Hampshire & Isle of Wight have historically been bastions of a rich and diverse wildlife, but despite the best efforts of many, we believe the worrying UK picture of declines revealed in the State of Nature report is not very different for our two counties. One of the issues is that, despite being a very well-studied area, we simply lack the long term data allowing us to see trends in wildlife.
We are also painfully aware of ‘shifting baseline syndrome’ where one generation’s understanding of what is normal is defined by its own memory rather than what things were like in previous generations. Put another way, changes we’ve seen in our lifetime may just be the tail-end of a huge and rapid (in ecological terms) decline. Publications such as the Hampshire Bird Atlas make a notable contribution to piecing-together the jigsaw, however.