Scroll down for: new scientific papers; forthcoming workshops and conferences; news about BSBI books and periodicals; field meetings and training opportunities; BSBI in the media; podcasts; what's new on the BSBI website; job vacancies for botanists; requests from BSBI members; and much much more...
Garden Wildflower Hunt
BSBI's new initiative aims to to keep botanists entertained during lockdown and to help us find out more about the distribution, ecology and phenology of wild flowers ("weeds?") in our gardens. Find out how to take part in the Garden Wildflower Hunt and then click through to the app and start recording the wild plants in your garden.
Stuck at home and feeling restless?
While we are all at home following the guidance on Covid-19/ Coronavirus, BSBI can offer lots of ideas and activities to keep botanists entertained and connected with the botanical community! As well as the Garden Wildflower Hunt, you will find some more suggestions on our Activities 2020 page.
April issue of BSBI eNews published
You can view or download the April issue here and access all back issues of our electronic newsletter for botanical recorders from the eNews webpage. Read all the latest news about BSBI activities, projects, new pages on this website, new blogposts and much much more.
Ragwort Study Project
Read about the launch of a new study project to look at the involucres of ragworts Senecio and Jacobaea; find out how you can contribute right now from your own back garden.
Illustrations of Alien Plants
Our new Illustrations of Alien Plants page should help you track down illustrations of 2000+ alien plant species by scientific or common name.
Status & ecology of Scots Pine in Ireland
Interesting paper by Jenni Roche in Irish Forestry Journal: 'Recent findings on the native status and vegetation ecology of Scots pine in Ireland and their implications for forestry policy and management'.
BSBI Handbook #20 coming soon
BSBI and Covid-19
18th March: Following guidance from UK and Irish Governments, BSBI's public programmes have been cancelled until the end of May. For more information, please visit this page: https://bsbi.org/covid-19-coronavirus
Roadside vegetation management and plant diversity
This paper has been around since 2018 but it's Open Access and there's some interesting stuff in there: 'How does roadside vegetation management affect the diversity of vascular plants and invertebrates? A systematic review'. On a similar subject but bang up-to-date, this blogpost by Martin Allen reports from the recent conference on 'The importance for wildlife of our roadside verges'.
British & Irish Botany: latest issue published
Volume 2 issue 1 of British & Irish Botany has just been published. Read about the articles and authors featured in this issue here on our News blog, along with comments from Editor-in-Chief Dr Ian Denholm. Or go straight to the B&IB website and start reading the latest issue: https://britishandirishbotany.org/index.php/bib
BSBI mentioned on BBC Countryfile
BSBI and the Wild Flower Hour initiative were name-checked on BBC Countryfile last night. Catch the feature on iPlayer here (starts c8 minutes in) and read an interview here with BSBI member Rebecca Wheeler, the woman behind Wild Flower Hour's recent success.
Wildlife losses and gains
A new paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution by Charlie Outhwaite et al. focuses on wildlife gains and losses; tribute is paid to volunteer biological recorders, citizen science and recording schemes including BSBI. The paper is behind a paywall but there is a summary here by Damian Carrington in The Guardian.
Gigi Crompton 1923-2020
We are sorry to report the sad news that Gigi Crompton, Cambridgeshire botanist and long-term/ honorary BSBI member, has died. An obituary by Cambridgeshire County Recorder Alan Leslie will be published in a forthcoming issue of BSBI News; an obituary has already appeared in The Guardian.
New Year Plant Hunt in the media
New Year Plant Hunt
BSBI County Recorder in New Year’s Honours List
Trevor James, longterm BSBI County Recorder for Hertfordshire, member of BSBI Publications Committee and Receiving Editor for BSBI News 2008-17, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of his service to nature conservation. Here’s the report in Trevor’s local newspaper. Congratulations to Trevor from everyone at BSBI!
Non-native plants can provide habitats for a variety of British insects
Some interesting new research from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology: read about it here.
BSBI addresses plant ID skills gap in ecological consultancy
A new paper 'Plants in Practice' argues that the importance of plants is not sufficiently reflected in the professional practice of ecological consultants and looks at how BSBI might help address the plant ID skills gap. Authors are BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker, BSBI County Recorder for Oxfordshire David Morris, BSBI committee members Jo Parmenter, Jonathan Mitchley and Oli Pescott, and Nicola Hutchinson, Director of Conservation Programmes at Plantlife. View the paper in full here.
The inconstant sex of annual mercury
This post on the Botany One website summarises a fascinating new paper about Mercurialis annua. Subscribe to Botany One's weekly email for a round-up of all the latest botanical news from across the world.
The paper everyone is talking about
Across the media in recent days, people have been talking about this paper: 'World's largest plant survey reveals alarming extinction rate'
Interesting new paper
'Grazing exclusion and vegetation change in an upland grassland with patches of tall herbs' by Sarah H. Watts et al. has been published in Applied Vegetation Science. Find it here.
New paper about Dwarf Birch (Betula nana)
The open access paper 'Genetic diversity maintained among fragmented populations of a tree undergoing range contraction' by J.S. Borrell, N. Wang, R.A. Nichols & R.J.A. Buggs, can be read in full here.
New paper in Nature co-authored by Kevin Walker
A new paper 'Extinction risk from climate change is reduced by microclimatic buffering' has been published in Nature, co-authored by Kevin Walker.
Article in Nature on 'The lost art of looking at plants'
An article published in Nature earlier this year argues that "advances in genomics and imaging are reviving a fading discipline" - read the article here and see if you agree!
BSBI Head of Science co-authors paper on open data
Kevin Walker, BSBI Head of Science, is a co-author on 'Overcoming the challenges of public data archiving for citizen science biodiversity recording and monitoring schemes' published this month in the Journal of Applied Ecology. A bit more info about the paper here.
Paper on potentially invasive garden plants
Published in Biological Invasions: 'Working with gardeners to identify potential invasive ornamental garden plants: testing a citizen science approach' by Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz & Judith Conroy. BSBI botanists participated in the survey and are thanked in the acknowledgements.
Paper on the plants of hay-meadows
Published on 22nd May in Folia Geobotanica: 'Long-term hay meadow management maintains the target community despite local-scale species turnover' by Elizabeth Sullivan, Ian Powell & Paul Ashton (Chair of BSBI's Training Committee). Read the full paper here.
New paper on change in Scottish grasslands
Read 'Decline in atmospheric sulphur deposition and changes in climate are the major drivers of long-term change in grassland plant communities in Scotland' by Ruth Mitchell et al. in full here (no subscription needed).
High impact paper on emerging alien species uses BSBI data
A paper co-authored by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker and David Pearman titled 'Global rise in emerging alien species results from increased accessibility of new source pools' is published today 8th February in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. It uses BSBI data which also appear in David's recent 'first dates' book; access the paper here (subscription required) and there is a note about the paper on the IUCN News website here.
New paper on Seed bank dynamics in restored grassland
Just published: 'Seed bank dynamics in restored grassland following the sowing of high- and low-diversity seed mixtures' by Markus Wagner, Kevin Walker (BSBI Head of Science) & Richard Pywell. More here.
Poster of flowering plants showing relationships between families
This poster is proving very popular on social media and looks like an excellent educational tool.
New paper on Field Fleawort as an indicator species
A paper has just been published on 'Longterm changes in lowland calcareous grassland plots using Tephroseris integrifolia subsp. integrifolia as an indicator species'. Authored by BSBI Scientific Officer Pete Stroh and BSBI members Oli Pescott and Owen Mountford, you can download the full paper free of charge here.
New paper on alien taxa
BSBI Head of Science Dr Kevin Walker has co-authored a new paper titled 'Risk management to prioritise the eradication of new and emerging invasive non-native species'. Click here to download the paper, published in the August issue of Biological Invasions.
How will climate change affect our wild flowers?
BSBI's Head of Science Dr Kevin Walker is a co-author on a newly published paper in the journal Biological Conservation which assesses the impact of climate change on the distribution of over 3,000 British plants and animals across 17 taxonomic groups. Click here to download the paper in full.
Click here to download 'Long-term vegetation monitoring in Great Britain - the Countryside Survey 1978-2007 and beyond'.
Garden plants and invasive species
In 2015, BSBI members contributed to a survey aimed at trying to identify garden plants likely to become invasive in future. The authors have now published a paper based on the data collected. You can read 'Integrating invasive species policies across ornamental horticulture supply chains to prevent plant invasions' in full by clicking here.
Are Beech trees native to Scotland?
New paper on change in Scottish grassland vegetation
Click here to see the abstract of 'Forty years of change in Scottish grassland vegetation: Increased richness, decreased diversity and increased dominance' by Mitchell et al. newly published in Biological Conservation.
New paper in Nature using BSBI data
BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker is a co-author on a paper published in the latest issue of Nature. Kevin tells us the paper is "based partly on David Pearman's first records database". The paper is titled 'No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide' and you can download it here.
Vegetative Guide to British Orchids
Mike Waller's 'Beginner's vegetative guide to orchids of the British Isles' has now been published and can be downloaded free of charge here.
New paper on food for pollinators
Interesting new paper by BSBI member
New service launched
CEH has just launched a new service for assessing the risk of the presence of Japanese Knotweed. This new service is based in large part on data collected by BSBI members. Find out more here.
Markus Wagner (CEH) et al.: Cereal density and N-fertiliser effects on the flora and biodiversity value of arable headlands. More here.
J.P. Grime: Scaling up to Communities and Ecosystems
Plant species richness is increasing - according to long-term environmental studies
UK Environmental Change Network has published the results of studies carried out over the past twenty years. More here.
Preliminary findings from the Orchid Observers project
Read the results so far: they are here on the Natural History Museum blog.
Arable wild flower App launched
New technical handbook on floodplain meadows
Now available to download from the Floodplain Meadows Partnership.
Are agricultural management and climatic change the major drivers of biodiversity change in the UK?
A recent Open Access paper in PLOS ONE titled 'Agricultural Management and Climatic Change Are the Major Drivers of Biodiversity Change in the UK' is available in full here. The paper is co-authored by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker and BSBI Scientific Officer Pete Stroh.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV was published on 24 March 2016. Early View access has now ended but the paper is available on pay-to-view here.
The Robert Pocock Herbarium Project
Robert Pocock was Gravesend's first local historian, printer, creator of its first public library and botanist. In the early 1800's he began a collection of local plants for his herbarium or dried plant collection. Long after his death, the herbarium was donated to the Natural History Museum in London. The herbarium sheets are still there, amongst many thousands of others, effectively 'lost' to us for 200 years! The aim of the project is to find this unique record of Gravesend's botanical heritage and make images of the plant specimens available to us all. To date we have found over 180 specimen sheets.
Follow our progress at www.pocockherbarium.blogspot.co.uk and on our Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Pocock-Herbarium-Project/333265860142783. See images of the plants on Facebook and Flickr (links are on the website, or search for Robert Pocock Herbarium).
Hybrid goosefoot Atriplex prostrata x glabriuscula spotted at Arnside by BSBI member Howard Beck, October 2019. New for Cumbria
BSBI on Instagram - click on the image to see the post
On the BSBI News & Views blog: March 2020
We brought you a short interview with Chris Miles, Chair of BSBI’s Board of Trustees, summarising the Resilience process, progress so far and what it all means for BSBI members and supporters; we published the latest news (as of 24th March) about BSBI’s response to the Covid-19 virus, with a message from BSBI President Lynne Farrell, guidance around national events and local field meetings, and suggestions for how botanists can entertain themselves during lockdown; Tim Rich told us about identifying Dandelions in our gardens; our Wildflower of the Month feature is back and BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker tells us about Purple Saxifrage; and we featured an interview with Mike Shaw, author of the latest BSBI Handbook, Hawkweeds of south-east England.
For even more botanical news...
Hawthorn photographed by Geraldine Murray, May 2018
News from the Science Team
Kevin Walker is quoted in an article published today (14th May) by Roger Harrabin for BBC Science News, about the impacts of nitrogen deposition and over-zealous cutting on plant assemblages found on roadside verges. There is also an article in The Telegraph which uses the same quote from Kevin.