South Devon AONB Follaton House,
Plymouth Road, Totnes TQ9 5NE

 

Tel: 01803 229330

 

State of Nature

South Devon Nature Recovery Plan

In 2019, South Devon AONB, along with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) across the country, signed up to the Colchester Declaration. It frames our urgent initial response to the climate and ecological emergency recognised by authorities throughout the UK. While clearly requiring some planning, it is focussed on delivering action for habitats and biodiversity at a significant scale in the shortest possible time. Realising this ambition will require additional resources, forging new partnerships and cementing strong alliances with partners.

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The range of habitats, and their complex associations, together with the location of the area supports rare species assemblages; including parts of internationally recognised Important Plant Areas and Important Invertebrate Areas. The shifting climate space and climate change in general will have an increasing impact on our local environment and will influence our responses to its conservation and enhancement.

 

The Natural capital of South Devon AONB is similarly rich. Marine and inter-tidal habitats are important for fisheries, and, together with woodland and other semi-natural habitats, can also comprise important carbon sinks. Natural habitats can reduce flood risk for settlements and improve water quality at the catchment scale. There is substantial scope for natural capital benefits to arise from Nature Recovery actions. The value of the South Devon AONB for wellbeing, from recreational, cultural, landscape and heritage aspects could also be further enhanced through work carried out under a Nature Recovery Plan.

 

Along with all the AONBs in England and Wales, South Devon AONB staff unit is in the process of drawing up a nature recovery plan for this area, working with landowners, conservation organisations, neighbouring AONBs and protected landscapes, and the wider community. Our aim is to engage, inspire and inform positive action in all of the the protected landscape including its estuary waters and sea bed.

 

The plan will be a spatial expression of our shared vision for beautiful, resilient landscapes rich in wildlife.  Habitat and species recovery will be addressed at a landscape scale inspiring and guiding nature-friendly estuarine, coastal and land management decisions across the AONB.  The South Devon AONB Management Plan policies and objectives already support their implementation, and the AONB Partnership will strive to ensure incentives such as Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes are a key part of resourcing positive change in our landscape.

 

The Plan will also relate to land outside the protected landscape boundary helping to gather data relevant to the later development of county-scale Local Nature Recovery Strategies which will be a statutory duty on Local Authorities arising from the Environment Act.