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the GiGLer

The newsletter of Greenspace Information of Greater London CIC


Welcome to the winter edition of the GiGLer, where we review our ‘Olympic summer’ and give a general recap of the year.

For many of our partners, 2012 has been an exceptionally busy year with both the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics being enjoyed in the capital. To celebrate the work of our partners in ‘London 2012’ we have an article from the London Wildlife Trust who have been involved in environmental education and habitat management in the lead up to the Games.

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London Sets a Trend

London has a trend-setting framework for protecting and enhancing biodiversity. The Mayor’s Biodiversity Strategy has two main themes: protecting important wildlife habitat and priority species, and improving access to nature. These two themes are reflected in the strategy’s two main targets.

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Accessing Wildspace

Maps of Areas of Deficiency for nature (AOD) appeared in all the borough handbooks produced by the London Ecology Unit during its lifetime, from 1986 to 2000. The aim was to show where people had to walk more than one kilometre to reach an accessible wildlife Site of Metropolitan or Borough Importance.

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Student Data Loans

One of the lesser known uses for GiGL partnership data is in the field of research. Collectively, the species, habitats, open space and protected sites data held by GiGL represent a unique resource. Most recorders are aware that their data are used to inform the planning system, land management and conservation efforts.

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An Eye on Eels

All is not well with the European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Research over the last thirty years indicates that the number of eels arriving each year (recruitment) in some rivers in Europe, from the Sargasso Sea, is believed to have declined by up to 95%. In 2008, in recognition of this worrying decline, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the European eel as critically endangered.

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GiGL’s Social Sense

From its inception, Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) has been a partnership organisation. We have worked very hard to raise our profile among the organisations that use and contribute to local record centres. So, almost a year ago GiGL plunged into the world of social media and set up a Twitter account.

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Counting Sparrows

House sparrows are no longer ubiquitous. Both rural and urban populations in the UK have shown a severe decline. In London numbers fell by a shocking 68% between 1994 and 2000. The drop in numbers has been so dramatic that sparrows are now “red-listed” as a species of high conservation concern.

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Olympic Summer

London Wildlife Trust has been a ‘critical friend’ of London 2012 Games. For us to not have a voice in the largest urban park development in the UK for the last 150 years would be to the detriment of London’s wildlife. Our support was given on the proviso that there would be a net-gain in biodiversity as a result of the Games.

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Fighting the Invasion

Invasive non-native species (INNS) are noted as the second biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide, second only to habitat destruction. They contribute significantly to the threat to biodiversity within the Greater London area. All stakeholders need to work together to ensure effective management.

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Diary of an Open Space Volunteer

London has some wonderful open spaces and some dreadful ones. It has been my one-day-a week job for the last six months to visit them all and check the features GiGL knows to exist. When the weather has been fine, I have jumped on a train, with my rucksack full of papers, to mostly unheard of destinations.

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