Abundant and diverse wildlife

What does success look like?

The abundance, diversity and distribution of biodiversity on Dartmoor adapts and evolves in response to climate change and the recovery of natural processes, supported by proactive habitat restoration and ongoing management. There is acceptance of change, and that in future Dartmoor’s landscape and wildlife may be different, with some areas becoming wilder as nature is allowed to take its course.

How will this be achieved?

We will achieve this by working to ensure there is an abundance and diversity of species on Dartmoor, which are widespread and thriving, including:

Review all priority species to assess their sustainability in light of likely climate change effects.

  • By 2022 Identify a short list of iconic species that are particularly vulnerable, and where work on Dartmoor has a high potential to turn around their decline and establish sustainable populations.
  • By 2022 identify priority species list that are should be prioritised for future conservation effort. This will include key species that act as indicators for good ecosystem health

Actively manage priority species that are able to adapt to climate change, to initially reverse declines by 2025, then maintain numbers and ultimately ensure thriving populations:

  • By 2022 work with local specialists and land managers we will produce a suite of guidance to inspire people managing land or livestock by explaining the vital role they can play and provide practical guidance on the measures they can take.
  • By 2023 secure funding to support the recovery of five priority species and associated habitats
  • By 2023 identify and support the resilience of species that are a characteristic and cherished part of Dartmoor’s heritage. Recruit volunteer champions for each of these species, who will give advice and co-ordinate monitoring of success

Partners aim to successfully reintroduce key species lost to Dartmoor, enhancing biodiversity and building future resilience, including:

Producing a species reintroduction strategy, to establish prioritisation and understanding of species that would provide greatest environmental benefit:

  • In 2021 establish feasibility, rationale and justification for key species reintroductions
  • By 2023 explore opportunities with farmers, local communities and any other groups likely to be affected by reintroductions in relation to identified reintroduction priorities and determine concerns, interest and understand potential benefits to Dartmoor
  • By 2023 identify areas where there is widespread support for such a reintroduction, where the negative impacts are small and where the chances of success are high.
  • By 2023 Work with stakeholders and bring in expertise and experience from other parts of the UK and Europe, to develop practical ways to minimise the risks and negative impacts.

Develop and agree plans to reintroduce two species by 2025 if feasible and supported by the Dartmoor community:

  • By 2025 if community support has been established, secure funding to progress feasibility, planning and reintroductions.

We will work towards damaging invasive and non-native species being eradicated while accepting that some new species may naturally colonise Dartmoor, by:

Implementing a sustained programme of measures to remove species causing greatest ecological damage throughout the term of this plan:

  • In 2021 secure funding to increase ambition of existing Himalayan Balsam and American Skunk Cabbage initiative
  • By 2022 identify greatest INNS threats and produce strategy.
  • By 2023 work with landowners and land managers to secure funding and establish projects to remove highest risk species.

We will ensure new development will avoid harm in accordance with the need to protect irreplaceable habitats; and within the mitigation hierarchy deliver a net gain in biodiversity, by:

Adopting Local Plan policy and guidance for biodiversity net gain.

Strategy developed with partners to identify and deliver in areas where biodiversity net gain opportunities would lead to multiple environment net gain benefits, within and beyond the boundary of the National Park.

  • From 2021 Seek opportunities to use funding from net gain developments to deliver transformational restoration and creation of wildlife habitats.

By the end of 2021 target funding in locations where the people affected by the loss of environmental assets as a result of the development are able to enjoy and benefit from the compensatory habitats.