It was confirmed last month that the first population of the forestry pest, the Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), was found in Kent, UK. Forest Research scientists discovered this damaging native of Japan and China infesting around 20 trees, and are now surveying the area to find out the full extent of the infestation. The establishment of this beetle in the UK could be extremely damaging, costing the timber industry millions of pounds, not to mention habitat loss for native species; there is no question that this pest should be eradicated as soon as possible.
As one of Europe’s five native crayfish species, the white clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) has suffered a huge decline in numbers in the last couple of decades. This docile crustacean is usually found hiding under rocks in streams, rivers and lakes, only emerging at night to avoid predators. A fortnight ago it’s IUCN status was upgraded from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’ on the Red List of Threatened Species, with experts predicting it could be extinct within 30 years. It has recently been documented that 50 to 80% of the populations in England, Italy and France have disappeared in the last 10 years. What could be causing such a devastating loss in the U.K.?