Devon Biodiversity Action Plan

Plants and Animals

Special to Devon!

The location of Devon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a Biodiversity Action Plan?
A. A Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) sets out the things which need to be done to help some special wildlife to do well in a particular area. It  also says who will do those things and when.


Crab Spider camouflaged on Yellow Iris Flower
Q. What does Biodiversity mean?
A. Biodiversity simply means 'the great variety of life. In other words, the natural world, including all its 'wildlife'.

This includes plant life from seaweeds to trees and animals from bats to beetles. It also includes less well known wildlife, such as fungi and bacteria


Q. What is the Devon Biodiversity Action Plan?
A. The Devon Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) describes the actions which need to be taken now to make sure that Devon's wonderful wildlife survives. The Plan cannot cover every species and habitat in Devon. There are too many and it would cost too much money. It therefore concentrates on the species and habitats which are either most in danger of disappearing in Devon, or those which are most special to Devon.

The overall Devon Biodiversity Action Plan includes 20 individual Species Action Plans and 17 Habitat Action Plans. The Species Action Plans each concentrate on one particular species, while the Habitat Action Plans aim to conserve whole habitats with all their wildlife.


Q. Which species are included in the Devon Biodiversity Action Plan?
Plants Animals

Devon Whitebeam


Golden Hair Lichen

Freshwater Pearl Mussel
Great Green Bush-cricket
Marsh Fritillary
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Pink Seafan
Southern Damselfly
White-clawed Crayfish

Atlantic Salmon

Barn Owl
Cirl Bunting

Brown Hare
Greater Horseshoe Bat
Water Vole


Q. Which habitats are included in the Devon Biodiversity Action Plan?
Land Sea Freshwater
Alder/willow Wet Woodland
Caves, Karst & Mines
Cities, Towns & Villages
Flower-rich Meadows
Lowland Heathland
Oak Woodland
Parkland & Wood Pasture
Pits, Quarries & Cuttings
Rhos Pasture
Sea Cliff and Slope
Species-rich Hedges


Rocky Foreshore
Rocky Seabed
Freshwater Reedbed
Grazing Marsh
Rivers, Streams & Floodplains
Q. Why is a Biodiversity Action Plan needed in Devon?
A. In common with most other areas of Britain, habitats in Devon have been steadily declining. This means that the wildlife they support is also declining.

For example, in South West England (which includes Devon), the area inhabited by Barn Owls has decreased by 37% (over one third) in the past 25 years.

Marsh Fritillary Butterfly Devon is fortunate in having Marsh Fritillary butterflies. Even so, it is estimated that 1 out of every 10 colonies of these butterflies disappears from Devon every 10 years.

That may not seem a lot, but over a long time, if nothing is done, the butterflies will eventually disappear.

Heathland habitat Species need habitats to support them. Without suitable habitat, no amount of well meaning actions will help to preserve a species. It simply does not have what it needs to survive.

One example of habitat loss is that of heathland in East Devon. Seventy five percent (three quarters) of the heathlands present in 1936 have now disappeared.

The Devon BAP will try to promote the special species and habitats identified and prevent further losses.

Q. Where did the idea for Biodiversity Action Plans come from?
A. People all around the world have been concerned for many years over the decline or loss of plants and animals which were once common. Because people were so worried, in 1992, there was a famous international conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, known as the 'Earth Summit'.

At the Earth Summit, officials from many different countries, including Britain, signed a document which promised that their governments would try to help wildlife and preserve species. As a result of signing this document, the British Government has set up countrywide national Biodiversity Action Plans (UK BAP) with the aim of helping rare or threatened species and habitats in Britain.

Action Plans have also been produced for smaller areas all around the country. The Devon Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is one of these. It concentrates on the species and habitats that are special to the County of Devon. In many cases, this may also help with the national Action Plans.
Dormouse, Muscardinus avellenarius For example, in many parts of the country, otters and dormice are rare. They are therefore both included in the UK BAP.

Devon is fortunate and has populations of both otters and dormice. If there are lots of otters and dormice in Devon, then there is a good chance that they will spread out into other suitable neighbouring areas. This means that it is important that these two species continue to do well locally and so they are included in the Devon Biodiversity Action Plan.


Q. Who is responsible for carrying out the Devon BAP?
A. The actions which have been identified in the Devon BAP are being carried out by many different groups acting in partnership. This includes local government organizations such as Devon County Council, as well as over 50 conservation, business and countryside groups.

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Devon BAP species found in and around the Woodland Education Centre, Offwell


Find out more about Devon BAP


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