Trusts spokesman, said land would be bought to create the "green corridors" but he also hoped there would be generous benefactors.




SEE ALSO
Successful summer for large blue
28 Sep 06 |  Science/Nature

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