Blog written by Michael New, Ecological Project Officer, December 2021

You may be aware of a new pioneering project that has just started with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust focusing on invertebrates.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund has brought welcome funding to support 4 new full time Estates Team members as well as support other assistant workers and an Ecological Project Officer.

The role of the team is to manage habitat on our reserves so that the invertebrate species will increase in number and overall invertebrate biodiversity can increase which of course will also benefit other species of plants and animals. There is also going to be an increase in the surveying and monitoring of invertebrates across the county.

We know that invertebrates are not only important to our wellbeing due to their beauty and wonder but that they play an important role in pollination, decomposition and waste removal, biodiversity life cycles, food for other species, improving soil health and pest control. This project aims to increase the numbers of these disappearing invertebrates.

This is the first of regular blog posts to let you know what we are doing on this project, and what you can do to volunteer or gain information on attracting invertebrates to your garden.

Surveys have already started with dusk Rugged Oil Beetle surveys taking place at Morgan's Hill and Cockey Down. We also want to link in with the hard working volunteers surveying for Brown Hairstreak eggs. Recent surveys at Emmet Hill and Upper Minety Meadows have found good numbers this year!

Photo of an oil beetle

Image caption: The Rugged Oil Beetle found at Morgan's Hill

The new midweek working group at Sandpool are looking to be busy alongside project workers Jesper and Sean with lots of plans on making this an exemplar site for invertebrates. Plenty of work has also taken place in Ravensroost.

The volunteer group are coppicing and ensuring the rides are improved to let more sunlight in to certain areas. A glade has also been made to try to encourage more flowers which attracts butterflies and other invertebrates.

Maxine and Richard are busy on the southern reserves doing coppicing and domineering Tor grass management vital to ensure the grasslands are kept healthy.

Meetings have taken place with nature reserve wardens to give support and advice on invertebrate species and habitats. The Devenish is trying out a new method for a dead wood habitat that is an experiment working alongside the usual log piles. Saproxylic invertebrates (Dead wood species) will be monitored as part of the project.

Volunteer for the project

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