Wildlife in London churchyards: awareness and reality, diversity and distribution

The greenspaces of urban churchyards are home to a surprising diversity of lichens, wildflowers and animals. Emily Castel, Alison Fairbrass, Ishpi Blatchley and Brian Cuthbertson describe efforts to survey the flora and fauna of London churchyards, and explain why these areas provide important refuges for our urban wildlife. Old St Pancras (not to be confused


Despite covering only one acre, the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Garden is a remarkable place. Its blend of carefully-managed habitats sits on the doorstep of leading experts in a variety of taxonomic groups, and as a result its wildlife has been the focus of an unprecedented level of recording. However, there is an ongoing battle

Living with mammals: an urban study

A 12-year study has cast new light upon mammal population trends in urban areas, demonstrating the important role that citizen-science monitoring can play. Most of us live in urban landscapes. The word ‘urban’ is variously defined in different countries, but typically it refers to population centres with more than 2,000 inhabitants (UN 2014). 

Why must your garden go?

With the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Garden under threat, the author makes a plea for its preservation. In a corner of the grounds of London’s Natural History Museum is a wildlife garden. You may not notice it, unless you step outside for a break, and it has to be said that the museum does not

Caring for God’s Acre

The estimated number of churchyards and chapel yards in the UK stands at more than 20,000, and the average ground coverage of each works out at about one acre (0.4 hectares). The result is approximately 8,000 hectares of green space: a substantial opportunity for nature conservation. When the Living Churchyard and Cemetery Project (LCCP) was

A garden for all reasons

The complexities of nature are almost beyond belief. The life cycles of the cynipid gall wasps with agamic (non-sexual) generations and different hosts strain conventional understanding. 

Rural gardens, allotments and biodiversity

There have been few studies of wildlife in ordinary gardens, despite the large area they occupy in aggregate. Most have not employed random samples, making it diffcult to generalise the findings, with the exception of the Sheffield study, which provided many interesting results (Gaston et al. 2004).

Are gardens good for birds or birdwatchers?

Private gardens occupy just 10% of the available land area within the United Kingdom (Cannon 2005) and, for this reason, have been considered by some to be a minor and relatively unimportant habitat for wildlife. 

The ‘global fungal weeds‘: the toadstools of wood-chip beds

It was clear that something funny was going on when Peter Shaw, lecturer in environmental biology at the University of Surrey, passed a roadside planting scheme near Leatherhead. As he waited in the traffic queue that morning in the first spring of the 21st century, he spottted an unseasonal mass fruiting of toadstools growing on

A flower in the desert: wildlife of the Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

At Wimpole in Cambridgeshire, the National Trust owns a 960ha estate with a Grade 1 listed Hall at its centre, with surrounding gardens set within a Grade 1 landscaped park and outlying farmland. The quality of the landscape is summed up by Humphry Repton in his 1801 Red Book for Wimpole. 

Gardens and wildlife – the BUGS project

There are estimated to be about 25 million dwellings in the UK, of which a high proportion have associated domestic gardens. Such gardens are familiar, providing many of us with our first encounters with the 'natural' world, and being the topic of endless attention in the popular media. 

Cypress trees and their moths

In Britain, the only native member of the Cupressaceae is Juniper Juniperus communis. Whilst this is widespread in some Scottish and northern areas, it is a local shrub of chalk downland in southern England. 

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