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New Forest Biodiversity Forum - Projects

The New Forest Biodiversity Forum is currently supporting the New Forest Raptor Monitoring Programme (click here for details) and a portfolio of species studies funded through the Small Grant Scheme as listed below.

Hampshire Fungus Recording Group (HFRG) - DNA analysis

HFRG have been awarded £4500 to undertake DNA analysis of fungi samples recovered from the New Forest National Park in the period 2024-26. DNA analysis is used to assist with identification of rare and/or cryptic species, with a particular focus on those that have potential to be new species for the New Forest / Hampshire / UK, or even new to science. The funding builds upon that provided by British Mycological Society, and leverages a significant amount of HFRG volunteer effort, particularly field surveys and sample preparation. Landowner permissions will be in place prior to any sampling, and confirmed records will be submitted to the Fungi Recording Database of Britain and Ireland (FRDBI).

New Forest fungus

Coprinopsis alnivora, confirmed as new to Britain in autumn 2022 based on DNA analysis

Hawfinch in the New Forest

Hawfinch ringed in the New Forest as part of a long-term study by New Forest Ringing Group

New Forest Ringing Group (NFRG) - Hawfinch tracking

NFRG have been awarded £2500 to attempt the first GPS tracking of juvenile Hawfinch in the UK. The Hawfinch is a red-listed species with its UK stronghold in the New Forest (potentially as much as 35-40% of the UK population). A recent meeting of UK woodland bird experts, hosted by RSPB, identified the movements and behaviour of juvenile Hawfinch as a key evidence gap. NFRG have over 13 years of experience working on Hawfinch in the New Forest, including GPS and radio tracking of adults, and will aim to deploy joint GPS/radio tags on up to three juveniles in summer 2024. The project builds upon £7500 of previous grant funding, leverages a significant amount of NFRG volunteer effort, and delivers data that informs Forestry England management activities.

Green Forest Hoverfly Project

A volunteer team co-ordinated by Andy Murdock (Maploom) has been awarded £3000 to continue research into the Green Forest Hoverfly Caliprobola speciosa in the New Forest, which is a national stronghold for the species. Over the last three years the project team have significantly increased the known range and habitat requirements of the species, and the results are already informing forest management conducted by Forestry England. Planned work in 2024 includes additional survey work and habitat characterisation, collection of specimens for DNA sequencing, and a pilot mark-release-recapture study to assess movement between sites. The grant will support volunteer insurance costs and development of an online mapping application to aid data entry and visualisation. Maploom are providing an in-kind contribution (software and online storage) and the 20-strong volunteer team are again looking to deliver over 1000 hours of survey effort.

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Green Forest Hoverfly in the New Forest

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Field Gentian in the New Forest

Species Recovery Trust - Field Gentian monitoring and translocation

The Species Recovery Trust (SRT) has been awarded £2000 for ongoing monitoring and conservation of the Field Gentian in the New Forest. In recent years, SRT data have shown that the New Forest population of this species has declined, and there are concerns that populations in dry grassland habitats are being impacted by drought, with particularly low numbers seen in 2018, 2020, and 2022. Consequently, a volunteer team is now conducting annual monitoring of the known sites, and have trialled translocation to nearby wetter and more vegetated sites to test resilience in these habitats. The NFBF contribution will support ongoing work in 2024, and represents 50% of the annual project cost. 

Footprint Ecology - Speckled Footman surveys

Footprint Ecology are working with Forestry England and Butterfly Conservation to better understand the habitat requirements of the rare Speckled Footman moth, which has recently been rediscovered at one location in the New Forest. A £5000 grant has been awarded to support habitat mapping and field surveys in winter 2024/25, which will inform volunteer-based searches for the larvae and adults. This work will build upon recent volunteer-based surveys at a heathland site near Wareham, where the moth has been found to be locally abundant. The project results will inform site management to ensure the habitat remains suitable, and will hopefully enable additional sites to be discovered.

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Speckled Footman habitat

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