Guernsey's habitat decline is 'stark and concerning'

Image caption Guernsey's grasslands have shrunk by 90% in the last two decades

Guernsey's richest habitats are disappearing because of the way the land has been managed, according to a new report.

The "stark and concerning" 2018 Habitat Survey was commissioned by the island's government last year.

The invasive sour fig has doubled its area since 2010, while 90% of diverse grasslands have been lost since 1999.

However, woodland cover has doubled over the same period.

"The results of this island-wide habitat survey are stark and concerning," said Julia Henney, the island's biodiversity education officer.

"The decline in natural habitats is likely to indicate an associated decline in Guernsey's biodiversity," she added.

Domestic gardens

The grasslands that have been lost were "providers of some of the richest diversity of life on the island, but were lost due to the way they were managed".

Too little management would cause the land to turn to scrub, while too much management involves the use of fertilisers and herbicides, often to turn land into domestic gardens, the report said.

Mrs Henney said she hoped the results of the survey "marked a turning point", and that new conservation measures "cannot come soon enough".

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