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The term 'biodiversity' encompasses the whole variety of life on earth, including the range of different habitats where wildlife lives as well as the variety of species. For example, when we talk of moorland biodiversity we are referring to the heather, mosses, insects, waders, grouse, and all the other animals, plants and fungi that are found in the habitat. Biodiversity also includes the genetic variation within a species.

The world is losing biodiversity at an alarming rate, mainly as a result of human activity. Despite some significant success stories such as the increase in red kites and the return of the otter to many of our waterways, 60% of species in the UK have declined over the last 50 years.

What is a Biodiversity Action Plan?

The National Park Authority and its partners have written a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) to set out the priorities for nature conservation in the North York Moors, and the means by which we can address them together. The second BAP (2008-2012) has just been completed and the new BAP runs from 2013 - 2017.

The aims of the Plan are:

  • To raise awareness of the need for biodiversity conservation in the local area. 
  • To identify targets for species and habitats relevant to the local area and reflecting the values of local people.
  • To ensure that these targets for species and habitats are translated into effective action at the local level.
  • To build effective partnerships, ensuring that nature conservation programmes are maintained in the long term.

The BAP provides details of how our ambitions for the natural environment will be delivered. These tie in with the North York Moors National Park Management Plan and Business Plan priorities which set out the vision, strategic policies and outcomes for the National Park.

In October 2010 over 190 countries agreed to take urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity. From this, the Government has set out a series of high level objectives for how the quality of England's marine and terrestrial habitats will be improved up until 2020. These priorities were published in 'Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services'.

The North York Moors BAP will coordinate and report local actions whilst also contributing to larger national and international efforts for protecting biodiversity. The natural environment targets from the BAP for which the National Park Authority is lead on will be primarily delivered through the Park's Improving Habitat Connectivity and PAWS (Plantation on ancient woodland sites) programmes.

Please refer to the menu on the left to access the current North York Moors Biodiversity Action Plan (2013-2017), and the reviews of the recently completed 2008-2012 Action Plan.