244 Calderdale Priority Species have been identified. Many of these are highly vulnerable and there is a real risk of local extinction if we do not prioritise conservation action at these species.
Biodiversity in the district is dynamic; this report is really just a snapshot of the current situation. A review process needs to be set in place to monitor the continuing ecological change in the district as Action Plans bring about changes as well as to reflect changes in the status of national flora and fauna.
Targeted recording or surveys of the Priority Species is recommended. They also need to be considered within land management and development plans. There is a need to determine the conservation requirements of the lesser-known Priority Species and to reflect this within management plans and Action Plans.
It is not recommended that Action Plans be produced for each of the species. Habitat Action Plans will cater for the conservation requirements of many. In other cases species, for example bats, may be grouped together and a single Action Plan produced. A Rare Species Action Plan, covering all species, has been produced to include actions such as surveying, monitoring, recording and incorporation in management plans. For species important in a regional context, regional Action Plans may be appropriate.
The production of this report was hindered by the difficulty of accessing records. A greater willingness to share records and an up to date centralised database would greatly help species conservation. We would appeal to anyone holding valuable information to make his or her records available to West Yorkshire Ecology.
The omission of species from this Audit does not mean that they have no value to biodiversity. We must remember that biodiversity includes all species, and when we take action to protect key species and habitats we do so because they are severely threatened, not because their contribution to biodiversity is any more important than that of the commoner ones. It is intended that the implementation of the BAP will benefit a wide range of wildlife and not just Priority Species.
This report highlights gaps in our knowledge. It is to be hoped that naturalists will be encouraged to identify omissions and report records of species of conservation concern. Amendments will be issued and species added to and deleted from the list of Priority Species as new information becomes available.