Somerset Wildlife Trust has launched the first ever Somerset State of Nature Report.

This comprehensive benchmark examines local landscapes, the abundance and distribution trends of species, and the pressures they face in the county

The landmark report unveils that species richness in Somerset has dramatically declined since 1990, with terrestrial insects suffering particularly.

Around 5.14 per cent of Somerset's grassland habitats have been lost, while butterfly distribution has seen a decrease of 874km2 over three decades.

Somerset County Gazette: Species richness in Somerset has dramatically declined since 1990, with terrestrial insects

The report further reveals significant declines in notable species such as lapwings, suggesting a reduction in suitable breeding habitats.

Simon Clarke, head of nature recovery, acknowledged that the pressures on Somerset's ecosystems align with nationwide trends.

He said: "The quality and connectedness of the very distinct and special habitats we have here in Somerset are both at risk of further decline and the ecosystem functions that provide us clean air and water are waning, and with them, populations of precious wildlife both rare and common."

However, Mr Clarke also suggested positive actionable steps.

He said: "What is vital now is that we are able to align quickly and work in partnership with all other nature stakeholders across the county and, with the support of a strong Local Nature Recovery Strategy, identify where we must place our collected efforts.

"The state of Somerset’s nature is for us all to own, and this new report provides us with a baseline; a reference point for the actions we take going forwards."

Supporting his views, Ellen Phillpot from Somerset Environmental Record Centre argued that informed decisions based on robust science and evidence are crucial for efficient nature restoration efforts.

Success stories highlighted within the report bear testament to the impact collaborative and focused landscape-scale efforts can have, like the return of beavers and increase in wading bird populations, such as great white egret and bittern in Somerset.

Kirby Everett, head of marketing communications, wrapped up with an encouraging nod to public involvement: "Making a contribution to the next Somerset State of Nature Report is something that each and every person can contribute to.

"Helping us fill the gaps in our knowledge by telling us what you see is so simple, yet so vital to direct the work that we do."

The full report, detailing Somerset's biodiversity and case studies is available at